Soft Frosted Chocolate Cookies: AKA Cupcake Tops

Sneak Preview: This recipe for Soft Frosted Chocolate Cookies will remind you of the top of a chocolate cupcake, aka cupcake tops with a ganache-like frosting. The best part? They’re small, so you can eat more than one.

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Are cupcakes your thing, especially the frosted tops? If you’re nodding, you’ve got to try these soft frosted chocolate cookies.

I experimented with this recipe and ended up with a few extras, which I shared with a friend. She hit the nail on the head when she said they reminded her of the top part of a frosted cupcake.

Three Reasons Why Cupcake Tops Belong in Your Cookie Recipe Collection

  1. These treats are like tiny chocolate cakes, topped with a luscious chocolate frosting.
  2. Adding a bit of instant espresso and Dutch-process cocoa to the mix gives them a deep, rich flavor.
  3. The frosting has a secret ingredient that you’ll never guess.

Recipe Inspiration

My obsession with frosted cookies started with ugly, irregularly shaped, frosted cinnamon cookies my Grandma used to bake for us.

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 cookiesPin

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.

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

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 recipe 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 Soft Frosted Chocolate Cookies or 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.

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

Yield: 36 small cookies

Soft Frosted Chocolate Cookies

These will remind you of the top of a chocolate cupcake. A soft, tender cookie with ganache-like, fudgy frosting.

Rate this recipe

(5 stars if you loved it)

5 from 2 votes
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes


  • cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (11 g) cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (113 g) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (198 g) sugar
  • 1 (50 g) large egg
  • 2 (58 g) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • ¾ cup (180 g) buttermilk or unflavored yogurt (thinned with milk to buttermilk consistency)
  • ½ teaspoon instant espresso, optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup (170 g) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • cup (79 g) sour cream + another tablespoon
  • 1 cup (120 g) confectioner’s sugar


  • Whisk or sift together 1¾ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons (11 g) cocoa, ½ teaspoon baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium-size bowl.
  • Use a stand mixer to beat ½ cup (113 g) butter, softened until smooth. Add in 1 cup (198 g) sugar and 1 (50 g) large eggix for two minutes. Add cooled 2 (58 g) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and mix. Add 1 (50 g) large egg and mix for another minute.
  • Combine ¾ cup (180 g) buttermilk or yogurt, ½ teaspoon instant espresso, optional, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add alternately with dry ingredients and blend into the egg and sugar mixture until mixed.
  • Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Drop dough by spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until no imprint remains when a cookie is lightly touched. Frost cookies when cooled.


  • Melt 1 cup (170 g) bittersweet 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 ⅓ cup (79 g) sour cream + another tablespoon. Add 1 cup (120 g) confectioner’s 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: 2 | Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 84mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 107IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a

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Recipe Rating


  1. 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!!!


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

  2. Jeannette says:

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

  3. 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.

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

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

  6. UrMomCooks says:

    Luv frosted cookies! It makes them so special! Even my GROWN children think so! I made oatmeal this week, which I usually frost, and I forgot… (Old age is setting in!)
    Ur chocolate cookies look delicious! Great pics!

  7. HappyTummy says:

    ok, when a single post has the words “chocolate,” “cupcake,” “frosted” and “cookies,” you know the recipe has to be good. and your pictures are stunning. LOVE!

  8. What lovely photos! Like you, my earliest cookie memories are from my grandmother. Hers were ginger snaps, and I’ll never top them!

  9. Excellent idea – if we can have muffin tops, then there’s no reason to not enjoy a cupcake top too. And with that pile of frosting, what’s not to love?

  10. Big giant YUM! I will be making these very, very soon. And I think your goal is a great one! Glad you are enjoying the mechanical pastry bag – don’t you just love it?

  11. looks so chocolately! yum!

  12. Right when I saw the first picture I smiled 🙂 I have the largest sweet tooth ever and chocolate is high on the list of got to have daily kinda like milk for me. Frosting with sour-cream is so good, I bet these are yummy.

  13. I think you have great, worthy ideas and goals–to have the biggest frosted cookie collection and what more, for your grandson. 😉
    These cupcake tops look awesome. I’m totally going to check out that WS piping thing and the frosting recipe!

  14. Christie @ Fresh Local and Best says:

    I think this is a noble goal to recreate the wonderful memories and delicious sweets you shared with your grandma for your grandson. This looks like wonderful indulgent chocolate cupcake top, which is the best part of a cupcake.

  15. How cute! And they do look delicious. I agree with Betty–the best part of a cupcake, and that is what they look like! I’m anxious to try the sour cream frosting–yum!

  16. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says:

    It’s a grandma’s duty to provide grandchildren with frosted cookies. 🙂 These look wonderful. I can just imagine how frosting-covered my grandson could get with these. They look like the best part of a cupcake- I always go for a high frosting to cake ratio. Thanks for sharing these delights!