BEST Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

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These Chocolate Cupcakes with delicious rich chocolate buttercream frosting are a fabulous dessert, special occasion treat, or birthday surprise. Made with simple pantry ingredients, you will fall in love with this recipe. Based on my Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe and topped with my Chocolate Frosting.

group of chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes | They Never Get Old!

I have been testing and testing chocolate cake recipes like there was no tomorrow several weeks ago (much to my chocoholic husband’s delight) and I’m so happy to report that I’ve got a perfect Classic Chocolate Cupcake recipe that is epically delicious that truly will never get old. There really is nothing better than perfectly moist and soft chocolate cake with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting. While I usually prefer a vanilla, red velvet or even an Italian Cream Cake (hello pecans and coconut!), I will never turn down chocolate, especially if it’s this recipe. I hope you love it as much as we have come to love it!

chocolate cupcakes on white counter

Main Ingredients Needed

Just like my chocolate cake recipe, you’re going to see a lot of the same ingredients here. Lots of pantry staples you should have on hand.

For the Cupcakes:

  • Flour + Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder – flour fills out the cake and the cocoa gives us that clean chocolate flavor.
  • Baking Powder + Baking Soda – both are used for the optimal amount of raise.
  • Salt – to balance out the sweet and bring out that chocolate flavor.
  • Buttermilk – this helps keep the cake moist. If you don’t have buttermilk use milk and white vinegar (1 1/2 cups of milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar).
  • Vanilla – for flavor.
  • Instant Coffee Granules– this is an optional ingredient, but a little certainly goes a long way! I recommend adding 1 teaspoon to your batter. You can’t taste coffee in the finished cake, but absolutely helps in getting that rich, chocolate flavor. I used Folgers Instant Coffee Crystals and they worked perfectly.
  • Vegetable Oil – used for moisture
  • Sugar – to sweeten.
  • Eggs + Egg Whites – used for structure and texture. The egg white addition helps keep the cake light.
cupcakes on white plate

For the Chocolate Buttercream:

  • Softened Butter– I like using salted butter, but that’s just my preference. The salt makes such a difference, especially in frosting.
  • Powdered Sugar– to make our frosting sweet.
  • Cocoa Powder– just use dutch processed, just like for the chocolate cupcake batter
  • Salt– yes, I add a touch more salt to my frosting to really bring out that chocolate flavor
  • Vanilla Extract– a nice compliment to the cocoa and helps bring out the chocolate flavors.
  • Heavy Cream– used to bring this frosting together. If substituting milk, be sure to cut this amount in half first before adding all at once.
bite taken out of chocolate cupcake

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

This is a super simple method to make these chocolate cupcakes! Prep all your ingredients and then stir them together. Pour them into their cupcake liners and bake!

Prep

Preheat oven. Line 32 muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.

Make the Batter

In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together to combine. Set aside. In a liquid measuring cup, stir buttermilk, vanilla and instant coffee granules (if using) together. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, mix oil and sugar together until combined. Mix in eggs and egg white, one at a time, until mixture becomes lighter in color, about 90 seconds.

Alternate adding in flour mixture with milk mixture, being sure to start and end with flour. Scrape the sides and mix again to ensure a smooth batter.

Bake and Cool

Using an ice cream scoop, fill tins 1/2-2/3rds of the way full with batter.

Bake in the lower 2/3rds of the oven. Cupcakes will be done when a toothpick comes out clean or mostly clean with a few moist crumbs. Cool a couple of minutes in pans before trying to remove and transfer to cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting.

group of chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting

Frost Cupcakes

While in the recipe card I have a simple chocolate buttercream recipe listed, feel free to use a regular vanilla buttercream, cream cheese frosting, or try something different like my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Frosting (yes, its a thing!) Or maybe even my new Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting!

Keep in mind that you use less frosting if you just spread it on using a knife and you will use more if you pipe it on. I just did a thin-ish layer per cupcake and added chocolate shavings over top as a garnish. Totally optional, but makes a delicious statement. Of course, sprinkles work, too!

More Amazing Cupcake Recipes to Try!

Check out all of my other cupcake recipes while you’re at it!

So there you have it! A super simple (and delicious!) way to make chocolate cupcakes. Try these this week and share with friends and neighbors. You never need a reason to make cupcakes 🙂

Have a great day, friends!

BEST Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

These Chocolate Cupcakes with delicious rich chocolate buttercream frosting are a fabulous dessert, special occasion treat or birthday surprise. Made with simple pantry ingredients, you will fall in love with this recipe.
servings 32 cupcakes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cupcakes:

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream* or more, as needed (see notes about substituting milk below)

Instructions

For the Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 32 muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together to combine. Set aside. In a liquid measuring cup, stir buttermilk, vanilla and instant coffee granules (if using) together. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, mix oil and sugar together until combined. Mix in eggs and egg white, one at a time, until mixture becomes lighter in color, about 90 seconds.
  • Alternate adding in flour mixture with milk mixture, being sure to start and end with flour. Scrape the sides and mix again to ensure a smooth batter.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, fill tins 1/2-2/3rds of the way full with batter.
    Bake 15-22 minutes in the lower 2/3rds of the oven. Cupcakes will be done when a toothpick comes out clean or mostly clean with a few moist crumbs. Cool 5-10 minutes in pans before trying to remove and transfer to cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting.

For the Chocolate Frosting:

  • In a large bowl, measure and add butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, salt and vanilla. Stir with beaters on low (or paddle attachment on stand mixer) to mix and break up the butter. It will still be very powdery and dry. Slowly add in the heavy cream. Once you notice the frosting start to come together stop adding the cream. You may need to add more than the amount listed. This is also normal. Increase mixer speed to medium to get rid of any lumps and create a smooth frosting. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl and mix again to ensure a completely smooth frosting.
  • Chocolate frosting will be done when it can hold its shape, but you can easily move a butter knife through it. If its too thick, add more cream and mix. If you've added too much cream and the frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar. If you notice there are a lot of air bubbles in your frosting, use a large wooden spoon to beat a lot of the air out of the frosting by hand.

Notes

*You can substitute milk for heavy cream in the buttercream recipe. Start with half the amount and slowly add more in as needed until it reaches the desired consistency.

Nutrition

Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 177mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 247IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate cupcake recipe, chocolate cupcakes

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28 Responses
  1. Julie @ Table for Two

    i could just eat the screen..all that chocolate looks so good! i would love death by chocolate 🙂 hope you had a great birthday, lauren!

  2. Lauren @ hey, who cut the cheese?

    These look amazing!! If I were baking these, I’m not so sure that all of that batter would make it into the pan =)

  3. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)

    A donut pan came in my stocking this year, so I am making your red velvet donuts for my dinner party tomorrow evening!!!! Can’t wait!!

  4. Gina

    What a beauty of a cupcake! I want one of those now! Too bad, I’m nowhere near where you are, haha. At least I have the recipe though:) Happy Birthday Lauren!

  5. Kathryn

    Happy birthday cupcakes!! They look awesomely delicious and cocoa powder with chunks of chocolate?! I’ve got to get me some of that!

  6. Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    I feel like winter makes it extra hard for food bloggers. There are basically 2 hours each day I can take photos IF the sun is out! Regardless, those cupcakes look amazing and beautiful!

  7. Marina {YummyMummyKitchen.com}

    Oh my, that looks like the best chocolate cupcake ever. And what’s better than a chocolate cupcake?! Happy New Year!

  8. Anna @ hiddenponies

    Yum, and happy belated birthday!! I hope you guys are settling in well – I totally get the all-day dreariness-of-rain lighting, I have the same problem 🙂

  9. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    Happy Belated Birthday Lauren! I love that you persevered in the face of obstacles to get your chocolate fix, sounds like something I would do. lol

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