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.
4.85 from 319 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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1002 Comments Leave a comment or review

  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!

    1. 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. 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?


    1. What size cupcakes does this reciepe make? I have a jumbo muffin pan that I would like to use to make big cupcakes for the holidays.


  3. 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.

    1. 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

  4. 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!

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

  6. 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? 

  7.  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!!

    1. 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!

  8. 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!

    1. 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

  9. 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!

  10. 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?

    1. 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

      1. What a wonderful recipe….my cupcakes turned out just perfect! Thanks for sharing the recipe👏👍👏

    1. 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!

  11. 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!

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

  13. 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!

    1. 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

    1. Hi Ginny!
      For these cupcakes, I just say in the recipe to use half of the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe. When you click the link to the frosting I have in the cupcake recipe, it will take you to the post for the full frosting recipe.
      Enjoy! xo

  14. I have used your recipe for about couple of years now, and yup I have stopped looking for any other recipe as well! This is just so moist and delicious and I always gets compliments. I love bringing them to work, and one time I got so busy didn’t get the chance to frost them before serving – and we had fun calling them naked cupcakes – or  frosting free cupcakes, but they are so good and delicious even by itself! 😘❤️

  15. I have to make a bunch of these for a party and I was wondering if there was any way they could be frozen before icing at all? I have a lot to do the day before and as easy as these are, I don’t want to be stressed and have them come out badly at the last minute!
    My family loves these and they are delicious with a cream cheese icing too!
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      You can certainly make these ahead and freeze. Let your cupcakes cool completely after baking. Wrap securely with freezer wrap or place in airtight freezer safe container and freeze. When ready to frost, allow to thaw in the refrigerator. Then frost and enjoy!

  16. Robyn, I made your cake today after thinking about cake for days. I scanned the internet and found your recipe. It is similar to another i had made years back , but this was better.
    I found that the texture had a good body and the flavor was nice and rich. But first, I noticed the deep rich color. I used sugar substitute by half which works well. I recommend this recipe. Thanks so much for making it available.

  17. Hi Robyn! We love your 2 tier chocolate cake recipe we have it written down in our notes and it’s amazing we LOVE the espresso powder it complements the chocolate flavor so nicely! I want to try your cupcake recipe but wanted to know if I can make mini cupcakes instead? That would be 1” cupcake liners I believe. Thank you!

    1. Hi Barbara,
      You can make mini cupcakes with this recipe. It will just take about half the time for them to cook so I would start checking them at about 8 minutes. I’m so glad your family loves the chocolate cake and hope you all love the cupcakes just as much. Thanks! xo

  18. I left a comment a month or so ago to say how much I loved the full cake version of this recipe. I just wanted to share that I make the cupcakes for a vegan friend today by using applesauce and oat milk and about a tsp of extra oil to replace the fat that would have been in the egg and the milk. The frosting was vegan spread, melted dairy-free dark chocolate, icing sugar and a splash of oat milk. For anyone wondering about trying it with both substitutions, it worked really well. Not quite as light as the non-vegan cupcakes but certainly a success. Thanks again!

  19. I just made this and it was AMAZING. Is there a cake recipe to this that will taste exactly like the cupcakes? Please send me the link.

  20. Sensational cupcakes Robyn, thank you! I made the cake version first and then these in preparation for a party. I was a bit hesitant it would work out with such liquid batter but stuck to the recipe and these cup cakes are the best ones I’ve made, so fluffy. Will let you know when I get to taste the cake version of this recipe. Many thanks for all your efforts and testing with various substitutes too.

  21. Hi Robyn, I’ve been using your cake recipe over and over again and it’s the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. I wanted to make chocolate cupcakes but wondered why the recipe is different to the cake one. Is there a reason the cake recipe wouldn’t work as well just poured into cupcake size?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Lily,
      I’m so happy you like the chocolate cake so much. The Best Chocolate Cupcakes recipe will make 12 cupcakes which is what most people were asking for instead of making the full cake recipe. Also, the preparation and baking times are different for the cupcakes and cake. Hope you enjoy the cupcakes, too. Thanks!

  22. As a beginner Baker, my darling friend your recipe with me. This made my day today!!! It turned out perfect. I literally like a pro Baker. Thank you so much! I have subscribed to your website… Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  23. I use this recipe most of the time however this time around i didn’t have veggie oil so i used olive oil. My recipe was super moist to the point where my cupcakes were ruined coming out of the tray and sunk in the middle. I also doubled the recipe this time around….

    1. I’m sorry you had problems with the cake, Sierra. I’m not sure what happened. I wonder if the olive oil was more heavy than the vegetable oil or if something happened with doubling the recipe. I haven’t made this with olive oil or doubled it. I just make each batch separately if I want to make 2 batches. Sorry I couldn’t be more help. Thanks!

  24. I love this recipe! I make this a few times a year, especially for bake sales and it is always a big hit! Also it’s a good way to keep a few for me 😉

    1. Mary, I just wanted to use a different frosting for that post. I often do use the same chocolate buttercream frosting as pictured with the cake recipe as well as many others on the cake and the cupcakes. Hope you enjoy!

  25. I didn’t have espresso powder so I used more cocoa powder instead. This recipe made 17 cupcakes. It could’ve made 18. It is a hit. My daughter told me they taste “like magic”. She doesn’t like cake or cupcakes. lol It will be my go-to recipe. Thank you.

  26. My son made these cupcakes (and the frosting that goes along with it) for the first time today and all I can say is: “WOW!” Great recipe!

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