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Chocolate Cupcakes

These chocolate cupcakes are everything you want in a perfect cupcake. This is my best recipe for rich and indulgent chocolate cupcakes ready to be topped with a buttercream frosting swirl.

Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

  • Classic. Everyone needs a perfect chocolate cupcakes recipe so they can whip up a batch whenever the urge strikes. I mean, if that’s not a necessary life skill, I don’t know what is.
  • Easy. Simple ingredients, a few basic techniques (mixing batter) and 30 minutes. That’s all you need.
  • So yummy. These cupcakes are rich, chocolatey and totally indulgent. Top them with decadent swirl of chocolate frosting to satisfy even the most ravenous chocoholics.

Want to Bake These Into a Cake?

This recipe can easily translate to a chocolate cake as well. To make this a layer cake instead, use two 9″ baking pans or three 8″ pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.

The ingredients for dark chocolate cupcakes: cocoa powder, milk, sugar, flour, eggs, vegetable oil, next to cupcake liners.

What You’ll Need

Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need to make this chocolate cupcakes recipe. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for a printable ingredient list.

  • Cocoa Powder: I use Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa for this recipe, but you can use any regular cocoa powder you prefer.
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Buttermilk: The combination of dark chocolate cocoa powder and buttermilk take these cupcakes to new heights when it comes to moisture and flavor! If you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute 1 cup of plain yogurt, or 1 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar added to a cup of milk.
  • Vegetable Oil: Or an alternative cooking oil like Canola Oil.
  • Vanilla
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Baking Soda & Baking Powder
  • Eggs
  • Salt
    Unfrosted dark chocolate cupcakes in pink cupcake liners.

How to Make the Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The ultimate chocolate cupcake is only a few short steps away! Follow these easy directions for super yummy and moist dark chocolate cupcakes.

  • Combine the dry ingredients: Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder, then add in the sugar and salt.
  • Add wet ingredients: Mix in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla, water, vegetable oil and buttermilk, continuing to mix until everything is combined.
  • Bake: Pour the batter into liners set in a prepared muffin pan, about 2/3 full, then bake in a 350°F oven until the cupcakes have set. Once the cupcakes are out of the oven, remove them from the pan immediately and leave them on a wire rack to cool.
  • Frost: Make sure the cupcakes have cooled completely before you frost them with your favorite buttercream recipe. Try out my piping technique in the tips section, and see my favorite frosting variations below!
    Chocolate cupcakes topped with dark chocolate buttercream frosting swirls.

What Kind of Frosting To Use

Here are my favorite frostings to pair with chocolate cupcakes:

Frosting Tips

Pro Tip: Use a disposable piping bag and a tip to give your cupcakes a gorgeous piped frosting swirl. Here’s how you can achieve perfectly swirled buttercream: 

  • Snip off the end of the bag and fit the piping tip tightly in the opening (I use a Wilton 1M tip for a more than decent swirl!). 
  • Fill the piping bag about 3/4 full with frosting, then twist the bag until the frosting pokes out of the tip. 
  • For a traditional swirl, start piping from the outside of the cupcake and work in a circle inwards. You can also pipe a “rose swirl” by starting from the inside and working outwards. Tada! Picture perfect swirled cupcakes, every time.

Decorating Ideas

Pair your freshly frosted cupcakes with some of these fun and easy cupcake topping combinations:

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter: Smooth peanut butter and chocolate chips.
  • Sweet & Salty: Crushed pretzels and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
  • Cookies n’ Cream: Crumbled Oreo cookies.
  • Rocky Road: Crushed peanuts, mini marshmallows, a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
  • Coconut: Toasted shredded coconut, or fresh shaved coconut.
  • Citrus: Candied lemon pieces and lemon zest.
  • S’mores: Crushed Graham crackers, chocolate pieces, mini marshmallows.
  • Candies: Or you can go totally classic and use candy hearts or sprinkles.
Chocolate cupcakes frosted with a rich and decadent chocolate fudge buttercream frosting, topped with sprinkles.

How to Store

Cupcakes are always best when enjoyed the day they’re baked. However these will keep fresh at room temperature for up to 2 days.  Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before placing them in an airtight container for storage. Resist putting cupcakes in the refrigerator, as this will dry them out!

Can I Freeze Cupcakes?

You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to 3 months! Wrap each cupcake in saran wrap, then place them in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Thaw on the counter for a few hours before topping with frosting.

More Cupcake Recipes

If you love this classic recipe for easy chocolate cupcakes, you’ll also love My Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes, plus these other delicious and easy cupcake ideas:

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Chocolate cupcakes frosted with a rich and decadent chocolate fudge buttercream frosting, topped with sprinkles.

Chocolate Cupcakes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 36 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


The best ever chocolate cupcake recipe! Rich and indulgent dark chocolate cake, ready to be topped with a decadent swirl of your favorite buttercream frosting.


  • 1 1/2 cups Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder (you can also use regular cocoa powder)
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  3. In your stand mixer sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder together. Add in the sugar and salt.
  4. With your mixer on low speed add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla, water, vegetable oil and buttermilk.
  5. Mix on medium for 2 minutes until combined.
  6. Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes until set.
  7. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.


Makes approximately 36 cupcakes.

I prefer the dark chocolate cocoa powder as it gives a deeper chocolate flavor; you can certainly use regular or Dutch processed cocoa powder!

If you would like to make this recipe into a layer cake: Use two round 9″ baking pans or three round 8″ pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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138 comments on “Chocolate Cupcakes”

  1. I absolutely love this chocolate frosting! I’d love to feature it in a Favorite Recipe Roundup that I’m doing for my own blog, Bakes and Blunders ( Please let me know if that’s okay by Jan 21 so that I have enough time to finish the post. Thanks!

  2. Hi love your cupcakes and fudge frosting
    I will be trying it soon .my only concern is that i dont like the taste of soda so can i replace it totally or partially with baking powder

    1. I am replying on my own post ,well i increased bp to 3 tsp and reduced baking soda to 2 tsp rest followed the same recipe and guess what i have to admit that it is the best chocolate cake recipe that i have tried till now .
      Frosting is super easy and delicious
      Thanks for such a nice recipe

  3. Hey thanks for sharing this… can i tell you how much i love this? My wife and i tried this and it was the most delicious thing we’ve ever ate

  4. I made this, and the cake and frosting are delicious! Two things: the cake is very tender and did not rise very much. I might increase the BP or flour or decrease the liquid a bit. It made 30 cupcakes with an additional pyrex bowl of cake. The cups that were filled a little too much flowed over the edge. I live in Minnesota so it isn’t an altitude issue. The frosting is great but very firm when refrigerated. I would prefer it a little softer-maybe more butter? Maybe have it a room temp for eating. Anyway, it makes a nice large batch!

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