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Best Cupcake Tops with Chocolate Frosting

Preview: This recipe for the Best Cupcake Tops with Chocolate Frosting will remind you of the top of a chocolate cupcake topped with a ganache-like frosting. The best part? They’re small so that you can eat more than one.

After testing these cookies, I dropped some “reject” cookies off at my friend’s house. She later told me they tasted like the top of a frosted cupcake.

Yes! She’s right.

These cookies are miniature chocolate “cakes” with rich chocolate frosting. Throwing a little instant espresso and Dutch-process cocoa into the dough makes these babies dark and flavorful.

best chocolate cupcake tops with a pink bag

Are you a cupcake lover? Maybe you’re like me, and you mostly like the frosting on a cupcake and the crunchy top. If so, this frosted cupcake top cookie recipe is for you.

My obsession with frosted cookies started with ugly, irregularly shaped, frosted cinnamon cookies my Grandma baked for us and stored in her metal-lined bread drawer.

I’ve become slightly obsessed with frosted cookies like these Frosted Lemon Yogurt Cookies and Mini Black and Whites. Like parents with more than one child, my affection for frosted cookies multiplies with each new recipe added to my collection.

applying chocolate frosting to chocolate cookies

The secret ingredient in the frosting:

There is a magic ingredient in the frosting. I hesitate to say it but here goes. Sour cream. (Lite sour cream works just fine.) I promise you won’t taste anything that reminds you of sour cream.

If you aren’t into frosting as much as I am, swipe a little across the top. It’s not necessary to get fancy.

Speaking of fancy, thanks to Annie of Annie’s Eats for putting me on to the mechanical pastry bag available from Williams-Sonoma.  The large tip is what I used to decorate the cookies in the first picture.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • FLOUR: The recipe calls for unbleached but you could substitute bleached flour.
  • COCOA: I like Hershey’s brand Special Dark-a blend of natural and Dutch cocoa.
  • BUTTER: Be sure to let the butter soften to room temperature. You should be able to dent the butter with your finger.
  • SUGAR: Use granulated sugar. No substitutes
  • BUTTERMILK OR UNFLAVORED YOGURT: If using yogurt, thin it with milk to the consistency of buttermilk.
  • INSTANT ESPRESSO: This is a powdered product you will find in the tea and coffee aisle. Add it to any recipes with a lot of chocolate to intensify the chocolate flavor. You won’t detect the coffee flavor.
  • BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS: I use Ghiradelli bittersweet chips but semi-sweet chips would also work if you like your chocolate sweeter.
  • SOUR CREAM: You can substitute lite sour cream for full-fat.

FAQ about Chocolate Cupcake Tops

Can I freeze these cookies?

Yes. Double wrap and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Why are my cookies chewy?

These cookies should be cake-like in texture. If they aren’t, the dough may have been overworked or overmixed, which develops the gluten.

More cookie recipes to tempt you:

Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the comment section below. No comment is required.

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at

Hope to see you again soon!


Chocolate Cupcake Tops Recipe (aka Frosted Chocolate Cookies)

These will remind you of the top of a chocolate cupcake. A soft, tender cookie with ganache-like, fudgy frosting.
Paula Rhodes
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Desserts
Servings 36 small cookies


  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour - unbleached 210 gr
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa - 11 gr
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter - softened 113 gr
  • 1 cup sugar - 198 gr
  • 1 large egg - 50 gr
  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate - melted 56 gr
  • ¾ cup buttermilk - or unflavored yogurt (thinned with milk to buttermilk consistency) 180 gr
  • ½ teaspoon instant espresso - optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips - 170 gr
  • cup sour cream + another tablespoon - 76 gr + 14 gr
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar - 113 gr


  • Whisk or sift together flour, cocoa, soda, and salt in a medium-size bowl.
  • Use a stand mixer to beat butter until smooth. Add in sugar and mix for two minutes. Add cooled chocolate and mix. Add egg and mix for another minute.
  • Combine buttermilk or yogurt, espresso, and vanilla. Add alternately with dry ingredients and blend to the egg and sugar mixture until mixed.
  • Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400˚F. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto a lightly-greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until no imprint remains when cookie is lightly touched. Frost cookies when cooled.


  • Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave on MEDIUM for 1-½ to 2 minutes. Stir and let stand for 3-4 minutes till it all melts. Stir in sour cream. Add powdered sugar and beat with a spoon.
  • Frosting will be thick and gloppy at first. But as you beat, it will become smooth and shiny. Add another tablespoon or more of sour cream to thin to spreadable consistency. Spread on cooled cookies immediately. Let cookies sit until frosting dries slightly.


Freeze baked cookies unfrosted. Frosting will hold in the refrigerator for a few days. Microwave for 15 seconds and stir until glossy again.


Serving: 2gCalories: 116kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 84mgPotassium: 56mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 107IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 1mg
Keyword chocolate cookies with chocolate icing, chocolate sour cream icing, frosted chocolate cookies
Cuisine American
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recipe Rating


Wednesday 17th of August 2011

Thanks for sharing this recipe.

I grew up in the Wilkes-Barre area, and a department store called, "Lazarus" used to sell "Black Bottom Cookies". These were chocolate cupcake tops, with vanilla frosting, which was topped with fresh coconut. Delicious!!

The store's been closed for decades; the bakery there's out of business, and every now and then I have a yen to bake up a batch, but couldn't find a recipe anywhere!

Your recipe comes closest, and I will add the frosting and coconut topping.

Thanks again!!!



Wednesday 17th of August 2011

Mary, those cookies sound wonderful. I may have to try it myself. Let me know if you come up with a winner.


Monday 30th of August 2010

Wow, these look phenomenal!! These are getting bookmarked for when my sister (the frosting fiend) comes over :D


Sunday 29th of August 2010

From one grandma to another-your frosted cookies are fab! I have my grandchildren visiting over Labor Day. These look perfect to make for them.


Friday 27th of August 2010

I like your frosted cookie idea. We need to add my cutout sugar cookies & frosting to the website, maybe around the holidays. :)


Friday 27th of August 2010

I need to be in chocolate heaven now! These look so pretty and tempting. Thanks very much for sharing.