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The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

Soft, fluffy, and light, this Chocolate Cupcake Recipe is truly the best. It’s loaded with chocolate flavor and has a soft crumb that practically melts in your mouth.

side view of chocolate cupcakes on a marble cake stand

The Best Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

I’ve made the cupcakes before. They’re featured in my chocolate raspberry cupcakes post.

It’s one of my favorite chocolate cupcake recipes and it’s adapted from my favorite chocolate cake recipe.

I halved the cake recipe and added a touch of oil along with the butter and the results are amazing. The cupcakes taste decadent and are so soft in the centers.

To get enough of that rich chocolate flavor I added both melted chocolate and cocoa powder. This is something I do often when making chocolate cakes.

Best Chocolate Cupcakes on a marble cake stand

Can you make chocolate cupcakes with oil?

You can use oil in chocolate cupcake recipes. I made this one with just 2 tablespoons of oil plus melted butter. I prefer butter because it adds richness but sometimes a little oil is needed to add moisture.


Main ingredients for homemade chocolate cupcakes

Flour – this recipe calls for all-purpose flour. The crumb isn’t as tight as when using cake flour but the cupcakes remain incredibly soft.

Cocoa powder – unsweetened cocoa powder adds a ton of chocolate flavor.

Unsweetened chocolate – adding in melted chocolate will give the cupcakes even more decadent chocolate flavor. The flavor reminds me of brownies.

Buttermilk – this is the key ingredient for moist, spongy cupcakes. Do not try to substitute for whole milk or milk substitute.

Coffee – adding a little coffee to chocolate desserts enhances the chocolate flavor. Use decaf coffee if you are sensitive to caffeine or replace the coffee with an equal amount of buttermilk.

Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes on a black wire rack

How to make chocolate cupcakes?

Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients

Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.

dry ingredients combined in glass bow with whisk

Step 2: Mix the wet ingredients

Beat the butter, oil, and sugar until well combined.

combined wet ingredients in glass bowl

Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.

eggs whisked into wet ingredients in glass bowl

Step 4: Add melted chocolate

Whisk in melted chocolate that has been cooled.

melted chocolate whisked into wet ingredients in glass bowl

Step 5: Combine the wet and dry ingredients

Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, alternating with the buttermilk and coffee. Stir until everything is well combined. The batter will be thick.

chocolate cupcake batter in glass bowl with whisk

Step 6: Bake

Fill paper-lined muffin cups ⅔ of the way full with batter. Bake in a 350°F oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and frost as desired.

chocolate cupcake batter in paper lined muffin pan
overhead of baked chocolate cupcakes in muffin pan
Moist Chocolate Cupcake with a bite taken out

Tips for this chocolate cupcake recipe recipe

  • There’s no need for a mixer with this recipe! All you need are a couple of mixing bowls* and a whisk*. A rubber spatula* will be handy too!
  • Use a cookie scoop to portion the batter among the prepared cups. I have a 1.5 tablespoon scoop* and fill each cup with 2 scoops. This is the perfect amount of batter.

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Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes on a black wire rack

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 14 cupcakes
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Soft, fluffy, and light, this Chocolate Cupcake Recipe is truly the best. It’s loaded with chocolate flavor and has a soft crumb that practically melts in your mouth.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (28 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces (85 g) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ cup (75 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) strong brewed coffee, cooled - SEE NOTE 1

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line 14 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk and set aside.
  3. Add the chocolate to a small heatproof bowl and set it over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir continuously until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
  4. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer beat the butter, oil, and sugar together on medium-low speed until light and fluffy. 
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and mix until well incorporated.
  6. With the mixer set to low speed, gradually add half the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk and coffee, and then the remaining flour mixture. Beat just until combined. The batter will be thick.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, about 18-20 minutes.
  8. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely. Frost as desired.

Notes

  1. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you can use decaf coffee or simply replace it with ¼ cup more buttermilk.
  2. Pair with chocolate Swiss meringue, chocolate frosting, or cookie butter frosting.

Make ahead tip

  1. The cupcakes can be made 1 day in advance before frosting. Cover and refrigerate each overnight. Frost the cupcakes the next day.
  2. Or the cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and frost as desired.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1 cupcake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 193Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 212mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 11gProtein: 3g

* Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy by an online nutrition calculator and is not guaranteed to be accurate. Always seek advice from a nutritionist or medical professional.

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Alix

Sunday 15th of August 2021

I love this site and all your recipes and blog pieces and I just made this and it’s easily one of my favorites if not my favorite, I was wondering though what you may suggest to someone using this recipe to try and make a cake?

Jen Sobjack

Tuesday 17th of August 2021

It's possible the recipe could be baked in a single 9-inch pan. You'd just need to watch it closely as the bake time may need to be adjusted. However, I haven't baked this recipe that way so I can't say for sure how it's going to turn out. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Debby

Saturday 27th of February 2021

Hi Jen, I am searching for low fat recipes. I am new to this low fat diet and am trying to figure things out. Your 3 grams of total fat per cupcake caught my attention. Then I looked over the list of ingredients. By my calculations (taking each measured ingredient and determining the total fat according to the serving size amount on the package label then combining all of them), each cupcake has 10 grams of fat. There is a big difference. Can you explain how you determined 3 grams of total fat for each cupcake? I must be doing this all wrong. Thank you, Debby

Jen Sobjack

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

This information is provided as a courtesy by an online nutrition calculator and is not guaranteed to be accurate. For more accurate information, use an online calculator with the exact brand of ingredients you plan to use in the recipe. Or seek advice from a nutritionist or medical professional.

Miss P

Friday 14th of August 2020

Our stores here in SA don’t sell all purpose flour. They have cake wheat flour instead. Will it work? Want to try these. They look yum

Jen Sobjack

Friday 14th of August 2020

Cake flour is a softer flour than all-purpose so it's going to give you different results. I've not made the recipe with cake flour so I can't tell you if any other adjustments will need to be made.

Sheetal

Sunday 2nd of August 2020

Hi I baked you or vanilla cupcakes and they turned out great. Can’t wait to try these out. Can I use cake flour instead of all purpose flour ?

Jen Sobjack

Sunday 2nd of August 2020

The recipe was developed using the right amount of liquid for the all-purpose flour. Because cake flour is a softer flour, it's going to give you a different texture.

Neha

Sunday 19th of July 2020

Hi,

You are right these are the best ever cupcakes. They have such a comforting flavour. Reminds me of my childhood birthday cakes.

I just have one piece of feedback. I only use the metric system since I'm not based in USA. The first time I used your gram weights but the batter came runny. It tasted good but did not look like yours. I checked with a few converters online and found a few discrepancies. For example, 1 cup of flour is 140g. I recalculated all the measurements and next time my batter came out correctly.

Hope this helps! Thanks!

Jen Sobjack

Sunday 19th of July 2020

Hi Neha! I'm glad you enjoyed the cupcakes. I too use only weight measurements and my cups come out to be 130 grams. I actually have an entire blog post on how to measure flour for my recipes. An American cup of flour is actually only 120 grams if you want to be precise. I'm not sure why your batter was runny unless there was a mismeasurement somewhere else in the recipe. But using the exact measurements listed will give you a thick mousse-like batter just as pictured above and in the video.

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