• Gabriela

Chocolate BBQ Grill Cupcakes

These perfect and moist cupcakes are great for any summer BBQ or cookout. Your friends and family will love it.

I want to preface this that these are the first non box cupcakes I have made. I was a little nervous I was going to mess them up, and I did. But it's nothing you can't learn from. I ended up having to remake this batter because I forgot the baking soda. My cupcakes did not rise and had a fudge like consistency instead of a fluffy moist cupcake.

So long story short... Slow down and pay attention to the ingredients. I think this is my biggest problem majority of the time.

I was going to a cookout at my friend's house this weekend and naturally I got assigned dessert duty. The only request - make them chocolate. I wanted to make cookout themed cupcakes and found the cutest recipe on Pinterest.

I however, didn't use the recipe on this post for my cupcakes. I did use it for my frosting though and how to decorate the cupcake. I also added my own little touch and filled the cupcakes with chocolate ganache.

What You Need

This cupcake recipe is adapted from Love Life & Sugar. The frosting is from Frugal Momeh. The Ganache is the same I used from the Chocolate peanut butter cake.

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 cup (130g) all purpose flour

  • 1 cup (207g) sugar

  • 6 tbsp (43g) cocoa powder*

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) sour cream*

  • 3/4 tsp vanilla

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) coffee*

The * indicates where I made adjustments to the recipe. I substituted unsweetened cocoa powder for hot cocoa powder, sour cream instead of oil, and coffee in place of hot water.

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 4 cups powdered sugar

  • 4 tbsp whipping cream

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • red food coloring

  • orange food coloring


  • 6 oz(169g|1 cup) semi sweet chocolate chips

  • 1/2 cup(120ml) heavy whipping cream


  • Black hard candy melts

  • marshmallow fondant

  • yellow food coloring

  • brown food coloring

  • gummy bears

Let's Start Baking!

Preheat your oven to 300°F and fill your cupcake tins with the cupcake liners. Make sure to pray the liners as well

1. Combine dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt. Don't forget that baking soda like I did! You can run these through a sifter to make sure there are no lumps, but I didn't do that this time. Whisk until combined.

2. Mix your wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, add the sour cream, egg, vanilla extract, and buttermilk. Whisk until combined and the sour cream is smooth.

3. Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients. Once your wet ingredients are smooth and combined, pour them into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. You can use a standing mixer for this if you would like. However, since there is no butter that you need to whip, I just mixed by hand with a whisk in order to not over mix my batter.

4. Add the hot coffee. You can use hot water here too if you do not have coffee, but as stated in the Chocolate cake post, coffee really brings out the chocolate flavoring. And the cupcakes won't taste like coffee at all if you don't like coffee.

Your batter will be thin one we add the coffee. This is how it should be.

5. Bake! Add your batter to your cupcake tins. I used an ice cream scooper to measure scoop the batter evenly. Also helps with the mess and making sure your cupcakes are even. Bake for 18-23 minutes. I started my timer at 18 minutes and added time at 3 minute increments if the cake test still wasn't coming out clean.

6. Cool. Let your cupcakes cool for two minutes inside the cupcake tin. This is to make sure the liners sticks to the cupcakes. After the two minutes, move the cupcakes to the cooling rack. I tested this with one cupcake and yes, if you remove the cupcakes from the tin right away, the liner pulls away.

Frosting Time!

While your cupcakes are cooling, it is time to make your frosting.

1. Whip the butter. In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, add your softened butter and whip until butter is light and fluffy. About 3-5 minutes depending how soft your butter is. My butter was a little too soft so I put in the fridge for a little. You don't want your butter to be melted.

2. Add the vanilla extract. Once your butter is soft and fluffy, scrape the sides with a rubber spatula and add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

3. Add powdered sugar and whipping cream. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add half of the powdered sugar to the butter mixture and mix on low speed. Once your powdered sugar is combined, add half your whipping cream (2 tbsp) and mix until combined. Add the rest of your powdered sugar and whipping cream.

4. Mix! Increase the speed of your mixer and continue to whip your frosting until you get the desired consistency. One thing this blog really helped me realize is a new check if your frosting is ready. Take a spoonful of frosting and flip the spoon upside down. If the frosting falls off, add more powdered sugar, if it does not fall off, it is ready! I always hand mix the frosting again with my rubber spatula to make sure you get out any air pockets that the standing mixer may have created.

5. Add food coloring. Separate the frosting into two bowls. Add red food coloring to one bowl and then orange or yellow food coloring to the other.

Make the Ganache

1. Add chocolate chips to bowl. pour your chocolate chips to a bowl. Make sure the bowl is big enough to whisk chocolate and heavy whipping cream. The first time I made this ganache, I used a smaller bowl and that made stirring very difficult.

2. Microwave the heavy whipping cream. Put your whipping cream into a microwave safe bowl and heat. I first put it in for 30 seconds and then added an additional 15 seconds.

3. Add the whipping cream to the chocolate. Pour the hot whipping cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Then mix together slowly with a whisk. To avoid air bubbles as I have here, whisk very slowly.

Time to Decorate!

1. Fill the cupcakes. You can fill the cupcakes two ways: with s piping tool or cut out the center and pour the ganache in. I tried both ways. I first went with the piping tool. However, I found that my ganache was seeping through the tip and the plastic piping bag and coming out everywhere. So, after deciding I didn't want to deal with that, I switched to cutting into the cupcake.

For cutting into the cupcakes, take a small sharp knife and cut a small hole into the top of the cupcake. Take out the inside and spoon ganache into the hole. This will be covered with your icing swirl on top, so no one will know the difference.

2. Add your frosting. In a piping bag, add your two frosting colors. There are many different ways to do this. I, however, just added the frosting in alternating the colors with each spoonful. Since I want the colors the be a fiery swirl, I didn't mind my colors mixing.

3. Make the grills. The first thing i did was trace out my grill out line onto some paper. I used a small cookie cutter to make my circle outlines.

Take your hard candy and following the instructions to melt the hard candy melts. Once your candy melts are melted, pour it into a piping bag and cut a small hold at the end to pipe your clean lines. You don't want the hole too big and a lot of the chocolate coming out at once. Put some wax paper over the tracings and pipe your grills.

Let your grills set. This only takes about 10 minutes.

4. Make the grill toppings. I made gummy bear skewers and fondant burgers. You want brown and yellow marshmallow fondant. For details how to make marshmallow fondant, you can read more on here.

Take the brown fondant and pull off small pieces and roll into a ball the size of the tip of your thumb. Then push in flat so it looks like a burger patty. With the yellow fondant, roll it out thinly. You can then cute small squares to make your cheese. Top your burger patty with the cheese slice and you have burgers for your grill!

Take your gummy bears and cut them in half. Take a cocktail stick (toothpick) and stick the gummy halves through the stick alternating colors.

5. Place toppings on the cupcake. Once your grills have set, you can easily peel them off the wax paper. They will be super delicate. I made extras knowing they may break as I top them. Place them on top of the frosting and then decorate with your skewers and burgers.


Other than my baking soda mishap, one of the biggest mistake were made when I was completely finished. I had a good 30 minute drive to the cookout I was attending and it was about... 90° outside so my car was HOT. Unfortunately my car didn't cool that quickly and the cupcake frosting and the chocolate grills got very soft on the drive there. Many of the grills broke due to the melting chocolate under the weight of the toppings. Some survived and everyone at the party loved them, but the perfectionist in me was having very high stress levels presenting less than perfect cupcakes.

Taste Tester Thoughts

"The cupcakes were super moist! "
"I like that they were crumbly. Sometimes cupcakes can be a little dry."
"I love the swirl frosting look"
So cute and perfect for the BBQ!
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