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?best-chocolate-cupcakes-DSC_1999

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.
4.84 from 311 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 325ΒΊ 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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950 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. I recognized the ziploc swirl right away! I do that all.the.time. You truly are a girl after my own heart, Robyn!

    Sooo, would you say that these little babies would be good for filling with some sort of whipped cream or filling? Or would the cake part not hold up very well with it? Maybe that would be overly sweet?

    1. You could certainly fill them with a bit of a light cream. They cupcake itself isn’t overly sweet and gets a lot of it’s sweetness from the frosting. So, as long as it was something light and not a ton of it, I bet it would do great.

      And yes, those zip top bag swirls are a consistent look around here! πŸ™‚

    1. I made these and they were a HUGE hit with my husband, youngest daughter and her boyfrind, 2 lucky coworkers and 2 close friends! 12 is perfect, no leftovers to be tempted. I took pictures and posted on Instagram ~ I tagged you! (hope you saw it)

  2. I made these tonight, they were wonderful! I didn’t have expresso powder, so I used a PINCH of french roast instant coffe that I powdered. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. It was the perfect portion for us. Only problem is I can’t stop eating them. πŸ™‚

  3. These look DIVINE! However, no one in my family likes the taste of coffee, esp in recipes, and we are all very sensitive to it. Would these be fine without the espresso powder? Might have to make them soon……Everything else is stuff I have on hand. My other question is about the cocoa. I only have dark chocolate cocoa on hand. I’m guessing I would need to add more sugar to compensate for the extra bitterness of the dark cocoa vs regular cocoa powder? About how much more do you think I would need?

  4. I just made 12 yummy cupcakes today and my hubby loved it πŸ™‚ I used Nescafe instead of espresso and finished with a sour cream frosting but it came out really good.. Thanks for sharing the recipe Robyn…It’s so easy and simple πŸ™‚

  5. I have already tried your chocolate cake for my dad’s birthday and it was a HUGE success, my mom who rarely eats dessert because of her constant dieting fell in love with this recipe! I plan to make it again this Friday for a bake sale to help feed the hungry at my school but I wanted to do it in cupcake form… to make the chocolate frosting instead of the vanilla, should I just split the recipe in half from the original cake, or is there a way to convert the amount of chocolate frosting from the cake to just enough for these yummy looking cupcakes?


    1. Hi Cecillia,
      I’m so glad your family loved the cake and frosting! I’ve not used the frosting on the cupcakes yet, but did just reduce it for my chocolate mint brownies ( and it worked perfectly. If you are only looking for a light frosting on the cupcakes, I’d go with that portion. If you need more than that, then I’d double the one used on the brownies. Good luck and do let me know how the cupcakes go over at the bake sale!

  6. These look fabulous! However, I’m making them for 24 kindergartners so I’m pretty sure I don’t want to use the espresso powder. Do you think they will still have the same’ish flavor???

  7. I taste tested your Best Chocolate Cake Ever for my son’s first birthday and LOVED it. I also wanted to make cupcakes so I am definitely going to use this recipe. I wanted to use your Vanilla Buttercream frosting recipe for the cake because I wanted to add color to it. Should i just add food coloring to your vanilla Buttercream recipe? or will it ruin it? I am also planning on piping the colored frosting on the cake to make it look like a furry monster. Will this frosting hold up? Thanks for the advice!

  8. Would love to try this recipe. Could you please tell me what half and half is. I live in Ireland and i think
    we call it something else.

    Thanking you in anticipation.


  9. Sunny greetings from Sri Lanka! Baked this last week and everyone loved them! my husband said they may be the best cupcakes he has ever had! πŸ™‚ thanks for the recipe… it’s his birthday next week so im going to try your chocolate cake recipe! Keep em’ coming

  10. I made the cupcakes for my grandsons and their mom and dad last week – they were gone the next day! Will try the cake for Easter dinner dessert. Thanks for the yummy ideas

  11. At first I was scared they werent going to come out well because the batter was very thin and they took a while to bake but they were divine! When they came out of the oven I poked holes in them with a toothpick and brushed vodka and kahlua on them liberally. I used the frosting recipe from ree drummond’s (the pioneer woman from food network) from her red velvet recipe and added kahlua to that instead of vanilla. I call these chocolate white Russian cupcakes. Thanks Robyn….I will definitely be making these again and again and again!!!!!!

  12. I changed the recipe slightly (adding a Cadbury egg) and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I am not a coffee fan, but that 1/2 tsp of espresso….DOES it. Best chocolate cupcake I’ve ever had!

  13. Your choc cupcake recipe is definitely a keeper. My rather finicky son took a bite and immediately gave his approval. “very moist”. The only thing i didnt do is make the vanilla buttercream as i wanted to use a choc-coconut frosting πŸ™‚ Even with the frosting on, the wonderfully rich cupcakes were not sickeningly sweet.
    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  14. Thank you for the recipe, it will definitely be one of this households favourites!
    My finacΓ¨ said they reminded him of his favourite cake when he grew up, called “crazy cake” that his grandmother made 30 ++ years ago. Flashback from the past – from a little cupcake πŸ™‚ He has already made his birthday cake-order: 12 of these litlle babies – all to himself …

  15. Baked these for a friend’s bday, they were a big hit- moist and delicious! Thanks for the recipe, first time I’ve ever had a cupcake recipe deliver the exact number expected, and icing ratio work out perfectly with very little go to waste!

  16. It is almost final exam here for me as a grad student. So, I do need something sweet. This is absolutely delicious and a perfect chocolate cupcake I have ever made. Amazing recipe…

    Thanks for sharing this to us…

  17. BEST. EVER. I never need more than 12 cupcakes. I had a hard time finding the espresso powder and had to do a Google search in the coffee aisle at Kroger. Mine needed much longer in the oven as well, I think almost 22 minutes. Everyone loved these and they didn’t taste like coffee, just strong chocolate and delicious frosting. Making them again this weekend, thank you so much!

  18. This is the most delicious recipe! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Thank you so much for posting it!
    The only modification needed was the cooking time. Mine required 19 minutes in the oven…but they were to die for!!!

  19. Just pulled these out of the oven and they look and smell fantastic. Mine took about 19 minutes as well. My 12 year old is having 6 friends over for a sleepover tomorrow night and these are part of the menu. Will they see midnight? (The cupcakes, not the girls!) I don’t believe they will.

  20. I made these today in my oven on “luft” and they took about 14 minutes. I got a sugar rush from the buttercream while trying to frost them. Then I just had to taste one and it was so delicious! I really love this recipe and hope the 11 year old birthday boy will love them too.

    Thank you very much for the recipe.

  21. i was going to double the recipe and just add 1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee roast. Is this okay since you would then need 1 teaspoon of expresso powder.

  22. Hi,
    Your site is amazing. I tried those cupcakes and they turned out so delicious!!! it was a great success!!!
    I wonder if u can share an amazing recipe of unforgettable vanilla cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream.
    I would really appreciate it!
    Best Wishes πŸ™‚

  23. It’s sooo yummy! all moist and fluffy! this were my first cupcakes from scratch and I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous because the batter seem too liquid and started to asking myself if I had done things right but they came out perfect at the end :D. Thanks for the recipe and sorry for my english.
    Greetings from MΓ©xico πŸ™‚

  24. Amazing!! They are light and very fluffy, with an irresistible glaze. I thought I would make the frosting as well, since plain chocolate cupcakes are obviously boring, but I could eat them minus any accolades. The frosting is waiting patiently but I don’t know if I will be! Thanks for the great recipe!

  25. Just made these and I’m usually known for my dry cakes >_< BUT these were super moist! They are delicious. I estimated the buttercream so it ended up very vannila-y but that's fine with me!

    Thanks so much!
    Mojo x,

  26. I just pulled the cupcakes out of the oven and they look delightful! They took about 18 min for my oven and puffed up very nicely πŸ™‚ I am making them for my brother in law’s birthday tomorrow. I plan on filling them with a sweetened whipped cream filling and since I’m not a huge buttercream fan, I’m topping them with “Sturdy Whipped Cream Frosting” ( I’ll update you and let you know how they turn out! Thanks for the recipe!

  27. This was delicious! The cake is moist and rich, but not too sweet. I actually tried it with cream cheese frosting and it’s a tasty combination. ! I was originally worried that the mixture was too runny when I put it in the oven but it turned out perfectly. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  28. These are really quite scrumptious. Thanks! I used heavy cream instead of milk because all I had was that or skim, and I didn’t put in any espresso either. Buttercream frosting hasn’t ever been my favorite either, so I’m going to do a chocolate cream cheese one instead. Thanks for sharing the cake love!

  29. Hey Robyn! I love this recipe, but I don’t have everything for it because I moved out of the country! And I’m dieing to make these Chocolate Cupcake With Vanilla Buttercream Frosting so bad! And i need your help so so much! Can you please give me some easy substitutes for these things that i dont have? These are the things that I don’t have for the recipe :

    1. Baking Soda

    2. Espresso Powder

    3. Half-And-Half

    Thank Yiu so much!! And p,ease give me some great and easy substitutes for these things!

  30. Wow. Super delicious, excellent crumb, very easy. I love that that cake part is not too sweet. Perfect with the buttercream. I quadrupled the recipe and took them to a bridal shower. Turned out great. Everyone loved them! Thanks.

  31. I have this in the oven right now & can’t wait to taste them! πŸ™‚

    Question: While I was waiting for my water to boil, I started licking the batter. It tastes like a very thick, rich brownie. If I’m PMSing, can I just skip the water step & make brownies out of these?

  32. This was a super easy recipe that was really delicious. I substituted the espresso for 1/2 tsp of cinamon and 1/2 tspn of chili powder – very nice!!

    I also ran out of icing sugar partway through – so used the full amount of butter, but only 1.5 cups of sugar with the full amount of vanilla – also very good!


  33. Made these for my boyfriend tonight and we both loved them! I really didn’t think I would love them because I’ve never really been a cupcake fan but they were incredible! They were so moist and the chocolate flavor from the cocoa was perfect. The buttercream frosting was perfectly sweet and matched the cupcake so well! Thanks so much for the inspiration! I will make these again!

  34. I’ve made these twice now, and they are the best cupcakes ever!!! This recipe is so much better than the recipe I used for years. The only change I made was to add vanilla bean to the frosting, which I highly recommend. One mistake I made this time was that I overfilled the cups a bit. The cupcakes are just as delicious, but not as cute as the first time. πŸ™‚

  35. Hello, I’m interested in making these cupcakes, but I’ve only got unsweetened chocolate bars on hand, and I’m not exactly keen on buying a whole tub of cocoa powder just for one recipe (I’m not really allowed to bake, and these cupcakes are for a special occasion), so I was wondering if just melting the chocolate and mixing it in with the boling water would be alright? And if I use unsweetened chocolate, would I have to adjust the sugar levels, and if so, by how much?
    Thanks for replying! (:

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