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 🙂
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:
First, we start by whisking together the dry ingredients. So that’s going to involve combining the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk, and set aside.
In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together most of your wet ingredients: the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Combine your wet and dry ingredients, and mix until you get a thick batter.
If using the espresso powder, dissolve the instant coffee in your boiling water. Then add the hot water to your cake batter, whisk well after the addition. The batter will be very loose at this point!
Portion out your cupcakes into a 12 count muffin tin that’s been lined with paper liners. Bake the cupcakes in the center of a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool for about 10 minutes in the muffin tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely to room temperature before frosting.
For the buttercream frosting, place your butter in a large bowl and beat for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until it slightly lightens in color. You can do this by hand or using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Add about half of your powdered sugar to the butter, and beat until the powdered sugar is fully dissolved. Add the remaining powdered sugar along with your salt and beat again until you no longer see any dry portions of powdered sugar.
Add your cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream. Beat for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until your mixture is light and fluffy! If your frosting is too dense, add in another tablespoon of milk or heavy cream until you reach your desired consistency.
Frost your cooled cupcakes, and you’re done!
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
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder, (optional) * see notes
For the chocolate buttercream frosting:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 to 6 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 2/3 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 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 4 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.
- Frost your cooled cupcakes, and serve!