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chocolate cupcakes frosted and topped with sprinkles in cupcake tin

Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

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.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes


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!



* The espresso powder in this recipe is optional, but highly recommended! Your cupcakes shouldn't taste like coffee at all, but the coffee makes them taste even more chocolaty! You can also use strongly brewed black coffee in place of the water and espresso powder.
** You can use milk or heavy cream as your main liquid. I personally like using heavy cream when I have it on hand because it yields a richer and fluffier frosting! Milk works just as well, but it will give you a slightly denser frosting. Since milk is also not as thick as cream, you'll need less liquid if you use milk, so keep an eye out for the consistency!
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