Chocolate Cupcakes

Look no further—this is the best chocolate cupcake recipe you will ever make! Soft chocolate cake with creamy chocolate buttercream frosting on top!

Cupcakes are one dessert that EVERYONE loves, and especially these chocolate cupcakes! We love them with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, but they’re also delicious with Marshmallow Frosting!

Chocolate cupcakes on a white cake stand

Best Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes

These are seriously THE BEST chocolate cupcakes. I have a tried and true recipe that I’ve been using for years, but these were way better. This is my new go-to recipe! I know you’re going to love this easy and tasty cupcake recipe—promise me you’ll try it!

I am always craving chocolate cake and these cupcakes make the perfect little mid-day snack. They are also great for birthday parties, dinner parties, or any holiday throughout the year. You can make these ahead of time or store them for when you need them. More details on that below!

Step by step photos of how to make chocolate cupcakes

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Add the butter, vegetable oil, and water to a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted. Remove it from the heat and let it cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients, and mix until well combined. Add the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla, and mix until blended.

Scoop the cupcake batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling them ¾ full. Bake for 25 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

RECIPE TIPS

  • You need both butter and the oil to get the right moist texture for these cupcakes. You may substitute the vegetable oil with coconut oil. 
  • Because we use baking soda we need to use regular cocoa powder to get the correct chemical reaction. Dutch processed cocoa is different and results may vary if used. 
  • Use room temperature ingredients: eggs, butter, dairy. The ingredients combine better when they are room temperature.
  • Buttermilk substitute:  measure ¼ tsp vinegar into a ¼ measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup the rest of the way with milk (whole milk works best). Let sit for 5-10 minutes before using it in the recipe. 

Note: Baking is a lot less forgiving than cooking when it comes to recipe alterations. Stay as true to the recipe instructions as you can so you’ll get the best possible result.

Chocolate cupcake recipe in a muffin tin

cupcake FAQ

How to Make a Round Cake? To make this as a cake, lightly but thoroughly grease and flour one 8” or 9″ cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F and pour in the batter. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Use a toothpick to insert into the center of the cake at the 25 minutes mark. Bake longer, if needed, until the toothpick comes out clean.

Why did my cupcakes sink? There can be a lot of reasons that this happens some common ones include:

  • Over beating the batter
  • Opening the oven door during the bake time
  • Oven is too hot
  • Your baking soda is old
  • Using the wrong type of cocoa powder
  • Overfilling the cupcake tin

Piping on chocolate frosting for cupcakes

Chocolate Frosting for Cupcakes

You’re going to LOVE this chocolate frosting for the cupcakes. It’s perfectly sweet and creamy.

Start making the frosting by beating together the butter and cocoa powder until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix everything until well blended, adding additional milk if needed to bring the frosting together. Continue to beat for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes and add any sprinkles while frosting is still fresh and not set.

Best chocolate cupcakes on a white cake stand

Storing + making ahead

You can make these cupcakes the day before serving. If you wish to make them further in advance, you can make the cupcake base. Store it, unfrosted, in an airtight container for 2-3 days at room temperature, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.  

Buttercream frosting can be stored separately in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure the container is airtight and freezer safe. Thaw if applicable, and give it a good whipping before frosting the cupcake. See THIS POST for Chocolate Buttercream Frosting tips.

Leftover assembled cupcakes will easily last for 2 days when stored in an airtight container. After 2 days they can still be eaten, but you will notice them become dry and stale. 

For more cupcake recipes, check out:

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Look no further—this is the best chocolate cupcake recipe you will ever make! Soft chocolate cake with creamy chocolate buttercream frosting on top!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 323 kcal
Author Lil' Luna

Ingredients

for the cupcakes:

  • 4 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

for the chocolate buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  • Add the butter, vegetable oil, and water to a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted. Remove and let cool.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients, and mix until well combined. Add the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla, and mix until blended.
  • Scoop the cupcake batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling 3/4 full. Bake 25 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  • To make the buttercream, beat together the butter and cocoa powder until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt, and mix until well blended, adding additional milk if needed to bring the frosting together. Continue to beat for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes.

Like this Recipe?

Pin it now!

Pin It NowPin It Now

Shop Online

Lil' Luna Products

See All Products

Want more inspiration?

More Recipes You'll Love

Vanilla Cupcakes

35 minutes

4.75 from 8 votes

Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes

27 minutes

4.89 from 18 votes

Banana Cupcakes

21 minutes

4.83 from 17 votes

Rice Krispie Easter Nests

42 minutes

4.85 from 13 votes

About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

Join the Conversation

Rate and Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    I’ll take chocolate cupcakes anytime of the day! They are the best & so soft & the frosting is to die for!

  2. 5 stars
    I admit I usually just use a box mix, but Ive been trying to VENTURE out a little more. These cupcakes were amazing! DEFINITELY KEEPING this recipe.

  3. Hi Kristyn!
    Please help! I’ve decided to try these cupcakes today and they came out of the oven an hour ago and are completely cooled. I have made the frosting and unfortunately, I don’t have a piping bag or piping tip. So I decided to try using a ziploc bag to see if that works. I tried piping the frosting on the first cupcake and it looks SO sloppy and SO lopsided and it doesn’t look ok. It looks like it’s been ruined and smushed. It looks like a gloppy mess. In the photos in this blog post your cupcakes look so beautiful because you used a piping tip. But trust me, my cupcakes don’t look half as good as yours. I wish I could send you a photo. I didn’t try bother frosting the rest of the cupcakes because I figured it might ruin them! I want my cupcakes to be beautiful. Please help!
    Thank you so much!
    Maria

    1. Mine don’t look so pretty without the piping tips, that’s the trick 🙂 I’m sure yours still looked & tasted great!

      1. 5 stars
        Hi Kristyn,
        You were right! I frosted the rest of the cupcakes with the ziploc bag. They don’t look so pretty, but they taste delicious! I shared these with my daughters and they loved them! The chocolate flavor in these were awesome. I’m making another batch of these today!

  4. Hi Kristyn,
    In general speaking, what does “vegetable oil” mean in recipes? I’ve heard a lot of different ways to think about it. I don’t have vegetable oil. But I do have canola oil and olive oil.
    Thank you,
    Liz

    1. Vegetable oil is extracted from various fruits, seeds, & grains. Canola can definitely be used if you don’t have vegetable oil.