Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Chocolate cupcakes. You probably saw this one coming, didn’t you? I can be rather transparent. Especially since I’ve been talking about the best chocolate cake ever so much and all. But, for this recipe, you have Claire to thank.



A while back, Claire emailed me and said she needed some help.

She wanted to make a special treat for her fiance and wanted to make a dozen cupcakes like the cake.

Now, when someone sends me an email asking for my help, I try to do everything I can to help them. And, sometimes that results in my family eating more chocolate – of which, they really love.

Since I’d only doubled the recipe to make chocolate cupcakes for a crowd, I wasn’t entirely sure I could tell her without a shadow of a doubt that she could only make 12 from the recipe. So I went to work.

As a side note, whenever you can say that testing for the best chocolate cupcakes is work, you know you are one lucky girl.


Anywho, I also wanted to be sure to size a frosting recipe to work perfectly with the amount of chocolate cupcakes.

Although having extra buttercream frosting doesn’t seem like a bad idea, I always try to keep the recipes even when I share them with y’all.




I didn’t get all fancy when frosting these cupcakes either.

I just put all of my buttercream frosting into a zip top bag, snipped off the corner and went round and round on top for a generous bit of frosting on top.

Of course, you can get fancy, fancy with them if you like, but I know that my family just likes things simple, yet delicious.




Which really makes these not only the best chocolate cupcake in my book, but also about the easiest one I’ve ever made.

Again, the cake batter is thinner than most, but results in a very tender and moist cupcake.

The batter can easily be mixed in a bowl without the use of heavy duty mixers making it great to throw together after your family has gone to bed or bright and early in the mornings. (Can you tell I’ve done that a time or two?)


Best Chocolate Cupcakes |



If you love chocolate and are looking for what my family calls the best chocolate cupcakes, this is your recipe.

If you’ve wanted to try my recipe for the best chocolate cake ever and just didn’t want to be tempted by a whole cake, this is your recipe.

If you know someone who needs a little pick-me-up or has some celebrating to do, this is your recipe.

Or, better yet, it’s Thursday. Let’s just declare it chocolate cupcake day and go make ’em.

You in?

Here’s my best chocolate cupcakes recipe with vanilla buttercream frosting. This recipe yields 12 cupcakes and can easily be doubled.

4.8 from 109 reviews
Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Get this easy recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.
Serves: 12
  • Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
  2. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  4. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  5. Evenly distribute cake batter. Each cupcake liner should be about ¾ths full.
  6. Place in the oven and bake 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
  8. Prepare Buttercream Frosting according to instructions.


I hope you enjoy these as much as we do and hey, I’m here for ya, man! Err… you know what I mean.

Robyn xoxo



Subscribe by email and never miss another post by Add A Pinch!


    • 250


      Absolutely! You can make the buttercream in advance and transfer it to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for several months. Just let it come back to room temperature before using when ready.

  1. 258

    Priya says

    Hi!! These cupcakes look delectable!! Can’t wait to try this tonight! Could you advise if I should use normal cocoa powder or dutch processed cocoa powder or if it will make any difference?

    • 261

      Karen says

      I used grapeseed oil because that was what I had handy and they turned out fantastic. I also doubled the recipe, and they took longer (about 25-30 mins) to bake at 325. After about 20 mins I bumped the temp to 350. Still turned out great.

  2. 262

    astrid says

    Hi! I’m from Holland, and this is the best recipe for chocolate cupcakes I ever made! I made them with a vanilla creamcheese frosting. So delicious!!
    If I want to add some liquid flavour….say like rum of irish coffee creme….do I have to reduce the water? Or is it save to add the extra liquid into the batter?
    Thanks for this fantastic recipe!!

    • 263

      Meaghan Del Real says

      Hi, I just wanted to let you know, you should definitely reduce the water by however much liquor you plan to use.
      Example, it calls for 1/2 cup water. Use 1/4 cup of water + 1/4 cup of the liquor of your choice. If you don’t take out the equal amount of water, it’ll make them too runny and change the way they bake. (:

  3. 264

    Ignaura says

    I’m new to baking, so I’m still looking for the perfect recipe of some of my favorite desserts. This cupcakes the best!!!! I was nervous because the batter was very this, but they turned out awesome, so moist and soft and fluffy and tender. I used you vanilla buttercream frosting and it is great, didn’t have espresso powder in hand, so I’ll have to try adding it and see how much of a difference it make. you have a new reader!!

  4. 265

    nancy says

    Thanks for this recipe! Getting ready to make it now, but what is espresso powder? Is this instant coffee powder?

  5. 266

    Jill says

    By far the best cupcakes I have ever made! I used Black Onyx Cocoa powder from The Savory Spice Shop (I order it from Santa Fe) and the cupcakes are so rich in flavor and in color. They are almost black. These are always a hit! Thanks!!!!

  6. 267

    Catherine S says

    This is truly the greatest chocolate cake recipe ever. I even have made it subbing in gluten free flour and almond milk and it is still amazing. Well Done!!

  7. 269

    Nancy says

    I made this recipe twice and the cupcakes came out beautifully – so moist and fluffy! I reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup, though, as the first batch was too sweet for me. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. 270

    Judy Botejue says

    I made these cupcakes today. They were amazing. The most soft and best cupcakes I have ever made.

  9. 271

    Celle says

    I am already super impressed with your chocolate cake recipe, so finding this recipe for cupcakes has elevated me up to another level of “Baking highs”! I wish to make them a day ahead of time, is this possible? I don’t want to sacrifice any quality of the baking what so ever.

  10. 272

    Jocelyn says


    I tried this recipe today, not sure if I’m doing the right thing, before adding hot water what is the texture of the mixture? Thick liquid or dough-like? Also, can I substitute vegetable oil with melted butter? They taste good, but I slightly overbaked them, will definitely try again tomorrow! :))

  11. 273

    Dorrian says

    I made these cupcakes tonight and can you say….. Wow! They looked so good I couldnt wait until it cooled so I didn’t

  12. 275

    Tiffy S says

    I’ve tried a lot of recipes for chocolate cupcakes but yours is my absolute favorite. Your vanilla buttercream is a perfect pairing with the chocolate cake. Thanks for sharing the yummy goodness =)

  13. 279

    Emily says

    Thank you for testing out recipes to achieve one of the best chocolate cupcakes ever. Made them today for my boyfriend’s birthday and we are enjoying them tremendously.

  14. 280

    Jennifer says

    I decided to bake these for my boyfriend because he loves chocolate cake but can’t usually have it because he’s sensitive to dairy. I made this with coconut milk as a substitution, and they are in the oven now. Something was funky with the way mine turned out though. The batter was SUPER thick, closer to a dough. I had to add a lot more coconut milk and I never did get it down to what I would consider thinner than the norm. I was afraid the cupcakes wouldn’t bake right if Ikept adding more liquid, so I finally stopped when it was about regular batter consistency.

    My boyfriend said the flour here is weird, and that’s why I was having trouble. He said it’s drier here than it is in most other places. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? I’m in Central Washington, if that’s meaningful. I am wondering if Ishould have used a cup of sifted flour instead.

  15. 283

    Caitlin says

    I made these cupcakes last night to bring into work on my birthday (today) and I’ve had 3 people tell me how delicious they are! I’m a huge advocator for weighing baking ingredients as the amount of flour and cocoa can vary greatly depending on how you scoop it and level it. I converted the volumes into weights using King Arthur Flour’s chart (I love KAF everything! Especially their triple-blend cocoa and espresso powder!). I followed the recipe exactly but when I got to the boiling water I only added 1/4 cup because the batter was extremely runny, like soup. I’ve never seen a batter like this so I made one test cupcake but when I took it out, it was beautiful. Moist, delectable, and oh so beautiful. Is the batter supposed to be runny?

    Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!

    • 284


      Hi Caitlin,
      The batter is extremely runny. Don’t let that scare you at all. Add all of the boiling water next time. It makes the cake absolutely amazing!

  16. 285

    Waltraud says

    Hi there! I tried this recipe and I think I did something wrong. I checked the ingredients list again and I really used the amounts as written in your list. The cupcakes taste like flour and and they collapsed as I opened the oven after 12 minutes to check if toothpick comes out clean.

    Do you have suggestion for me?

  17. 286

    Amy says

    My partner and I love coffee. If I was to add more espresso powder, would it be fine or would it become bitter?

  18. 289

    Diane says

    Wow! I’ve got many decades of cupcake making and eating under my belt (pun intended) ….thought I had seen / tasted it all. These were fantastic. Super moist with a lovely, deep chocolate flavor enhanced by the espresso powder. I frosted with vanilla buttercream [egg white meringue].

  19. 290

    Varsha says

    Hi there,

    Unfortunately I cannot get ahold of espresso powder. Just does not seem to be available where I am from! Is there anything else I can use in substitute of espresso powder? Also when u mention to lightly spray the baking tray – do you mean the try or the cupcake liners?

    Can’t wait to try this recipe for my birthday :)


  20. 291

    Steph says

    I am curious about the boiling water…what does that do for the recipe? Can that be used in any cupcake recipe?

  21. 293

    Thandi says

    Ooh ooh my my. I tried the recipe & it’s to due for. Best chocolate cupcakes ever. I didn’t have espresso power but I used coffee I had in my house used a two teaspoon thou. The cupcakes are most & very shiny. This recipe it’s a must keep.

  22. 294


    I am a home baker who has been baking for 45 years….This Chocolate Cupcake recipe is the BEST!. I make these with 6 tablespoons of melted butter instead of the oil. My friends and I did a taste test using oil, soft butter and melted butter. Melted butter had the best flavor!(of course) I also think these taste better the next day! This is my new favorite
    Chocolate cupcake recipe.

  23. 295

    Paola says

    I just made this recipe and the cupcakes turned out perfectlly moist, soft and very tasty. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe. Ive been trying some other chocolate cupcake recipes and most of them requires so much fancy ingredients which didn’t come out good.

  24. 296

    Denise says

    I do a lot of baking, and have tried so many from scratch chocolate cupcake recipes. I am so thrilled to have found this one! It is by far the best. So moist and light- love it!

  25. 298

    Tracy Miller says

    These were fantastic! I used King Arthur cake flour. They turned out great. Very moist and tender. Thank you for a great recipe.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe: