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Look no further—this is the best chocolate cupcake recipe! They’re moist, decadent, and utterly delicious!

We love cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, but they’re also delicious with Vanilla Buttercream, Peanut Butter Frosting, or Marshmallow Frosting!

Chocolate cupcakes on a white cake stand.

We Loooove Chocolate Cupcakes!

These are seriously THE BEST chocolate cupcakes!

This is my go-to recipe. I know you’re going to love this easy and tasty cupcake recipe!

I am always craving Chocolate Cake and these cupcakes make the perfect little alternative.

Why we love them:

  • Easy. Make these ahead of time or store them for when you need them.
  • Delicious. Cupcakes are one dessert that EVERYONE loves, especially these chocolate cupcakes!
  • Celebrate. They are also great for birthday parties, dinner parties, or any holiday throughout the year.

Ingredients

  • unsalted butter 
  • vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • water
  • all-purpose flour be sure to measure the flour correctly
  • white sugar
  • unsweetened natural cocoa powder Because the cake uses baking soda you must use regular cocoa powder to get the correct chemical reaction. However, for the frosting you can use natural or Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • large egg
  • buttermilk or buttermilk substitute
  • vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar sifted to remove clumps
  • milk whole milk or half and half for the creamiest frosting

Ingredient Tips

  • Room temperature ingredients. Use room-temperature eggs, butter, and dairy as they combine better when at room temperature.
  • For extra chocolate flavor fold chocolate chips into the batter or sprinkle them on top of the frosting.

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. PREP. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. WET INGREDIENTS. 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.
  3. DRY INGREDIENTS. 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.
  4. BAKE. Scoop the cupcake batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling ¾ 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.
  5. FROSTING. To make the buttercream, beat together the butter and cocoa powder until light and fluffy. Add other ingredients 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.

Chocolate Cake Recipe

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-minute mark. Bake longer, if needed, until the toothpick comes out clean.

Baked chocolate cupcake recipe in a muffin tin.

Cupcake Tips

Using both butter and oil achieves the right moist texture for this best chocolate cupcake recipe. 

Sinking cupcakes. There can be a lot of reasons that this happens some common ones include:

  • Over-beating the batter
  • Opening the oven door during the baking time
  • The oven is too hot
  • Old baking soda
  • Using the wrong type of cocoa powder
  • Overfilling the cupcake tin
Piping on chocolate frosting for cupcakes.

Storing Tips

  • STORE unfrosted chocolate cupcakes recipe, in an airtight container for 2-3 days at room temperature.
  • STORE frosted homemade chocolate cupcakes for 2 days in an airtight container. After 2 days they can still be eaten, but will become dry and stale. 
  • FREEZE for up to 3 months.
  • Store buttercream frosting separately in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw if applicable, and give it a good whipping before frosting the cupcake.
Best chocolate cupcakes frosted and served on a white cake stand.

For More Cupcakes:

5 from 5 votes

Best Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Look no further—these are the best chocolate cupcakes you will ever make! They're moist, decadent, and utterly delicious!
Servings: 12
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Ingredients 

for the cupcakes:

  • 4 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the chocolate buttercream:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F 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 ¾ 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.

Video

Notes

  • STORE unfrosted chocolate cupcakes recipe, in an airtight container for 2-3 days at room temperature.
  • STORE frosted homemade chocolate cupcakes for 2 days in an airtight container. After 2 days they can still be eaten, but will become dry and stale. 
  • FREEZE for up to 3 months.
  • Store buttercream frosting separately in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw if applicable, and give it a good whipping before frosting the cupcake.

Nutrition

Calories: 323kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 183mg, Potassium: 90mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 381IU, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

About Kristyn

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!

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Recipe Rating




9 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 5 stars
    I’ll take chocolate cupcakes anytime of the day! They are the best & so soft & the frosting is to die for!