Decadent, moist chocolate cupcakes with exquisite, smooth, delicious Italian buttercream.
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Sift together sugar, flour, baking soda and salt
Combine cocoa powder, vegetable oil and 3/4Cup (175g) water in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat till the butter has melted, whisking constantly. Take care not to get it too hot or it will cook the eggs when added to the batter.
Pour the cocoa-butter mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir to blend.
Add buttermilk and vanilla to the mixture.
Lightly beat the egg and egg yolk separately and add to the cocoa mixture. Mix just to combine. Don't over mix or the cupcakes will be tough.
Spoon in the batter equally into the muffin cups.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean and the top springs back when gently touched.
Unmold the cupcakes and cool to room temperature on wire racks. They can now be stored, covered in the refrigerator for 2 days or frozen for a month.
The cupcakes are ready to be decorated with frosting or dipped in chocolate ganache.