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.

Yield: 12

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Total Time 30 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Get this easy recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.
4.83 from 251 votes
Did you make this recipe?


  • 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


  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 1/2 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.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch


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


776 comments on “Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe”

  1. Can you make mini cupcakes out of this recipe? Any changes need to be made?

  2. I’ve been looking for a great chocolate cupcake recipe for years. So glad I found this one. I topped them with ganache and then decorated with fondant. A big hit, moist and chocolatey.

  3. Can I use buttermilk?

  4. This has been a hit time and time again since I first stumbled upon this recipe about 3 years ago. Thank you for being so brilliant! Always amazing, even a day or two after (on the rare occasion they last that long!).

  5. hi would duched processed powder really work?
    because it uses both baking powder and baking soda
    so if using the wrong cocoa has bad effects on the cupcakes
    do you think it will work

  6. Hello! I have the “cake” version in my oven right now and I was checking out the adjustments you made for cupcakes. Just curious, I noticed that most of the ingredients are half that of the cake recipe except the cocoa powder (and other minor things). I wondered if you found that adding more cocoa powder was a hit and if I should even consider adding more cocoa powder to the cake next time! Thanks!

    • I was also curious about why some ingredients were halved and a few had another ratio applied to them. I would love to know the answer!

  7. This is officially my go to chocolate cake recipe! I’m not a huge chocolate cake fan but the cupcakes I made were sooo yummy I had to eat two of them. Two thumbs way way up. 

  8. I made these the day before yesterday and I seriously have to say they are the best chocolate cupcake I have ever eaten! I put cream cheese frosting on them instead of the buttercream and that with the fudgy chocolate e cupcake was absolutely delicious! I followed the directions of whipping both of frosting and the cupcake recipe on high for one minute after everything was mixed and it made everything so fluffy! I won’t use another recipe again for chocolate cupcakes!

  9. I am thinking of baking these for a party, is the espresso strong? and, can you bake them without?

  10. Hi Robyn,

    The cupcakes always turn out wonderful and has become a huge hit with my family and friends.

    The only problem I have is with the liners pulling away from the cupcakes. I don’t see this happen with the other cupcakes that I bake. I am planning to bake this for a birthday party and wondering Is there a way to prevent the liners from peeling away?

  11. Hi Robyn,
    I am a culinary student and my favorite thing to do is bake. I had an idea to make a salted caramel chocolate cupcake and needed a base chocolate cupcake recipe. This is it. I love how moist this cupcake is and when paired with bacon and caramel? So good. Thank you so much! Xo

  12. This is my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe! It’s fantastic!

  13. This is my go to cupcake recipe, it never fails and everyone loves it!!!

  14. This is my secret cupcake recipe website.  We’ve been making these cupcakes and chocolate cake for years and it’s an amazing recipe.  People who try them think I’ve turned into some sort of baking professional.  

    Any ideas for hot/humid weather and the buttercream icing?  I’ve read shortening is better than butter for cakes sitting in the heat but I don’t want to impact the taste.


    • I’m so glad you enjoy the cupcakes and cake Kyle!
      I’ve not tried changing the frosting recipe for the heat (and mercy has it been hot down south!) so I can’t say, but I am sure it would change the flavor. I hope this helps!
      Thanks so much Kyle!

  15. Love this recipe and so does my fam, but I was hoping to triple or quadruple it. Has anyone tried that and had it turn out well? Or should I stick to two double batches. 

  16. Instead of cocoa powder, can it be substituted with baking chocolate bar? 

  17. Is the espresso powder mandatory?

  18. Can this recipe be made egg free? If so would there be a substitute ingredient?

  19. Our family’s favourite cupcake recipe!!

Leave a Reply

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