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.

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Get this easy recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 12
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • Vanilla Buttercream Frosting half of full recipe


  • Preheat oven to 325º F.
  • Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
  • 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.
  • Add milk, vegetable oil, egg, 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.
  • Evenly distribute cake batter. Each cupcake liner should be about 1/2 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.
  • Prepare Buttercream Frosting according to instructions.
Tried this recipe?Share a photo on Instagram and tag me with @addapinch and #addapinch!


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


865 comments on “Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe”

  1. Hey Robyn! I just found this recipie, and it looks delicious! Will be making soon!

    One question, does the boiling water cook the eggs? Thanks!

    • Hi Jessie,
      No, if you follow the recipe instructions exactly the boiling water won’t cook the eggs. I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count and always have great results. Hope you enjoy them! Thanks!

  2. Can I replace the egg with applesauce? And if so how much?

  3. Hi Robyn-

    LOVE this recipe! I made the cake version earlier today. 

    I’m looking to make it in a single 10” springform. Do you this this recipe would give enough batter for that?


  4. Very easy recipe to throw together and brings the chocolatey goodness. Nearly as easy as a box mix but is from scratch and has all the sticky tender moist cupcakes you are looking for. It makes exactly 12 perfect cupcakes as advertised. I used peppermint buttercream for the holidays and am thinking that a chocolate frosting would be too much chocolate, if that’s a thing. Great recipe, give it a shot! I’m keeping it around myself.

  5. What can I replace for the  espresso powder ? We don’t do coffee of any kind……. suggestions?

    • Lindsey,
      You can omit the espresso powder. The cupcakes will still be delicious! The espresso powder is the type used in baking, not a coffee and enhances the richness of the chocolate without giving a coffee flavor. But again, you can omit it if you wish. Hope you enjoy the cupcakes! xo

  6. HELP i do not have any veggie oil and no rig to make it to the store. I have used your recipes over and over again as it NEVER FAILS ME and they are just amazing, your just amazing! Can i use something else in place of the oil like melted butter or olive oil which I’ve read that it doesn’t work well with baking because of the taste or melted shortening. I need to make them for a school function tomorrow for my kids! Thank you so much in advance!

  7. Wow these were amazing! Super easy too… My friends were all shocked that they were homemade, and they asked for the recipe of course 🙂

  8. Hello. I loved the chocolate cake recipe from your site so I decided to try making the cupcakes. I made these today and was happy about them, but they weren’t as moist as the cake. It was my first time baking cupcakes so I was wondering because I had kept them a couple of minutes longer in the oven? 

  9. Did you use buttermilk or regular milk?


  10. I want to make a sheet cake in a sheet pan – can I use this recipe as is? Thanks!

  11. I would like to make these into mini cupcakes. Should I alter the baking time? 

  12. can i use half oil half butter to make it bit denser and use little less water for that too/….??thanks

  13. Made these twice. Fabulous 

  14.  Hi Robyn,

    This has become my go to recipe for cupcakes. I made them for a summer bbq (cause chocolate is good anytime) and then my friend asked me to make a batch for her daughters birthday. They turned out so wonderful. 
    I have never found a recipe this wonderful… and have honestly stopped looking. 
    I paired it with a Swiss meringue buttercream… dynamite combo!!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe with us!!

  15. What can you use instead of white flour to make it gluten free?

    • Hi Katherine,
      As I mention in my Best Chocolate Cake blog post, I’ve successfully used Cup4Cup gluten free flour in the cake, so you could use in these cupcakes as well. Hope this helps. Thanks!

  16. Hi Robyn,

    What size are the cupcake liners that you used please? Mine are 2″ diameter so I’m wondering if that will make 12 or more. There are 26 kids in my son’s class and want to make a few extra for the teachers. Also do you do anything to your paper cupcake liners to stop the cake sticking? Greasing sounds like a lot of fiddly work but maybe I should sieve flour over them?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Claire,
      How fun that you are making these for your son’s class! I think if you take a look at the recipe again, it details everything. It makes 12 cupcakes and I do spray the cupcake liners with baking spray. Sounds like you will need to make 3 recipes’ worth of cupcakes.
      Hope you enjoy the cupcakes! Thanks! xo

  17. Hi! Quick question, for the cocoa, it’ll be cocoa powder, right? And do you think I can just use a whisk and mix by hand? Thank you!

  18. Are you using Dutch process cocoa?

  19. This is the best chocolate cupcake recipe out of the 3 that I’ve tried recently. I’ve just made a triple batch and ran out of my Drost Cocoa (Holland). I used Trader Joe’s cocoa on the last 2 batches. The Drost cocoa batch was the most amazing, but the Trader Joe’s cocoa produced pretty good results too.
    I can’t stress how good this recipe is and it’s not full of fat. It has a lot less fat than other recipes, but is still moist and was much easier to make. The addition of expresso makes these cupcakes super flavorful. Question: Can I frost these a day ahead of serving them? If so, should I store them in the fridge frosted?

    • Hi Jean,
      I’m so happy you enjoy the cupcakes! You can certainly frost these the day ahead of serving, but there is no need to refrigerate. After the cupcakes have cooled and you’ve frosted them, just leave them covered and on the kitchen counter. I keep mine in my cupcake carrier or under a dome. Thanks! xo

  20. May I substitute Patron Cafe (coffee liqueur tequila) for both the espresso powder and boiling water?

    • Don’t skip the boiling water step, K. It is important for the desired cake results.
      You can omit the espresso if you wish and the cake will still be delicious. I’ve never use the product you mention in this cake, so I don’t know the outcome. Thanks!

  21. My family adores these cupcakes! And since we have a smaller family, I love that I don’t have to make two dozen at a time! I’ve made these several times and they’re practically fool proof. It’s our go to cupcake recipe…for life. I’d like to say I follow the recipe to a T, but every time I make them, the texture of the cupcakes is a little sticky, for lack of a better word. They still taste lovely, but I’m one of the few in our family who is bothered by the sticky texture of the top layer. Have you had this issue? Is there something I may do differently that would help alleviate that? Thanks in advance!

  22. Moist and delicious! I made these and filled them with a peanut butter-sugar mixture then topped them with chocolate frosting.

  23. Hi Robyn,

    Is there a significant difference between your cake recipe and the cupcake recipe? Can I make cupcakes out of your cake recipe or do I need to use this one? I absolutely love the cake recipe but read a post that there cupcake was a bit dryer. 

    Look forward to your reply!

    • Hi Deanne,
      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy the Best Chocolate Cake! This cupcake recipe comes from the cake recipe, but I’ve scaled it to make a dozen cupcakes. I hope this helps and that you enjoy them! xo

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