This chocolate cupcake recipe is packed with chocolate flavor. Moist dark chocolate cupcakes swirled with chocolate buttercream frosting. So simple and so delicious!
Ingredients for Chocolate Cupcakes
- Chocolate chips – Use semisweet or dark chocolate chips for a deep chocolate flavor.
- Dark cocoa powder – You can also use regular unsweetened cocoa powder, but I love using dark cocoa powder for a deep chocolate flavor and color.
- Water – Hot water helps melt the chocolate and hydrates the cocoa powder.
- All-purpose flour – Be sure to measure the flour correctly and level the measuring cups.
- Granulated sugar – For sweetness.
- Baking soda – A leavening agent to help the cupcakes rise.
- Salt – Enhances the flavor of the cupcakes and contrasts the sweetness.
- Vegetable oil – You can also use canola oil or another neutral baking oil.
- Eggs – Room temperature to create the perfect texture.
- Vanilla extract – Believe it or not, a bit of vanilla extract enhances the flavor of the chocolate.
Chocolate buttercream frosting
- Unsalted butter – Room temperature. You can also use salted butter and omit additional salt.
- Powdered sugar – No need to sift unless the powdered sugar is lumpy.
- Dark cocoa powder – As above, dark cocoa powder gives the buttercream an intense chocolate flavor.
- Vanilla extract – Vanilla extract adds great flavor to the buttercream frosting.
- Salt – A pinch of salt contrasts the sweetness of the buttercream.
- Heavy cream – Heavy cream lightens the buttercream, making it smooth, light, and fluffy.
How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F & line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Combine chocolate chips, dark cocoa powder, and boiling water. Allow to stand for a few minutes. Mix until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Add melted chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Add in vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine but do not overmix.
- Portion the cupcake batter into cupcake liners using a large cookie scoop, about 3/4 full.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the cupcakes bounce back when gently touched or an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes in the cupcake pan for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
How to Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Whip the butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and mix on low. Then add the remaining powdered sugar and continue to mix on low speed.
- Add vanilla extract and salt. Then add dark cocoa powder and mix on low speed until combined.
- Drizzle in heavy cream.
- Turn the mixer to medium-high and whip for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Switch to a paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 2-3 minutes to remove air bubbles for a smooth buttercream.
Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe Tips
Bake perfect cupcakes
Check out my baking tips blog post on 10 Tips for Baking Perfect Cupcakes to learn some simple tips and tricks to bake the best chocolate cupcakes.
Boil water in the microwave
Use a heat-safe liquid measuring cup to microwave the water. It will typically start to boil in 1 1/2 minutes. Pour the chocolate chips and cocoa powder directly into the measuring cup with the boiling water.
Portioning the cupcake batter
I typically use a large cookie scoop to portion the batter into cupcake liners. The batter for these cupcakes is very thin so you can also pour the batter into the cupcake liners using a bowl with a spout or a liquid measuring cup.
Decorating the cupcakes
Storing and serving
Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To serve, bring the cupcakes to room temperature. I recommend removing the cupcakes from the refrigerator about an hour before serving.
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- ¼ cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup dark cocoa powder
- ¾ cup boiling water
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners.
- In a small bowl or a glass liquid measuring cup, stir together chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and boiling water until the cocoa powder is dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
- Add vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk until combined and smooth.
- Use a large cookie scoop to portion the cupcake batter into the cupcake liners, approximately ¾ full.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes bounce back slightly when touched.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add in room temperature butter. Whip the butter for 5 minutes on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides occasionally.
- Add the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed setting until fully combined.
- Add in dark cocoa powder and continue to mix on low until combined.
- Add in vanilla extract and salt. Drizzle in heavy cream.
- Turn the mixer on high and whip for an additional 2-3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure the frosting is well mixed.
- Use a piping bag fitted with a piping tip (my favorite is Wilton 1M tip) to pipe buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes.