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 237 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
  • 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 large 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, 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.
  5. Evenly distribute cake batter. Each cupcake liner should be about ½ full.
  6. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes
  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


706 comments on “Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe”

  1. YES! I love the Best Cake Ever recipe and went online today LOOKING for a similar recipe for a small batch of cupcakes. I feel so lucky :). Thank you!

  2. Robyn..I’m making this recipe today with my 6-yr old grandson and have a question. In the directions, you indicated that the cupcake liners should be sprayed with a cooking spray and wondered why it’s necessary. Also, do you keep the baked cupcakes in the muffin tin until they are fully cooled? Looking forward to making these with my little baker-buddy!

  3. Made these today . . . best cupcake recipe EVER !!

  4. Thank you so much for such a great recipe!! This is my go to chocolate cupcake recipe and I can’t count how many times people have said they were the BEST cupcakes they’ve ever had!! I send them here for the recipe! 🙂

  5. Oh my word! These cupcakes are amazing! I have my tried and tested cupcake recipe and was a bit nervous to try something different…but it was worth every silly worry! Absolutely scrumptious! Thank you very much Robyn!

  6. I made the cake version of this and loved it. I plan on making these for my son’s birthday. His party is on Sunday, if I made them ahead of time would Friday be too early to make them?

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed the Best Chocolate Cake, Amanda!
      When I’m baking cake or cupcakes for a special event, one day in advance is as far ahead of time as I go. I like to have them as fresh as possible to serve at the party.
      I hope you enjoy them and your son has a wonderful birthday party! Thanks!

  7. Hi Robyn, I’m excited to try your recipe! I just have a quick question about the cocoa…do you use unsweetened? And is it a bar or powder? Thanks!

  8. Hi! Can I use brown sugar instead?thanks!

  9. Absolutely delicious!!!
    I used the large muffin pan and no liners. Yielded 6 cupcakes. I made a second batch because the frosting recipe made a lot of frosting.

  10. Hey Robyn,

    I made the chocolate cupcajes and they are awesome.. simply moist which exactly i wanted.. turned out so well .. wiah i could give you a tight hug… xx

  11. Can I use soy milk instead of cows milk? Do the cupcake liners have to be sprayed?

  12. Hi Robyn, I have to make these for a baby shower on the weekend. I did a test batch today and they were so simple to make but really delicious. They were moist and had a rich chooolate flavour. I also iced them with your butter cream icing and thanks to your tips, I managed to get it quite white. I’ve been asked to do white icing! If I make these the night before and have the icing piped on, can they be kept at room temperature or do I need to put them in the fridge until ready to eat? Will the cream and butter in the icing be ok to leave out overnight? If I do put them in the fridge overnight, will the icing be ok the next day ie. not too hard?? Thanks for another delicious recipe! Regards, Michelle

    • Hi Michelle,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the cupcakes!
      You don’t have to refrigerate if you make these the night before – I just keep mine under a cake dome or in a cupcake carrier that seals to help keep them fresh.
      Thanks so much!

  13. These are amazing! I omitted the espresso powder (because it’s expensive!) and used freshly brewed coffee instead of the boiling water. They are so delicious that I made them for a wedding and got rave reviews. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Hi Robyn,
    Thanks for this very delicious chocolate cupcake recipe. I tried it this weekend and I loved it, moist, fluffy and light. But I’m just wondering if I can also us the same basic ingredients in making a vanilla cupcake (omitting cocoa, espresso and baking soda) and by substituting the cocoa powder with 1/2 cup flour instead? I really want to make other flavoured cupcakes but with the same texture as yours, advise please, thanks.

  15. Can you make this without the espresso powder? Just omitting any type of coffee all together?

  16. Can you tell me if the cocoa is natural cocoa powder (Hersey’s) or dutch cocoa powder (alkalized)? Thanks!

    • Hi Amanda,
      You could use either, but I use the regular unsweetened cocoa powder (natural in your words). Hope you enjoy the cupcakes! Thanks!

      • Hi Robyn, We are in Canada and natural cocoa powder is only available at the bulk food store in our area, dutch cocoa is stocked everywhere else though, so I thought I would ask which kind you use in the recipe. I made these cupcakes with natural cocoa for my daughter’s birthday in October and they were amazing! I needed 36 so I used this recipe plus your chocolate cake recipe all in one batch. My kids and I made these again tonight just for fun and they really are the perfect chocolate cupcake!

  17. I’ve made these for three birthday parties now and got rave reviews’ from both kids and parents! I always top it with the vanilla buttercream or other vanilla frosting. They’re delicious. I’ve also made both the 13×9 version of this and the 3-tier round cake. It comes out amazing everytime. I’m always surprised at how liquidy the batter is but it all works out in the end!

  18. Hi! Any chance I could substitute unsweetened applesauce for the vegetable oil? I often do that with other recipes.
    Thanks 🙂

  19. Hi I was just wondering if you have options of making this recipe gluten free? I absolutely LOVE this recipe but need to make a gluten free batch for a friend. Thank you!

  20. I made this today and it turned out perfect! This will be my to-go chocolate cupcake recipe from now on. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Has anyone tried making these ahead and freezing them without the icing?

    • They should freeze just fine – just let them cool completely after baking, them wrap well in freezer wrap and store in freezer in an airtight container. Thaw completely before frosting. Enjoy! Thanks Sara!

  22. My cupcakes came out DELICIOUS! Do you have a vanilla or yellow cake recipe!?

  23. Hi. Can I use cake flour instead of all purpose?
    Is there going to be a modification?

  24. Hi. What adjustments do i need to do if i will be making mini cupcakes?
    Thank you

  25. I’m curious why you bake them on 325 degrees? Typically, you’d bake at 350. I’m going to try them this weekend!

  26. The cupcakes taste great and I followed the recipe exactly! However, unfortunately the cupcakes didn’t rise! I was wondering I fyou could tell me what I could’ve done wrong. Other than that the cupcakes were amazing! Thanks

  27. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this recipe! I just made it tonight, along with another recipe and my husband and I loved this one so much more. It was fluffier, more moist, and the flavor was more intense and smooth! Definitely saved as my go-to now. Oh, and it was so much easier to make!!! Didn’t need a mixer at all!

    Rating: 5

  28. Delicious, rich and moist. I used boiled coffee instead of water for more coffee flavour even. As only my husband and I at home this is a nice small batch.

    Rating: 5

  29. These turned out amazing!! I used coconut oil (melted) and it worked perfectly. The boiling water keeps the coconut oil melted until baking.

  30. This reciepe is so tasty and easy to make!! Love this reciepe so much. Everyone says it is better than buying from stores. I recommand tp add some m&m’s to make it even tastier! Definately try this reciepe!!!

    Rating: 5
  31. Can I add cream filling?

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