These simple Chocolate Cupcakes are perfect in flavor and texture, paired with chocolate buttercream frosting and a short video tutorial on how to frost cupcakes like a pro!

Cakes and cupcakes are some of the most popular recipes on TBFS.  Don’t miss our German Chocolate Cake (or cupcakes) or our classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting.

Chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and sprinkles on top, lined up on a grey board .

Chocolate cupcakes are a classic treat that everybody loves, and this homemade recipe is killer! And although I love a great moist and delicious homemade chocolate cupcake, the frosting is my favorite part, and this chocolate buttercream does not disappoint!  I think perfect cupcakes require a 2:1 frosting/cupcakes ratio.

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes:

1. Whisk together: In large mixing bowl whisk together cocoa powder and baking soda. Carefully pour in boiling water and whisk until well blended; allow to cool for 5 minutes.

2. Cream: in another large mixing bowl add the melted butter, vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla and salt and beat until well combined. Add eggs and eggs yolks, mixing after each addition, just until combined.

3. Add cocoa and flour.  Stir in cocoa mixture and then milk. Slowly mix in flour and stir until combined.

Four process photos for making chocolate cupcake batter in a mixing bowl.

4. Pour into cupcake tins: Divide batter evenly among the 24 muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full.

5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

A muffin tin with baked chocolate cupcakes next to a bowl of chocolate buttercream.

To ensure cupcakes rise properly:

Use room temperature ingredients, particularly eggs.

Eggs at room temperature (as opposed to cold from the fridge) are fluffier and will emulsify in the batter better, which will help the cupcakes bake and rise properly. A trick for bringing eggs to room temperature quickly is to run hot water over them for one minute, or let them sit in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.

Pro Tips for Frosting Cupcakes:

If you want to get that perfect swirl on the top of a cupcake, use a piping bag and frosting tip. My favorite tip is a Wilton 1M.

And since I really love ya’ll I’ll share this very amateur video I made yeas ago for how to frost cupcakes. I made it when I was 9 months pregnant and while it’s embarrassing and not the best quality, I do talk about my three favorite decorating tips and show how to frost cupcakes with them!

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To make ahead: The cupcakes and the chocolate buttercream frosting can both be made ahead of time. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, and then store them in a ziplock freezer bag. Freeze for up to one month. I like to frost the cupcakes when they are frozen because they’re easier to frost.

To freeze: Freeze your cupcakes before frosting them. Frosting cupcakes is so much easier when they are frozen.  Cupcakes thaw quickly so even if you want to serve them an hour or two after frosting, it shouldn’t be an issue. You could also freeze frosted cupcakes, but I suggest flash-freezing them on a tray for 30 minutes (to help the frosting keep its shape) before placing them in a freezer safe container.

A chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and a big bite taken out of it.

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Recipe

Chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and sprinkles on top, lined up on a grey board .
Prep 20 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 40 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
  

For the cupcakes

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup butter , melted
  • 1/3 cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk or half & half or heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter , softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin tins with 24 paper liners.
  • In large mixing bowl whisk together cocoa powder and baking soda. Carefully pour in boiling water and whisk until well blended; allow to cool for 5 minutes.
    Four process photos for making chocolate cupcake batter in a mixing bowl.
  • Meanwhile, in another large mixing bowl add the melted butter, vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla and salt and beat until well combined. Add eggs and eggs yolks, mixing after each addition, just until combined.
  • Stir in cocoa mixture and then milk. Slowly mix in flour and stir until combined.
  • Divide batter evenly among the 24 muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. 
    A muffin tin with baked chocolate cupcakes next to a bowl of chocolate buttercream.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.

For the Frosting:

  • Beat butter for two minutes. Add vanilla extract, cocoa powder and milk and beat again until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach your desired frosting consistency.
  • Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and top with sprinkles!

Notes

To make ahead: The cupcakes and the chocolate buttercream frosting can both be made ahead of time. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, and then store them in a ziplock freezer bag. Freeze for up to one month. I like to frost the cupcakes when they are frozen because they’re easier to frost.
To freeze: Freeze your cupcakes before frosting them. Frosting cupcakes is so much easier when they are frozen.  Cupcakes thaw quickly so even if you want to serve them an hour or two after frosting, it shouldn’t be an issue. You could also freeze frosted cupcakes, but I suggest flash-freezing them on a tray for 30 minutes (to help the frosting keep its shape) before placing them in a freezer safe container.

Nutrition

Calories: 295kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 2gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 230mgPotassium: 86mgFiber: 1gSugar: 24gVitamin A: 470IUCalcium: 18mgIron: 1.1mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

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Cupcake recipe adapted from Cooking Classy.

I originally shared this recipe February 2015. Updated May 2020 with process photos and additional tips.

Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

      1. They were a huge hit, thank you! One year later, hoping to make these in mini-cupcake form for his 4th birthday to bring to his preschool class. Any tips on how long to bake them or whether I can divide them evenly into 48 mini muffin cups? Thank you in advance!

        1. You can use either type of butter. This recipe calls for 3/4 teaspoon of salt, since unsalted butter is used. If you use salted butter, than only add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

  1. You’ve specified “cocoa powder” for the cake and “unsweetened cocoa powder” for the frosting. Can I assume that the cocoa powder for the cake should also be unsweetened? I want to use this to make your peanut butter cup cupcakes; they look perfect for my boyfriend’s birthday!

  2. In the beginning you mention mixing the cocoa powder, baking powder, and boiling water at what point are you supposed to mix the two large bowls together?

  3. I didn’t try the frosting, but the cakes were DELICIOUS! Absolutely ZERO complaints! They had a wonderful dark chocolate flavor, and they had a great texture: substantial, but not too dense, and moist without getting fudgy (if I want fudgy I’ll eat a brownie.) They stayed good sitting in a loose container for several days. And best of all, they paired perfectly with a peanut butter buttercream. I about died. So yummy.

    10/10. Am planning my second batch.

  4. This cupcake recipe is the best!!! They seriously came out soft, moist, and rich chocolate flavor. The best chocolate cupcake recipe I have tried, thank you to whoever posted this, I will definitely be using again:)

  5. These cupcakes were AMAZING! My 13 year old daughter and her friend made them at a sleepover and loved them! They were gobbled up in an instant! Thanks for the great recipe, will definitely use again!

  6. Loved this recipe, and I want to make it again but as mini cupcakes. How would the baking time differ if I were to bake these in a mini muffin tray?

    1. Hi Kim, happy you liked them! For mini cupcakes I would bake them at the same temperature. Check them around 10-12 minutes.

  7. Hello! How early can I make this frosting? I have 2 cakes plus 30 cupcakes to make I wold like to be ahead of the game as possible. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Sarah, you could make the frosting at least 1 week in advance! Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Let it come down to room temperature before frosting the cupcakes! Good luck 🙂

  8. Hello, Lauren!
    I’m a sophomore in high school and I’m in a pickle. I am taking TC Hospitality and we have to serve a treat to the class. I want to make these cupcakes, but I’m confused about these two ingredients:
    2 large eggs
    2 large egg yolks
    If I have a carton of a dozen eggs, could I just use four of those? Otherwise, what do you mean by eggs vs egg yolks?
    If you can get back to me ASAP, I’d really appreciate it!
    Thank you so much,
    Sylvia

  9. 5 stars
    These were insane! So moist and decadent…probably the best cupcakes I’ve ever made! Thanks for the recipe

  10. 5 stars
    These were a huge hit at a birthday party I made them for. My mom is a choc-o-holic and even requested that I make these for her birthday too!

  11. 5 stars
    These tasted gorgeous! We made them with the caramel sauce centre and chocolate frosting. Can they be frozen? Thanks.

  12. My icing was very bitter. Any way to fix that? I already tried adding more milk and powdered sugar, but that’s not working.

    1. Hi Victoria,
      I think the only ingredient that could cause a biter taste is the cocoa powder. Is it possible that you added too much? Adding more butter and powdered sugar should help! I hope you were able to find a solution!

  13. 5 stars
    I made these chocolate cupcakes for our Thanksgiving dessert. They are so yummy and easy to make. Your chocolate frostings are my all-time favorite; both this recipe and the German chocolate. I can’t leave it alone. Let’s just say I clean out the bowl of any leftovers after I’m done decorating. Lol! Thanks for another great recipe!

  14. 4 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing your awesome cake recipe, I made it for a birthday party yesterday. WOW, it was so Amazing and Delicious, everyone loved it……BTW, I got a request to make it again! Thank you very much, we all love you!

      1. 5 stars
        I made this recipe for both cupcakes and cake for some reason the cupcakes much better but the first couple times making them I changed a few things it was too bitter after playing around with it I added more vanilla extract white sugar less chocolate cocoa came out delicious

  15. I made these cupcakes for my grandsons birthday and everyone said they were the cupcakes ever! Can I use the same recipe to make a 2 layer cake?

  16. 5 stars
    Delicious! For readers like me with no experience making cupcakes, I found 1/4 cup of batter to be the right amount for each cupcake.

  17. 5 stars
    I used the frosting from this recipe but reduced the sicing powder to 1 1/2 cups. It was delicious. Everyone loved the cupcakes and the frosting. This will definitely be my go to recipe for chocolate frosting.