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This Best Chocolate Cupcakes recipe makes decadent, moist, rich and delicious cupcakes! These chocolate cupcakes, from my Best Chocolate Cake Ever, are so quick and easy to make and always favorites!


Chocolate cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes…but the best chocolate cupcakes. Like my chocolate cake, they are the most moist, rich, and delicious chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. They practically melt in your mouth. They are the perfect chocolate lover’s cupcake!

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

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How to Make the Best Chocolate Cupcakes

Not only does this recipe make the best chocolate cupcakes in my book, they are also so quick and easy.

Ingredients for Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

  • all-purpose flour
  • sugar
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • espresso powder – Optional, but I highly recommend adding espresso powder to your chocolate recipes.
  • milk – you can also use buttermilk, almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk
  • oil – you can use vegetable, canola or melted coconut oil
  • eggs – when baking, I like to use room temperature eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • boiling water

There are a couple of ingredients that make my cake – and these cupcakes – different and the best I’ve ever had. One of these is the boiling water. It’s so important to my recipe, so please don’t skip it even though you may think it sounds strange. It will make the cake batter thinner compared to most other batters, but it results in a very tender and moist cupcake.


This cupcake recipe is so simple. The batter can easily be mixed in a single bowl without using a mixer.

How Many Cupcakes Does this Recipe Make?

This recipe is sized to make exactly a dozen cupcakes. You can easily multiply the recipe to increase it when you are baking for a party or a larger crowd.

Chocolate Cupcake Modifications

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes:

Substitute with your favorite gluten-free flour that you use for baking.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cupcakes:

Substitute with your favorite dairy-free milk such as almond, coconut, rice, oat, or soy milk.

Egg-Free Chocolate Cupcakes:

To make the cake an egg-free chocolate cake recipe, use ⅓ cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of the large egg in the recipe. You will note that you may have to bake the cake just a few minutes more. Be sure to check with the skewer for doneness.

I’ve also used Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer as well as a flax egg with great success.

To Use Butter and Other Oils:

I have tested the chocolate cake and cupcakes recipes with additional oils, as well as butter. I’ve tested using an equal amount of melted coconut oil to the vegetable oil called for in the recipe. I’ve also tested using the same volume of melted butter in place of the oils in the chocolate cake. While it does make the texture slightly different, it is still delicious and worth trying if you’d prefer to use butter in place of oils in your chocolate cake.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Use the dairy-free and egg-free recommendations above.

Chocolate Cupcake Frosting

You have several delicious options when it comes to frosting for these cupcakes. You’ll notice that I’ve photographed them with my Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. The combination of the rich chocolate with the creamy vanilla is absolutely amazing.

But you know, it is also incredible with the frosting options as well.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

Peanut Butter Frosting

For each of these frosting options, you’ll need ½ of the full recipe for a dozen cupcakes.

To decorate the cupcakes, you have a few options as well. You can swirl the frosting on top of the cupcake with a spoon or spatula, place the frosting into a zip top bag and snip the corner to use as a quick frosting bag, or use a frosting bag fitted with a 1M tip (or open star).

Best Chocolate Cupcakes |

How to Make Ahead and Store the Homemade Cupcakes:

Both the cupcakes and the frostings can be made ahead. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, place them into an appropriate sized freezer-safe, airtight container. Freeze the cake layers for up to one month.

To frost the cupcakes, simply remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator. Then, frost once they have completely thawed.

Store the cake at room temperature on the counter. I like to store under a cake dome or in a cupcake carrier to keep fresh. I do not recommend storing in the refrigerator unless you use a frosting that requires refrigeration, such as the cream cheese frosting.

Here’s my best chocolate cupcakes recipe with vanilla buttercream frosting. I hope you love them as much as we do!

4.87 from 380 votes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Dessert 30 mins

Photograph of chocolate cupcakes with white frosting
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 12
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
Get this easy recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder homemade or store-bought
  • 1/2 cup milk buttermilk, oat milk, or other favorite plant-based milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil canola oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • Vanilla Buttercream Frosting half of full recipe


  • Prep. Preheat oven to 325º F. Place cupcake liners in muffin pan. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
  • Whisk dry ingredients. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Add wet ingredients. Add milk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract to the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Carefully add boiling water to the cupcake batter. Mix until well combined and the batter smooth. Note that the batter will be very thin.
  • Bake. Evenly distribute the cupcake batter. Each cupcake liner should be about ½ full. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
  • Frost and serve. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting according the recipe instructions. Note that you'll need ½ of the frosting recipe for a dozen cupcakes. Frost the cupcakes and serve.


The nutritional values are for one cupcake without frosting.

Nutritional Information

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 118mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 36IU | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg

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Frosting / Icing Recipes

Robyn Stone

Robyn Stone is a wife, mom, blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. Welcome to Add a Pinch where I share thousands of delicious, tested and perfected easy recipes that the whole family will love.

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Recipe Review


  1. Hi Robyn! I have made your cake before – delicious! Now I’m wanting to make cupcakes for my son to take to school for his birthday. I need to make 4 dozen! If I make them the day before he takes them, can I frost them and leave them on the bench overnight? Also, have you ever added colouring to your vanilla buttercream frosting? Im wanting to do half red and half blue – spiderman colours! Thanks so much in advance 🙂

    1. Rachel, the cupcakes should be fine left out at room temperature overnight, but I would place them on a covered container. I leave my frosted cake out on my counter under a covered dome. You can add food coloring to the vanilla buttercream frosting. Hope your son has a very happy birthday and loves his cupcakes.

    1. When I used cake flour with the chocolate cake, I thought the cake was too tender. However, many people have said that they use cake flour successfully all the time.

    1. 5 stars
      My 3 year old loves a good “birthday muffin”. Due to unknown medical issues he is currently gluten, dairy and egg free and we just discovered he cannot break down much sucrose so I substituted gluten free flour, flax egg, almond &cashew milk and agave syrup for the sugar 2/3 amount of agave and cut the boiling water by 1/3 cup to balance the liquid). They are not ideal. taste ok but a little odd texture. I think if I could use real egg they might be ok. If anyone has successfully used agave as a replacement for sugar I’d be interested to know what you did. My 3 year old likes them but I’d rather not have to make a whole different batch for him. Thanks

    2. I’m so glad you found a solution for the food challenges your 3 year old has now, Jessica. I have people in my family who can’t have eggs, gluten, and dairy so I understand the issues. I haven’t used agave instead of sugar but maybe someone else on here has and can help you.

  2. Hi Robyn! I tried making these and they came out great
    Do you think I can make mini bite sized cupcakes with this recipe? Should I change overn temperature and time?

    1. Rach, this recipe should make about 72 mini cupcakes. You will need to lower the baking temperature to 325º F for the mini cupcakes. It will just take about 10-15 minutes for them to bake so I would start checking them at about 8 minutes. I hope you enjoy!

  3. Hi – if I were to make these in the bakery-style larger cups, what would be the recommended oven temp & timing adjustments? Thanks!

    1. I haven’t made these as the jumbo cupcakes, Mattina, but I would think bake at 350ºF for about 20 to 25 minutes.

    1. Angie, you can use either one of those milks in this recipe. It is just whichever you prefer. They both work well. Hope you enjoy the cupcakes.

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