These chocolate cupcakes are incredibly moist and tender, and they pack a strong kick of chocolaty flavor in every bite! A light and fluffy chocolate buttercream is the perfect frosting to pair with the cupcakes.
* This post was updated with new photos....again 🙂
Calling all my fellow chocoholics!
Not only are these cupcakes super chocolaty and rich, they also couldn't be any easier to make! I absolutely love cupcakes because they're a lot easier to make than cakes, AND they're portable!
Chocolate cupcakes ingredients:
To make these chocolate cupcakes and the chocolate frosting, you will need:
• Sugar: granulated for the cupcakes and powdered for the frosting
• Cocoa powder: either Dutch processed or natural cocoa powder will do. I usually use plain, unsweetened cocoa powder because it works with pretty much every recipe
• Baking powder & baking soda: the baking powder helps with airiness and moistness, and the baking soda gives a bit of a fudgy aspect to it
• Salt: to balance out the sweetness in the cupcakes and the frosting
• Milk: for the cupcake batter
• Milk or heavy cream: again, for the buttercream frosting. You can use either one. The milk will yield a slightly denser and fudgier frosting, while the heavy cream will yield a fluffier and richer frosting. Since milk is not as thick as heavy cream, you'll end up needing slightly less for the frosting if you use milk
• Vegetable oil: makes for the most moist cupcakes!
• Vanilla extract
• Water: boiling water is another secret to getting moist cupcakes! The hot water helps kick start the baking powder and baking soda before the cupcakes even start baking. The heat also blooms the cocoa powder, giving the cupcakes a more chocolaty flavor
• Instant espresso powder: this is optional, but it makes the cupcakes taste more chocolaty! The cupcakes shouldn't taste like coffee. Instead of the water and espresso powder, you can also use strongly brewed, hot coffee
• Butter: the foundation of the chocolate frosting
How to make chocolate cupcakes:
1. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together, and set aside.
2. Whisk together most of the wet ingredients. Combine everything except for your hot water and espresso powder, and whisk to combine.
3. Mix together wet and dry ingredients. The batter will be quite thick at this point.
4. Dissolve espresso powder into boiling water. Add hot coffee to your cupcake batter and whisk until combined. Now the batter will be super thin - that's what we want!!
5. Portion cupcakes into cupcake tin & bake! Test the doneness of the cupcakes by inserting a skewer into one cake, and it should come out clean.
6. Cool the baked cupcakes. Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and the turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely before frosting!
7. Make your buttercream: cream butter until pale and fluffy.
8. Add powdered sugar in 2 additions. Mix well after each addition until the powdered sugar is fully dissolved. Add the salt in with the second addition of powdered sugar.
9. Add in cocoa powder, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk / heavy cream. Mix until well combined. If your frosting is too thick, gradually add in more milk / heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency.
10. Beat the buttercream for about 1 to 2 minutes. Finish off the frosting by giving it one final mix to work out any dry clumps and incorporate some air.
11. Frost the cooled cupcakes!
Chocolate cupcake storage:
Without frosting, these chocolate cupcakes can be stored in the fridge or at room temperature. Keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container. The unfrosted cupcakes will keep for up to 5 days at room temperature or 1 week in the fridge.
After frosting, it's best to keep your cupcakes in the fridge so your buttercream doesn't soften too much! The frosted cupcakes will also keep for about 1 week in the fridge.
If you liked these chocolate cupcakes, check out some of these other recipes!
Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe
For the chocolate cupcakes:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder, (optional) * see notes
For the chocolate buttercream frosting:
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream ** see notes
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 12 count muffin tin with paper liners, and set aside.
- For the chocolate cupcakes: In a large bowl, combine your flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine your eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk together to break up the eggs and combine everything.
- Pour your egg mixture over your dry ingredients. Mix everything together until you get a thick batter. If using coffee, dissolve your instant espresso powder in your boiling water. Add the water to your cake batter, whisking until you get a smooth batter. It will be very loose!
- Portion your batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup no more than ⅔ of the way full. Bake in the center of your preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of one cupcake comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes for about 10 minute it the pan, then turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely to room temperature before frosting.
- For the chocolate frosting: Place your butter in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a wooden spoon if mixing by hand, beat the butter for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until it turns a pale yellow color.
- Add about half of your powdered sugar and beat into the butter until incorporated. Add the other half of the sugar along with your salt, and beat the mixture again until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Add your cocoa powder, along with the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream. Beat for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy, and you no longer see any dry cocoa powder. If the frosting is too stiff, add in more milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after the addition, until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Whip the frosting for another 1 to 2 minutes to work out any clumps and incorporate a bit of air into the mixture. If you used heavy cream as your liquid, take care not to overbeat the frosting or it may cause the cream to separate!
- Frost your cooled cupcakes, and serve!