Looking for a special cupcake for a special occasion?  Mele Cotte makes these dark chocolatey cupcakes special by topping them with a meringue like super buttery vanilla buttercream frosting.  Sure it takes a bit more time but sometimes we just deserve something a little special.

Melt in Your Mouth Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup strong coffee, cooled
3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 18-24 standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.

Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl periodically.

Using a scoop (I use a 2 oz. scoop), divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 18-20 minutes, rotating pan once half way through baking. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely before decorating.

Vanilla Buttercream

5 large egg whites
1 2/3 cups sugar, divided
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 tsp. vanilla)
1/3 cup water
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature

Combine egg whites and 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean.

Combine remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar and 1/3 cup water in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Attach candy thermometer to side of pan, making sure that bulb of thermometer is immersed in syrup. Increase heat; boil until temperature registers 238°F to 240°F (soft-ball stage), about 5 minutes. Immediately remove syrup from heat (use within 2 minutes).

Meanwhile, beat egg white mixture on medium speed until very soft peaks form (mixture will be slightly opaque).

Increase mixer speed to high and slowly pour hot syrup down side of bowl into egg white mixture in slow steady stream; beat until meringue forms stiff peaks. Cool meringue in bowl until lukewarm (instant-read thermometer will register 100°F), about 30 minutes. Do not beat.

Start beating meringue again on medium speed of stand mixer. Gradually add butter, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until absorbed before adding next addition. Continue beating until buttercream is smooth. (If buttercream looks broken or curdled, place mixer bowl with buttercream over medium heat on stove burner and whisk with large whisk for 5 to 10 seconds to warm mixture slightly, then remove from heat and whisk vigorously or attach bowl to stand mixer and beat mixture again on medium speed. Repeat warming and beating buttercream mixture as many times as needed until buttercream is smooth and no longer curdled.)