For treats that are incredibly moist, fudgy, and delicious, this is your go-to recipe! Topped with smooth chocolate buttercream, these chocolate cupcakes are a classic dessert your friends and family will go crazy over.
Cupcakes are the perfect bite-sized way to please a crowd. Whenever I make some of my other favorites like strawberry, lemon, or angel food cupcakes, they are always eaten in a snap!
Easy and Delicious Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
Chocolate cupcakes are like little bits of heaven. That moment when you peel back the liner and sink your teeth into layers of frosting and moist cake! Chocolate cupcakes reign supreme over other flavors. There is something about a soft, moist cake packed with fudgy chocolate flavors in each bite. In this recipe, learn how to get the perfect chocolate cupcake base and top it with mouthwatering chocolate buttercream. The best part is, this recipe is super easy but will taste better than anything you can buy! Only 20 minutes of prep time are needed. This is the kind of dessert both beginners and seasoned bakers alike can enjoy with great results each time. You are going to love them!
The great thing about cupcakes is that you can easily customize each one with just a change of frosting, fillings, or toppings! Add some crushed cookies to your frosting for an Oreo cupcake! Top with chopped pecans and a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce for a turtle cupcake! No matter how you choose to eat them- as-is or customized to your liking, the end result will be irresistible! The best foundation, these amazing chocolate cupcakes will not let you down. They will be a favorite at every event they are served at. Let’s get baking!
Ingredients for Chocolate Cupcakes and Buttercream
No fancy ingredients are required here! All you have to do is pull a few staples out of your pantry to put these decadent, delicious chocolate cupcakes together! Check out the printable recipe card below for each individual measurement.
- Vegetable Oil: This is what is going to make your cake super moist! Additionally, it helps to bind all ingredients together. You can also use other great substitutes like olive or avocado oil. It might just alter the overall flavor slightly.
- Warm Coffee: I like to add coffee because it deepens the chocolate flavor. See more on this secret ingredient in my tips section below!
- Egg: Works as a binding agent and helps provide structure.
- Vanilla: Used to enhance and richen flavor. I like using pure vanilla extract for best results.
- All-Purpose Flour: Using all-purpose flour will keep your chocolate cupcakes light and fluffy!
- Granulated Sugar: For sweetness and to help ingredients meld together smoothly when baked.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Any brand will do, just avoid using Dutch process cocoa for this recipe.
- Baking Soda: Needed for light and airy cupcakes!
- Salt: Enhances overall flavor.
Recipes that don’t need a grocery trip are always the best. Just make sure that whatever ingredients you are using are fresh, as this will make the end result better!
- Butter: In this recipe, it is best to use unsalted butter that has been softened. Using butter that is cold and hard may keep you from getting the smoothest frosting possible.
- Powdered Sugar: Added for a tasty sweetness and smooth texture.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: For that rich, chocolate flavor we all love!
- Milk: Used to thin out your buttercream until it is smooth and pipeable. Add as needed.
- Vanilla Extract: Used to add a rich flavor to your frosting.
- Salt: For enhancing overall flavor.
How to Make the Best Cupcakes
It is easy to make impressive chocolate cupcakes at home. Just a few straightforward steps leave you with fudgy, chocolatey treats that you will not be able to get enough of! These are so tasty, I have to make sure to save some for myself, or else they are all gobbled up in an instant at my house.
- Preheat Oven and Prep Pan: To begin, preheat the oven to 325°. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
- Whisk Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl whisk together the vegetable oil, warm coffee, egg, and vanilla until combined.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl sift together the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently whisk together until fully combined.
- Fill Cupcake Liners: Next, scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan and only fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring bake when lightly pressed. Cool completely before frosting.
How to Make Chocolate Buttercream
- Mix Butter and Powdered Sugar: To start, beat the butter in the bowl of a mixer until fluffy. Then, add the powdered sugar and beat slowly until incorporated, increasing the speed to beat it more fully.
- Mix in Remaining Ingredients: Next, scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl and add the cocoa powder, milk, vanilla and salt. Mix on medium high until completely smooth and combined.
- Thin With Milk: If the frosting is too stiff, add more milk one tablespoon at a time until it is a pipeable consistency.
- Pipe: Lastly, pipe the frosting onto the tops of the cooled cupcakes and serve.
Tips for the Best Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate cupcakes are a staple and can be used in many variations and occasions. The good news is, they are surprisingly simple! Here are some tips to help you make successful, amazing cupcakes! From birthday parties to weddings, summer barbecues to the everyday sweet treat craving, these incredible chocolate cupcakes are sure to please.
- Use Room Temperature Ingredients: This is something that is often overlooked, but will change the end result of your cupcakes. Making sure wet ingredients like butter, eggs, and milk are at room temperature before use is super important for ending up with a light, fluffy cupcake. It also helps your batter to mix together smoothly.
- Don’t Overmix Batter: Only mix your cake batter until smooth. Overmix, and you run the risk of having dense, heavy cupcakes.
- Don’t Overfill Cupcake Liners: Only fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Any more full than that can result in the cupcakes spilling over and sticking to the pan.
- Choose The Right Cocoa Powder: These chocolate cupcakes need regular cocoa powder in order to activate the baking soda in the recipe. If you use Dutch process cocoa powder instead, the cupcakes won’t rise because Dutch process cocoa powder has been alkalized and won’t have the proper reaction with the baking soda.
- Allow to Cool Completely: Make sure your cupcakes are completely cool before frosting them or your buttercream will melt!
Variations for Chocolate Cupcakes
A few variations with these cupcakes can lead to more great ways to making chocolate cupcakes. Substitutions are not my favorite but if needed here are the two ways you can enhance your cupcakes easily. These homemade cupcakes are the best!
- Vegetable Oil: Using vegetable oil instead of butter in this recipe will give your cupcakes a more tender crumb and keep them very moist. If you’d like to substitute the oil for butter, you may, but know that the crumb will change the texture.
- Coffee: There won’t be any coffee flavor in your cupcakes, it just enhances the flavor of the chocolate and makes for a deeper, richer flavor. If you don’t want to use coffee you can substitute it for buttermilk or even hot water.
Can I Store Chocolate Cupcakes?
Yes! These chocolate cupcakes are great for making ahead of time or even for keeping in the freezer so you always have them on hand when a craving hits.
- At Room Temperature: Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or a large ziplock bag for up to a week.
- In the Refrigerator: Frosted cupcakes can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
- In the Freezer: Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. It’s best to put them in a ziplock bag inside an airtight container and bring to room temperature before frosting.
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup warm coffee
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder not Dutch process
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoon milk more as needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set it aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the vegetable oil, warm coffee, egg, and vanilla until combined.
- In a medium bowl sift together the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently whisk together until fully combined.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan and only fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring bake when lightly pressed. Cool completely before frosting.
- Beat the butter in the bowl of a mixer until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat slowly until incorporated, increasing the speed to beat it more fully.
- Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl and add the cocoa powder, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix on medium-high until completely smooth and combined. If the frosting is too stiff, add more milk one tablespoon at a time until it is a pipeable consistency.
- Pipe the frosting onto the tops of the cooled cupcakes and serve.