Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

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This chocolate cupcake recipe is easy to make from scratch with simple ingredients. They are the best, moist chocolate cupcakes with a rich chocolate flavor and perfect texture. Topped with our favorite chocolate buttercream frosting, these chocolate cupcakes are the perfect way to celebrate any special occasion. 

front view of chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting


Once you try these from-scratch chocolate cupcakes, you’ll never reach for a boxed mix again! Topped with our favorite chocolate buttercream frosting, these chocolate cupcakes are the perfect way to celebrate any special occasion. 

Adapted from our recipe for the best chocolate cake, these are the best, moist chocolate cupcakes with a rich chocolate flavor and perfect texture. Made with simple ingredients, they come together in no time and are seriously the best chocolate cupcakes you’ll ever eat. 

up close front view of a chocolate cupcake cut in half with chocolate frosting

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe: Ingredients & Substitutions

As always, we’ll discuss the ingredients in these chocolate cupcakes and some possible substitutions – although I don’t really recommend tampering with this recipe. 

  • All-purpose flour. Cake flour or bread flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour. I have not tried all-purpose gluten-free flour so if you do report back and let me know how it goes. 
  • Granulated sugar. There really isn’t a substitute for the sugar. I suggest regular white sugar or organic cane sugar for the best results. 
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder. Choose your favorite variety. For extra-dark chocolate cupcakes use dark cocoa powder. 
  • Espresso powder. always have espresso powder on hand to make chocolate desserts (like this chocolate cake, chocolate zucchini cake, etc.). It’s definitely worth purchasing if you love baking. You can substitute instant coffee if you must. 
  • Canola oil. Oil keeps these chocolate cupcakes very moist. You can substitute equal amounts of melted butter or another neutral oil if desired, however canola oil yields the best results. 
  • Sour cream. Full-fat, plain Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream. I recommend using full-fat ingredients.
  • Whole milk. Again, I am an advocate for using full-fat whole milk in this chocolate cake recipe. You could substitute 2% milk but nothing with a lower fat content. 
  • Vanilla extract. You can switch up the extract and use almond, peppermint, orange, etc. if you prefer flavored chocolate cupcakes.
  • Mini chocolate chips. These are a must. Regular-sized chocolate chips sink to the bottom of the cupcakes while baking. Be sure to use mini chips for the best results. 
overhead view of the ingredients in this chocolate cupcake recipe

How to make Chocolate Cupcakes 

As always, we’ll walk through how to make chocolate cupcakes step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video. This chocolate cupcake recipe is so simple to make! 

Combine Dry Ingredients

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt and espresso powder. Set aside to use later. This step is important to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed and that there are no lumps. 

two overhead photos showing How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Combine wet ingredients

Next, combine the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together canola oil, eggs, sour cream, milk and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.

Add dry ingredient mixture

Once the wet ingredients are combined, add the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.  

two overhead photos showing How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Add mini chocolate chips

Stir in the mini chocolate chip until evenly distributed.

two overhead photos showing How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Bake

Next, use a ¼ cup measuring cup to fill each cupcake liner with ¼ cup of batter. Then bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes, or until the tops are set and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean or with a few crumbs.

two photos showing How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Cool

Place the cupcake pan on a wire cooling rack to cool to room temperature (takes about 30 minutes). Once cooled, lift cupcakes in their liners out of the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

front view of 6 chocolate cupcakes cooling on a wire cooling rack

Frost

When the chocolate cupcakes are cooled, frost them with this chocolate buttercream frosting or homemade vanilla frosting  I use the following tools to decorate cupcakes:

front photo showing frosting being piped onto a chocolate cupcake

Store

Store these chocolate cupcakes at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Serve at room temperature. 

Freeze

It’s really easy to bake a batch of chocolate cupcakes and freeze them. Simply follow the recipe and let them cool completely. Then transfer the unfrosted cupcakes to an airtight container and freeze until you’re ready to frost and serve. 

If you like these chocolate cupcakes, you will love these recipes: 

front view of a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting with the wrapper unwrapped

FAQs about chocolate cupcakes

Can you double this Chocolate Cupcake recipe? 

Yes! You can easily double (or triple) this chocolate cupcake recipe. This is a great option if you want to make enough homemade chocolate cupcakes for a large crowd. 

How do you keep cupcakes moist?

Make sure to store them in an airtight container at room temperature or in the freezer. Often times putting them in the refrigerator will dry them out.

front photo of a chocolate cupcake with a bite taken out of it on a plate

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Best Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Laura
This chocolate cupcake recipe is easy to make from scratch with simple ingredients. They are the best, moist chocolate cupcakes with a rich chocolate flavor and perfect texture.
5 from 6 votes
Course brunch, cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Cupcakes
Calories 219
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a standard muffin tin with 12 cups and lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt and espresso powder. Set aside
  • In a large bowl, whisk together canola oil, eggs, sour cream, milk and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until combined.
  • Add mini chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed.
  • Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to fill each cupcake liner with ¼ cup of batter.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes, or until the tops are set and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
  • Place cupcake pan on a wire cooling rack to cool to room temperature (takes about 30 minutes).
  • Once cool, lift cupcakes in their liners out of the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once cool, frost with chocolate frosting and serve.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions

  • All-purpose flour. Cake flour or bread flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour. 
  • Granulated sugar. I suggest using regular white sugar or organic cane sugar for the best results. 
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder. Choose your favorite variety. For extra-dark chocolate cupcakes use dark cocoa powder. 
  • Espresso powder. always have espresso powder on hand to make chocolate desserts. It’s definitely worth purchasing if you love baking. You can substitute instant coffee if you must. 
  • Canola oil. Oil keeps these chocolate cupcakes very moist. You can substitute equal amounts of melted butter or another neutral oil if desired, however canola oil yields the best results. 
  • Sour cream. Full-fat, plain Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream. I recommend using full-fat ingredients.
  • Whole milk. Again, I am an advocate for using full-fat whole milk in this chocolate cake recipe. You could substitute 2% milk but nothing with a lower fat content. 
  • Vanilla extract. You can switch up the extract and use almond, peppermint, orange, etc. if you prefer flavored chocolate cupcakes.
  • Mini chocolate chips. These are a must. Regular-sized chocolate chips sink to the bottom of the cupcakes while baking. Be sure to use mini chips for the best results. 

Frosting

Frost these cupcakes with this chocolate buttercream frosting or homemade vanilla frosting  I use the following tools to decorate cupcakes:

To Store:

Store these chocolate cupcakes at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Serve at room temperature. 

Freeze

It’s really easy to bake a batch of chocolate cupcakes and freeze them. Simply follow the recipe and let them cool completely. Then transfer the unfrosted cupcakes to an airtight container and freeze until you’re ready to frost and serve. 

To double the recipe:

You can easily double (or triple) this recipe. This is a great option if you want to make enough homemade chocolate cupcakes for a large crowd. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 90mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 124IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe makes a tender, delicious cupcake, probably the best i’ve ever had! And, i’ve been searching for cupcake/cake recipes and baking for a long time! Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    These are the best cupcakes. They are so delicious. Made these for my sons birthday. My son said he wants these cupcakes every year

  3. 5 stars
    AMAZING chocolate cupcake recipe! It was outstandingly moist and had just the right amount of chocolate in it. I made these for my son’s birthday along with your chocolate buttercream frosting, and he wanted more and more!
    Great recipe, I love your food blog!

  4. 5 stars
    I made them but without the cream on the top cause i wanted them more like muffins, eventhough they are soooooo delicious AND moist 💕 I baked 16 muffins AND my husband & I ate them all througout a whole week and they remain fresh, moist AND delicious outside the fridge. I’m starting to cook since the quarantine AND i think your recipes aré awesome!!