This recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes is yummy – really yummy. The perfect chocolate cake to satisfy the ravenous chocoholics in your life! This is my best recipe for rich and indulgent dark chocolate cupcakes ready to be topped with a decadent chocolate buttercream frosting swirl.
Fluffy Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
Everyone needs a perfect chocolate cake and frosting recipe in their lives. It’s a necessity, honestly! Having a flawless recipe for chocolate cupcakes means that you can whip up a batch whenever the urge strikes. And if that’s not a necessary life skill, I don’t know what is.
This is my ultimate recipe for rich, chocolatey, indulgent chocolate cupcakes ready to be topped with an equally decadent swirl of Chocolate Frosting. On top of all the deliciousness, chocolate cupcakes are also ridiculously easy to make. These are over and above the best chocolate cupcakes to satisfy the most ravenous chocoholics.
Not to mention, a pillowy and perfect chocolate cupcake is the perfect blank slate for decorating!
What You’ll Need
This recipe for fluffy cupcakes has the luxury of being filled with chocolate, and so incredibly straightforward! A few special ingredients make these the most delicious and moist cupcakes you’ll ever have. Here’s the list:
- Cocoa Powder: I’ve always used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa for this recipe, but you can use any regular cocoa powder you prefer.
- All-Purpose Flour: For the best and most consistent results when baking.
- 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: Pure vanilla extract is the best in terms of natural flavor.
- Granulated Sugar
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder
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 In the Eggs & 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 the Cupcakes: 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!
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.
Can I Make These Ahead of Time?
If you’d like to make these cupcakes ahead of time, wrap the unfrosted cupcakes in plastic wrap and store them either at room temperature for a day or two, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Simply unwrap and frost!
Tips for Success
Frosting Tips: 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.
Toppings & Variations
I love frosting these chocolate cupcakes with either a Creamy Chocolate Frosting or a classic Buttercream Frosting. The best thing about this recipe though, is the endless possibilities of cupcake variations! Here are more great frosting ideas for decorating these cupcakes:
- Give them a taste of fall with my easy Pumpkin Butter Frosting
- Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting is a perfect pair with these dark chocolate cupcakes!
- Frost them with the bold color and dramatic flair of a Red Velvet Frosting
- For a fun and versatile frosting, try out this Fluffy Marshmallow Frosting and get creative with toppings
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
How to Store Homemade Cupcakes
Cupcakes are always best when enjoyed the day they’re baked. However these will keep fresh at room temperature for up to 2 days.
To store them, 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 These?
You can freeze cupcakes when they’re frosted or unfrosted for up to 3 months! When freezing these cupcakes after they’ve been frosted, I prefer to keep them in a container with a lid that’s freezer-safe and will protect the frosting layer.
Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in a freezer-safe container as well, in a resealable freezer bag, or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.
Thaw frozen cupcakes unwrapped at room temperature.
More Easy Cupcakes to Try
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:
- Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
- Confetti Cupcakes
- Chips Ahoy Cupcakes
- Almond Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting
- Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
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
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In your stand mixer sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder together. Add in the sugar and salt.
- With your mixer on low speed add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla, water, vegetable oil and buttermilk.
- Mix on medium for 2 minutes until combined.
- Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes until set.
- 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.
Keywords: chocolate cupcakes, birthday cupcakes, valentines cupcakes, frosted cupcakes
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