This Chocolate Cupcake recipe makes moist, delicious cupcakes! These chocolate cupcakes, from my Best Chocolate Cake Ever, are so easy and always favorites for the Best Chocolate Cupcakes!

Chocolate cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes…but the best chocolate cupcakes.

But I guess it just makes sense that I would share my recipe for the Best Chocolate Cupcakes. Especially since I’d been talking about my chocolate cake, the best chocolate cake ever , so much before sharing this cupcake recipe. So many of you had told me how much you loved the cake too, but you have Claire to thank for these cupcakes.

Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

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.

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. They really love that.

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 pretty lucky.

Anyway, I also wanted to be sure to size a frosting recipe to work perfectly with the amount of chocolate cupcakes. Even though having extra buttercream frosting doesn’t seem like a bad idea, I always try to keep the recipes even when I share them.


Making the Cupcakes

These are not only the best chocolate cupcakes in my book, but also about the easiest ones I’ve ever made. Since I used my amazing chocolate cake to create this recipe, I knew these were going to be the most moist, rich and delicious chocolate cupcakes.

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.


Like I said, this recipe is so simple. The batter can easily be mixed in a bowl without using heavy duty stand mixers. This makes 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?

Frosting the Cupcakes

I kept it simple, yet scrumptious when frosting these cupcakes. They are topped with my delicious Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. The taste combination of the rich chocolate and creamy vanilla is amazing!

You can also use my Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, or Cream Cheese Frosting, or even my delicious Peanut Butter Frosting. They are all great on these cupcakes.

I just put all of my buttercream frosting into a zip top bag, snipped off the corner and went around on top for a generous bit of frosting. Of course, you can get fancy with them if you like, but I know that my family just likes things good and simple.

Best Chocolate Cupcakes |

So, if you love chocolate and are looking for what my family calls the best chocolate cupcakes, this is your recipe. It’s also perfect if you enjoy my recipe for the best chocolate cake ever and just don’t need a whole cake. And if you know someone who needs a little bit of cheer or has some celebrating to do, this is great. Let’s just declare it chocolate cupcake day and go make them!

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

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Get this easy recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.
4.85 from 325 votes

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Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 12
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
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.
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Robyn xoxo

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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1031 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. I really loved this recipe! I made cupcakes for the first time today and they came out amazing! I totally thought I screwed up the whole thing because I accidentally added 1/2 a cup instead of a 1/4 cup of vegetable oil but it turned out just fine luckily!!! I decided to go with the cream cheese frosting, what is the consistency supposed to be like? More runny or thicker?

  2. Best cupcakes I’ve ever made and I’ve tried ALOT of recipes. The frosting is incredible-not sickly sweet like a lot of buttercream frosting I’ve tried. Highly recommend.

      1. This is the ONLY homemade chocolate cupcake recipe i’ve ever liked. And i could say the same about your chocolate layer cake recipe as well (they have the same flavor for anyone who is curious). They’re super moist and not bland. The recipe is also extremely easy and forgiving — great for beginners. Thank you so much for changing my life! I substitute the espresso powder + hot water for bold, hot coffee. I highly recommend that no one leaves out espresso powder or coffee in this recipe – it makes all the difference!

      2. Hello, what an I use instead of baking soda? Im in the UK. I have I have baking powder but not soda. Also, when it says 1 cup can I convert in to grams? Thank you x

      3. I haven’t used a substitute for the baking soda, Kayleigh, but the rule of thumb for substituting baking powder for baking soda is a one to three ratio – for each teaspoon of baking soda, add 3 teaspoons of baking powder. Since this recipe uses 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, add 1 1/2 teaspoons more baking powder to the recipe. Hope this helps.

      1. Hi always loved this recipe

        Just want to ask a question

        If I didn’t have oil and wanted to use butter is that possible – I was thinking I could nelly the butter so it mimic the consistency of oil but how much butter is the question

      1. I wouldn’t recommend using self-rising flour in this cake, Arianne. Self-rising flour already has the leavening built into the flour while all-purpose flour doesn’t have any additional leavening added. It is just plain flour (what my Grandmother actually called it!). I hope that helps! xo

  3. I made these today for my daughter’s 5th birthday and wow – what an awesome recipe! The cupcakes turned out unbelievably moist and had such a depth of flavour, I’m truly impressed. My daughter specifically asked for chocolate frosting so I also made half a recipe of that, which was the perfect amount for 12 cupcakes (piped on nice and thick, bakery-style). The combination was amaaazing! This will forever be my go-to chocolate cake recipe. I never leave reviews but I’ve been totally blown away by this recipe, to the point where I can’t wait to have another excuse to make it. So, so good!

  4. Today I made half recipe of best chocolate cake and used half recipe of vanilla buttercream frosting, served it at quilting meeting. Everybody loved it! I also made my own espresso powder. Thanks for two wonderful recipes!

  5. Since we are at home, we decided to make these. Just by a taste of the batter I can tell that these are going to be phenomenal! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. What an amazing cupcake recipe! I typically don’t like chocolate cupcakes very much but these are so delicious and I love them. My family keeps talking about the batch I made a few days ago so I plan to make some more today. Being able to bake and try out new recipes is sort of therapeutic for me. Thanks for the wonderful recipe and I look forward to trying more from your site 🙂

  7. I have seriously 5 lbs of bakers chocolate–100% cocoa… Do you have experience substituting melted bakers chocolate instead of cocoa powder? I read that you can substitute 1 oz of bakers chocolate for every 3 tablespoon of cocoa powder, then subtract a tablespoon of butter?? The website I saw said to add the chocolate when you add the oil/butter. I want to try it, but I think the boiling water might be a disaster with the melted chocolate. I just have so much bakers chocolate! (any recipes that take it? I just found your site–I’m in love!)

    1. Teresa, welcome to Add a Pinch. I have not tried making these with bakers chocolate but if you try, let me know how they turned out. I have many recipes on my site that use chocolate chips which you may be able to substitute with the bakers chocolate. One of my recipes using bakers chocolate is my Chocolate Marble Squares Recipe. I hope you find many recipes here that you like. Thanks.

      1. I did substitute the cocoa for melted bakers chocolate, and although there was some guesswork in the measurements (1/2 cup of cocoa=8 tablespoons, but the conversion was 9 tablespoons) I went by if it ‘looked ok’ and both the cupcakes and the chocolate buttercream frosting turned out SO GOOD! The cupcake recipe came together with the boiling water, as you said. I used a little less oil in the cupcakes, and in the frosting I used maybe a tablespoon of milk–because the chocolate was already (cooled!) liquid.

  8. I added a bit more flour (about a 1/4 cup I think) due to high altitude (Denver); kept it runnier than normal as you said. These are truly the best cupcakes ever.

  9. So easy to make and the cupcakes taste so good and fluffy. I recommend Droste chocolate powder for a rich chocolate taste 😍

  10. I have made these cupcakes (or the cake) easily 20 times. I get loads of compliments – and I’m regularly told to open my own bakery. Of course, if I lost this recipe – I could not repeat it – so I will certainly never open my own bakery – but thank you for sharing all these amazingly delicious recipes! I always look like the hero when I bake one of your creations. Yay!

  11. Hi there, new here! I do not have espresso powder. I know that it helps to bring out and enhance the chocolate flavor. All we have is instant coffee! (I’m not a coffee drinker). Help!

    1. How long would you cook mini cupcakes? I’ve made this cake MANY times and love it – we are going to a birthday party & I want to bring mini cupcakes… Do you think half the frosting recipe would be sufficient?

      1. Amie, you can make mini cupcakes with this recipe. It will just take about 10-15 minutes for them to bake so I would start checking them at about 8 minutes. You will be making more minis than regular size cupcakes so I’m not sure if half of the frosting recipe will be enough. If you have leftover frosting, you can always refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months. Hope everyone loves the cupcakes.

  12. I cannot wait to make these for my daughter’s 4th birthday! I am not a coffee drinker and don’t like the taste of coffee. Does the espresso give them a coffee taste or does it only enhance the chocolate flavor?

    1. The batter is supposed to be very thin, Tricia. If you live in a higher altitude, you must make adjustments according to your altitude or your cake or cupcakes will rise too fast in the oven and will fall. Hope this helps.

  13. Wow! These cupcakes are SO good. I’ve never made cupcakes from scratch – I’m usually a boxed cake baker but I will never go back!! I didn’t have espresso powder so I left that out but they still taste delicious. I had some leftover batter so I filled them to 3/4 of the muffin liner because I didn’t want to waste. 20 minutes was still perfect. Great recipe!

  14. I was wondering if I can you the cupcake recipe to make an 8×8 inch cake. It is just my husband and I and as much as I would love to eat a large cake..I think this would be just about the right size. Thanks.

  15. Agree with how moist and delicious the cake is—followed the recipe but my three year old shoved dark chocolate bits in the cupcake tins before they went into the oven—smart nugget. SO GOOD. And thankful he did because mama didn’t have the ingredients for the frosting. SMH. We LOVED the cupcakes naked with the kiss of dark chocolate bits. Tasted a little richer in chocolate flavor that way, which I think I needed without having the frosting.

  16. Okay, I NEVER write reviews. But, this recipe is worthy of one. I am not a cupcake or cake lover, never have been. Not to mention, the only thing I’ve ever baked in my life was Pillsbury cookies. I was so bored and my mom’s birthday was coming up so I decided to give it a try! I wish I had a video of the first bite I took into this cupcake because you’d think I just found love at first sight (or should I say love at first bite). This is, hands down, THE BEST CUPCAKE I HAVE EVER EATEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. My whole family was scared to try one, ready to be disappointed by my inexperienced baking. Let me tell you, my mother has never been so proud of me in my 19 years of life. Thank you not only for blessing my taste buds, but turning the family disappointment into a mother’s pride and joy.

  17. Hi Robyn,

    I absolutely LOVE your Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever, so naturally I decided to try making cupcakes. I just finished baking my first batch, but they’ve risen/peaked too much, which is not ideal for decorating. I can always shave off the top prior to frosting, but is there a way to achieve flatter tops? I followed the recipe exactly as outlined. The only discrepancy may be in the mixing time.



    1. Over-mixing batter for cupcakes can make them peak or dome too much, Charlene. Also, if you are using an oven with a fan like a convection oven, you may want to reduce the oven temperature about 25ºF. The fan would not affect the cake as much as cupcakes. Hope this helps.

  18. I got home and realized I only have cake flour. Can I substitute it for the regular flour in this recipe, if so, what changes can be made? Thanks!

  19. Absolutely amazing cupcakes. I didn’t have espresso powder but they tasted so yummy anyway! I got rave reviews from everyone! I was nervous because the batter was so thin after adding the boiling water but I’m seriously blown away by how good they turned out and how easy they were! Buttercream frosting was delicious also!

  20. Loved this recipe. I didn’t have espresso powder so I used instant coffee instead, and I also added 1/4 t. cinnamon. Fantastic, simple, and I enjoyed them without frosting. The perfect bite. 🙂

  21. I just made these cupcakes and they are awesome. So moist and rich looking. I was a little worried because the batter looked thinner than what I am used to, plus I filled them 2/3 full so I wouldn’t waste any batter. They turned out great. I substituted hot coffee for the boiling water as I do not have expresso powder. Now I am going to top them with a chocolate cream icing 🙂

  22. Thanks for the recipe! I wanted to make these into mini cupcakes. What oven temperature and baking time would you recommend?

  23. Just made these and they’re delicious! Should I refrigerate them or just store on the counter in an air tight container?

    1. I don’t refrigerate them, Shauna. Sometimes refrigerating cakes can cause them to become dry. I just leave on my counter under a cake dome or in an airtight container. Hope you enjoy!

  24. I made these with GF flour (Better Batter) and coconut oil and they were SO good, and magically soft but didn’t make a crumbly mess. This’ll be my go-to chocolate GF cake recipe!

  25. Hi Robyn! Firstly, your chocolate cake recipe is my absolute favorite, and I’m excited to make cupcakes utilizing that recipe as well! I am making them for a friend on Sunday. Would it be possible for me to make them and store them a few days before, or is that not recommended?

    1. You can make and frost them ahead a day or two without any problems. Just store under a cake dome or in an airtight cupcake carrier. Hope your friend enjoys them.

  26. Hi Robyn,
    I was wondering if it would be possible to add in chocolate chips to batter or is the batter too thin to do so? Is there a way to allow for chocolate addition? Thanks!

  27. LOVE! So delicious!
    I was a bit concerned about adding boiling water into the batter because of the eggs, though. And It’s quite hard to “slowly incorporate” the boiling water into the mixture if you’re mixing it with a whisk.
    Other than that, they turned out amazing! I baked mine for about 25 minutes.

  28. Hi Robyn! I’ve made both the cake and cupcake versions of this recipe and it’s always such a hit! I usually use a hot cup of coffee in place of the espresso powder and boiling water and it works great.

    I have to make 36 cupcakes this weekend, but only have two cupcake pans! I was wondering if you’ve ever made the batter, baked part of it, then baked the rest after the first set was done baking? I THINK it should work, but don’t want it to mess up the consistency at all!

    1. Casey, since this recipe makes 12 cupcakes, I would make the batter twice for your two pans, bake those 24 cupcakes and then make the third batter and bake those 12. Hope this helps.

  29. Even without the espresso powder, these turned out excellent — moist and light and chocolatey. I think this is also the first recipe I’ve ever made where it yielded exactly as many as it said it would. I made the buttercream frosting as well and it was light, fluffy, and delicious. Will definitely be doing these again sometime (and next time I’ll grab the espresso powder).

  30. Absolutely luved this recipe! I left out the espresso powder because I don’t like that but absolutely gorgeous 😍😍😍 there’s like never any left!!

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