Solar System Chocolate Cupcakes

Birthday Recipes, Cakes and Cupcakes, Chocolate, Dessert, Holiday Recipes, Kid Friendly Recipes | 36 comments

To see how the rest of the Solar System Birthday Party turned out see my post on How-To: Create a Solar System Birthday Party. I’ve included our snacks, decoration ideas, and party favor bags on that post.

I dedicate this post to my sweet birthday boy. He probably never would have guessed in his wildest dreams that mommy would do a blog post about the solar system – his current love. But, here we go…Solar System Birthday Cupcakes.


Logan always likes to ask people what their favorite planet is. Most have never thought about it before and have to think for a bit before answering. I always tell him Earth is my favorite and he always asks why. I love this beautiful planet, especially now that I’m seeing a tiny evidence of the spring we will soon experience.


Though Mars may seem really cool with it’s red color or Jupiter’s size may amaze (Logan tells me that 1,300 Earths can fit inside Jupiter), I think I’ll always be partial to Earth. Even with all the bad, annoying, crappy, unfair, and down right stupid things that happen here, there are so many positive things and people and beauty to make up for it if you keep your eyes open.

Happy 5th birthday, Logan! I’m so glad you are here on Earth with me. I love your cuddles and hugs and the way you say “Mom?…I love you.” I can’t believe you are growing up so fast and already don’t like me to kiss you nearly as much as I want to. I hope you enjoy your Solar System birthday party and it’s just as perfect as you could ever imagine.

p.s. I’m sorry I didn’t include Pluto. I know that you know that Pluto is now a dwarf planet (as you would say – got fired), but I think you would have liked it anyway. I just couldn’t find any good pictures on NASA’s website. Probably because Pluto is about 2.7 billion miles from Earth, but you probably already know that too.

p.p.s. Do you think they have chocolate cupcakes on Saturn? These are downright delicious, so I don’t think I could live on a planet that doesn’t have them.


Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Vanilla Almond Frosting

cupcakes adapted from Chocolate Fool. Buttercream adapted from Love and Olive Oil.

Print Save Recipe


For the Cupcakes:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 vanilla bean, seeds only

For the Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3-3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 vanilla bean (seeds only)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
food coloring (optional)


For the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with cupcake cups or grease using nonstick cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 15 second intervals, making sure to stir in between. Set aside to cool down for a bit. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes, until it is pale and thick. Add in the butter. Mix until combined. Add in the melted chocolate. Now, add in the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated.

Add the flour mixture in 3 increments and beat until smooth. Divide batter into the cupcake tins. This batter made 30 cupcakes for me.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the Buttercream:
Cream butter in electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Slowly add 1 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Add milk and mix until combined. Add remaining confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla seeds, extract, and food coloring, and mix at medium-high speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add more cream or sugar as necessary to achieve proper consistency. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Note: You will need 2 batches of frosting for the number of cupcakes. I piped the frosting with a Wilton 32 tip in a disposable decorating bag. Then I sprinkled with blue crystal sprinkles. These glow-in-the-dark stars are great for decorating the serving area.

Note 2: Yes, I realize now that I accidentally flipped Saturn and Jupiter in the picture. I am aware of the correct order of the planets, but I was hurrying to get these done before birthday boy got home from school and made a mistake.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Jamie - March 05, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

    Super adorable and great photos! Happy Birthday, Logan!


  • 2
    FishMama - March 05, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

    SUPER cute!


  • 3
    Malle - March 05, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

    Your son is so lucky to have you as a mum! And what a wonderful little boy! I really hope he keeps his interest for the Solar System.-astronomy student.


  • 4
    Laura - March 05, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

    Those turned out really cute!


  • 5
    Anonymous - March 05, 2010 @ 10:57 pm

    I read a book about the solar system to my preschool class and they kept talking about the "big storm" on Jupiter for weeks. It's so neat to view the world (and the universe!) through young eyes. Happy birthday to your baby! :) ~Rachel


  • 6
    Katie @ goodLife {eats} - March 05, 2010 @ 11:07 pm

    Anonymous – Logan LOVES to talk about the big storm on Jupiter. It is his favorite planet.


  • 7
    RecipeGirl - March 05, 2010 @ 11:10 pm

    Those turned out darling!


  • 8
    Amanda - March 05, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

    Gorgeous!! Those turned out beautifully, and the recipe looks fantastic!


  • 9
    Cookin' Canuck - March 05, 2010 @ 11:14 pm

    What an adorable idea! How thrilled your little boy must be. Happy Birthday to him.


  • 10
    Jessica @ How Sweet - March 05, 2010 @ 11:18 pm

    So cute!!Happy birthday to him! :)


  • 11
    Amy from She Wears Many Hats - March 05, 2010 @ 11:18 pm

    Cute!!! Bet that was fun.


  • 12
    Hoosier Homemade - March 06, 2010 @ 3:34 am

    Very cool! I'd love for you to link up to Cupcake Tuesday this wk. I'm donating to our local Girl Scout troup for every link I have.Thanks for sharing!~Liz


  • 13
    Memória - March 06, 2010 @ 5:58 am

    The frosting recipe sounds perfect!!! The cupcakes look great as well.


  • 14
    marla {family fresh cooking} - March 06, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

    Happy Birthday to Logan! Your mom did such an awesome job with these cupcakes and your solar system birthday theme.I bet they taste as good as they look!Your words are so sweet! My little guy is 3 and I love his cuddles and kisses so much.


  • 15
    kudoskookies - March 06, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

    What a lucky little guy he is to have solar system cupcakes for his birthday celebration. I'm sure they're something he's always going to remember. Great job on them too, they look soooo tasty! Have a great party :)


  • 16
    Tasty Eats At Home - March 06, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

    Adorable post – and what a lucky boy he is to have a loving mom like you! Great cupcakes.


  • 17
    tspegar - March 07, 2010 @ 12:59 am

    How fun! I love throwing parties for my children :) I am sure this party was a "blast!" Nice job on the cupcakes!


  • 18
    oneordinaryday - March 07, 2010 @ 11:55 am

    Happy birthday to your sweet boy!My son is studying the solar system in science class now and we've been having lots of long conversations about poor old Pluto. :) The cupcakes look great. I love the bright blue frosting!


  • 19
    Dana - March 07, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

    Oh so sweet! What a good mommy you are! So creative too! Happy birthday to a very bright boy. I didn't know any of the things you mentioned. :)


  • 20
    Anonymous - March 07, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

    "whats your favorite planet?" – stephanie


  • 21
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - March 08, 2010 @ 3:45 am

    Your cupcakes turned out beautifully! Love the icing… I think you did a wonderful job with it!


  • 22
    Hoosier Homemade - March 09, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

    I'm so glad you joined in the fun at Cupcake Tuesday! Thanks!~Liz


  • 23
    Diane {} - March 10, 2010 @ 12:28 am

    Great job, I'm sure he was very happy!


  • 24
    Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets - March 10, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

    Wow these are beautiful with the stunning blue frosting. What fun cupcakes!


  • 25
    Lindsey - March 11, 2010 @ 2:54 am

    My fiance works for NASA… I'm stealing this idea for the next time he asks me to make something for him for snack day!


  • 26
    Anonymous - June 02, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

    Hi! What a wonderful idea! My son also loves the planets, and for his sixth birthday I am using your idea for his party in class. Thank you so much…the kids are going to eat 'em up!


  • 27
    Aparna - August 08, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

    Where did you get the pictures of the planets that are on top of the cupcakes? Those are great!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — August 8th, 2012 @ 12:59 PM

      I just searched Google. Mostly NASA’s site and had them color printed on cardstock at the print shop.

    • Aparna replied: — August 10th, 2012 @ 2:14 PM

      Thank you!

  • 28
    Ell - February 08, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

    I love how these cupcakes turn out! They are really moist, and last a while without going oily and gross!

    I was wondering, if I wanted to use the same recipe for a vanilla version, could I swap out the coco for one of the flours? Would this effect the overall result?
    And if it would work, would I use the same measurement in flour, or more, or less? And which flour, or does it matter?



  • 29
    Allison - May 10, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

    Did you use regular blue food coloring to get the bight blue color?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — May 11th, 2013 @ 2:22 AM

      I think I used sky blue

  • 30
    Dania - March 31, 2014 @ 11:03 am

    Hi Katie,
    I love your blog and all the recipes you share with us. I wanted to know if this recipe is already adjusted for high altitude baking. If not, could you please help me adjust the recipe. Thank you! looking forward to baking these delicious cupcakes!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — April 1st, 2014 @ 8:27 AM

      This recipes works as is for me at high altitude.

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