Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes With Avocado Buttercream

May 24, 2023
6 Ratings
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • makes 18 cupcakes
Author Notes

These quick, chocolatey cupcakes made with creamy, dreamy California Avocados will have you coming back for more. California Avocados are in season from spring through summer and they make for an excellent 1:1 substitution for butter when it comes to baked goods like this. Topped with smooth buttercream made with more ripe avocados, the cupcakes themselves feature whole-wheat flour, light brown sugar, olive oil, eggs, and of course, avocado. This recipe also features a trick I recently learned for creating a magical crumb: ice water (thank you, Jessie Sheehan!). I like to fill a large glass with cold water and add a few ice cubes to it before measuring out the required quantity of water.

Inspired by Batida de Abacate, a Brazilian avocado smoothie, this avocado frosting is well balanced, not overpoweringly sweet, and works with its cupcake counterpart to give you a perfect bite. However, you are welcome to increase or reduce the quantity of sugar in the buttercream according to your preference. Don’t worry about any discoloration of the frosting—the butter and lemon juice do a good job of protecting the avocados from oxidizing. —Namrata Hegde

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with California Avocados. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 large California Avocado, peeled and seed removed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cups ice water
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 large California Avocado, peeled and seed removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F (or 325°F, if you’re using a convection oven). Line a 12-count cupcake tin and a 6-count cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the brown sugar and whisk until the mixture becomes like fine sand. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor, blend the avocado, olive oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until a smooth purée forms (about 15 seconds).
  4. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15-second increments, stirring between each, until chocolate is just melted (about 1 minute and 30 seconds). Let the chocolate cool for about 30 seconds, then add it to the food processor and blend for another 5 to 10 seconds until combined.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into the large bowl with dry ingredients and whisk until it just comes together.
  6. Add in the ice water and fold until just combined. Keep in mind to not over-mix the batter.
  7. Using a ¼ cup measure, ladle the batter into the cupcake liners (approximately 2.2 ounces in each cup). It should fill up two-thirds of the way through.
  8. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating half way through the baking process, or until a toothpick comes out clean after inserting it in the middle of the cupcake. The tops will crack slightly, and that’s okay!
  9. While the cupcakes are baking, in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, if using a hand mixer), add the soft unsalted butter, ripe avocado, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Whip until the avocado is completely mashed with no chunks and the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the confectioners' sugar, half a cup at a time, whipping until smooth after each addition. On the last addition, add the salt.
  10. Using a spatula, add the smooth buttercream to two large piping bags with large open star piping tips. Push down the buttercream from the outside of the bags, ensuring minimal air pockets.
  11. Once the cupcakes are baked, let them cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. After they are completely cool, pipe the avocado buttercream on top.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • smonfor
  • Rachel

2 Reviews

smonfor June 15, 2023
Not thrilled. Avocado a we’re on sale so I decided- why not try it? Well, because there are worthier pursuits for an avocado.
The cake cooked beautifully and was rich and dark, tender and moist. I used white flour because I thought it could only tilt things in favour of success and because I don’t like the whole wheat flour available to me here. Everything about the cupcakes looked fantastic- and with both the chocolate bar and the cocoa powder I was ready for rich chocolate goodness and instead could taste the olive oil and avacado - in a heavy, laden feeling of blah rather succulence.

So I mixed up the avocado buttercream and added a bit of extra lemon and more vanilla and whipped away. On its own, it was lemony and light- but the avocado was still there. I think it would have paired better with a spice cake, carrot, or cardamom. However, the avocado of the chocolate cupcake and the avocado in the frosting combined to drown out any spark or zest it had going for it. I’ll put the left over frosting on graham crackers and will enjoy them more than the cupcakes. Now to figure out who to tactfully pawn off the remaining 17 cupcakes on.
Rachel June 3, 2023
I would love to try this recipe, sounds interesting .