Death by Chocolate Cupcakes.

Dark chocolate cupcakes topped with dark chocolate frosting. Chocolate lovers only!

My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting - chocolate lovers only! Recipe at

This recipe is dedicated to all of you chocoholics.

Pure, unadultered, inexplicable, out-of-this-world love for chocolate.

My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting - chocolate lovers only! Recipe at

I know many of you adore chocolate.   My most popular cake recipe is – chocolate!  My Triple Chocolate Layer Cake recipe is what inspired me to make these death by chocolate cupcakes.  Today’s cupcakes are a different recipe than that cake, but they are just as rich, fudgy, and decadent.

They are dark chocolate cupcakes with a thick dark chocolate frosting on top and sprinkled with chocolate chips. The cupcakes are not overly sweet – they are deep and intense. Pure chocolate. And a lot of it!

I have made about 7 batches of chocolate cupcakes so far this summer. I am not exaggerating!  Some batches ran over the sides and looked more like brown mushrooms, not cupcakes. Others did NOT taste like chocolate. Others were crunchy on top (eww!), dry, bland, and blah. Blah blah blah.  I have been searching and testing and testing (and testing some more!) to find that perfect chocolate cupcake recipe.  Finally, I took a few things I’ve learned from all my mistakes to come out with the best. I only give you the best of the best!

I’ve brought you chocolate cupcakes before on my website.  These chocolate cupcakes are loved by many of you!  And these chocolate cupcakes are quick, easy, and ultra moist. Both chocolate cupcake recipes are fantastic! However, I did not develop either of them on my own.

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes. Moist, rich, tender, and SO much fudgy flavor.

Today’s new recipe produces rich, moist, and flavorful cupcakes.  I use a mix of melted chocolate and cocoa powder to make these cupcakes ultra fudgy. I nearly double the amount of cocoa powder than previous recipes that I’ve tried this summer. 2 eggs, brown sugar, and buttermilk gives each bite a tender, moist texture.  They are the complete opposite of dry and bland!

Buttermilk is required for this recipe – the lactic acid present is what will allow the baking soda to react and leaven the cake.

Don’t have buttermilk?  You can make your own.  Measure 2 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup.  Then, add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup.  Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes.  The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in your recipe.

My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting - chocolate lovers only! Recipe at

My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting - chocolate lovers only! Recipe at

The batter for the cupcakes is very thick. I’m warning you now!  Very thick – almost like frosting or chocolate pudding.  Just taste it.  You KNOW you’ll have amazing cupcakes after you taste the batter. So deliciously fudgy.

The frosting I use for these cupcakes is one of my favorites.  It’s the same frosting recipe that I often use to frost my peanut butter cupcakes.  The wonderful thing about this frosting is that there is not that much butter in it.  It’s not a buttercream frosting. It’s pure, thick chocolate.  Like melted fudge, but thicker.  You all love it so much.

I could eat this dark chocolate frosting with a spoon and be happy for the rest of my life.

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes. Moist, rich, tender, and SO much fudgy flavor.

Ultra rich and creamy homemade Dark Chocolate Frosting

It’s ultra smooth and velvety.  One of the best frostings I’ve ever had.

I piped the frosting on with Wilton tip #12. I use this tip almost exclusively on my cupcakes, as well as the Wilton 1M. (See how I swirl frosting here.)

My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting - chocolate lovers only! Recipe at

I am in LOVE with these chocolate cupcakes. By far my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe.

I made a version of them for my cookbook – you will LOVE what I did with them. :)  Trust me, you have to try these chocolate cupcakes. Soft, moist, tender, intensely fudgy, chocoholic-heaven!  Everything about this recipe is perfection to me and I know you will adore each and every bite, too.

Chocoholics unite!

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 


Death by Chocolate Cupcakes

Print Recipe

Dark chocolate cupcakes topped with dark chocolate frosting. Chocolate lovers only!

Yield: 12 cupcakes


Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (42g) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour* (measured correctly)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk*

Dark Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 and 3/4 cup (330g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2/3 cup (80g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons (95ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (60g) semi-sweet chocolate chips for decoration, optional


For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each time. You may also melt the butter and chocolate over low heat on the stovetop. Stir until smooth and set aside to slightly cool.

In a medium sized bowl, toss the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the cooled butter/chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat until everything is added. Stir until *just* combined; do not overmix. The batter will be very thick like pudding.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with batter. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition. Once all added, beat on high speed until creamy and combined for at least 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.

Frost cooled cupcakes and top with chocolate chips as desired. Cupcakes stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days.  Store covered in the refrigerator is desired for up to 1 week.

Additional Notes:

*Using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour is OK. I find the cupcakes to be slightly softer using cake flour.

*Room temperature eggs are required for this recipe. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, put them in a glass of warm water for 5-10 minutes.

*Buttermilk is required for this recipe. If you do not have buttermilk, make your own by mixing 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.

*Try my Milk Chocolate Frosting if you're not a fan of dark chocolate.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


If you’re a chocolate lover, you need to try these recipes next!


Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

Triple Chocolate Layer Cake


1 XXL Death by Chocolate Cookie (recipe for ONE large cookie)

1 XXL Death by Chocolate Cookie


Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes

Skinny Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Cupcakes





476 Responses to “Death by Chocolate Cupcakes.”

  1. #
    Adrienneposted May 21, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I need to make a half sheet chocolate cake.  It will be 11×15.  It’s for a graduation party.  Could you please tell me if this recipe will work, or would I need to double it?  Thanks in advance!


  2. #
    Carineposted May 24, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Hi Sally!

    Instead of semi-sweet baking chocolate can we use dark chocolate? Cause I can’t find any. Or will semi- sweet chocolate chips work too? Thank you :)


    • Sallyreplied on May 24th, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Don’t use chocolate chips– you can use up dark chocolate, yes.


  3. #
    Annieposted May 27, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Shalom Sally,
    (I went to the thesaurus so I can find a creative hello.)
    For gluten-free cupcakes, would I just substitute wheat with wheat free wheat (I know it sounds crazy, they do make it..)? If I did, would the cooking time change? Once again, thanks for the awesome recipes!



    • Sallyreplied on May 28th, 2015 at 7:53 am

      Annie, I’m really unsure. I do not make my recipes with GF flours because we are not gluten free. I have very little experience with it.


  4. #
    DTposted May 30, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    The cupcakes were very soft (i used cake flour) and moist, and had a good chocolate flavour… i like it that they are not too sweet. but they are a little sticky on the top and too crumbly for me.


  5. #
    Jasmineposted May 31, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Hey! I just made your Death by Chocolate cupcake recipe today . They were soooo good, I am a chocolate lover now. I was skeptical at first, but these are amazing. Thanks : )


  6. #
    KCposted June 4, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Nearly two years after this recipe was posted, but I have to comment. I adore this cupcake recipe! It is quick, doesn’t require a mixer, and just substantial enough to be finger food instead of crumbling everywhere. My very soft and airy cake recipe just didn’t make the best cupcakes, but this is a keeper. Just don’t be like me and assume your silicon cupcake tins will release these easily – my first batch ended up as half cupcakes and a bunch of crumbs! Liners it is… <3


  7. #
    Hinaposted June 5, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Hi.these cupcakes look amazing! Can I use this cupcake recipe with salted caramel frosting?


  8. #
    Uniquaposted June 17, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Hi, Can this recipe be doubled to make 24 cupcakes simply by doubling all the ingredients? Or are more adjustments required?


    • Katereplied on July 9th, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      Can I double the recipe?


  9. #
    Bettina Paulaposted June 24, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Hi Sally!What kind of milk do i use in this recipe? 


  10. #
    Andrea Grayposted June 25, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Hi Sally, made these for my husband for Father’s Day.  They were great. He compared them to a local bakey we get cupcakes from. So I was glad he enjoyed them. My problem was they were a bit dry. I followed the recipe to the “T”. Should I add a little buttermilk or something next time? I plan on making them this coming weekend for a gathering along with your peach/ blueberry pie. 


    • Andrea Grayreplied on June 25th, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Extra buttermilk*


    • Sallyreplied on June 25th, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Andrea, a little extra buttermilk sounds like the right idea. How about 1/4 cup extra? Enjoy that blueberry peach pie!


  11. #
    Pamelaposted June 27, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Can I use this frosting to cover a 9×13 cake? Is it thick enough for decorating and bordering a cake? How do I adjust for that?  Thanks in advance. 


  12. #
    melissaposted July 2, 2015 at 12:29 am

    hi sally quick question is it best to use a mixer to mux the batter or stir all by hand??? also do you have a vanilla or buttercream icing instead to use for these?? thank you melissa


  13. #
    Margaretposted July 3, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Hi, I was wondering if I could make 24 mini cupcakes using this recipe instead of 12 regular sized ones. And if so, are there any adjustments that I need to make, such as baking time? Thanks.


    • Sallyreplied on July 3rd, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      Definitely! The bake time will be about 11-12 minutes.


  14. #
    Amyposted July 15, 2015 at 9:46 am

    I have always been shy of baking chocolate cake because I grew up eating super dry chocolate cake  — maybe it was just chocolate sandpaper?  Well-intentioned folks would just smear extra-sugary chocolate frosting all over the top as if it would make up for the excruciatingly dry taste of the cupcake.  It just made that glass of milk that much necessary to choke it down.  Well, these cupcakes made me a believer that chocolate cake can be moist.

    I made these for a 4 year old’s birthday — piped chocolate frosting on top, sprinkled Oreo® crumbs on top, and then placed a huge, plastic Monster Truck on top of one of the cupcakes as if it was riding around in the mud (Oreos®). You made his day!


  15. #
    Tikvahposted July 17, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I found this recipe via Google, trying to find a good chocolate cupcake recipe for my first cupcake catering! I’m making cupcakes for a family of chocolate lovers, and they love them! I am also dairy-free, so I used coconut oil instead of butter (subbed 1:1) and almond milk/vinegar for the buttermilk. They turned out super tasty, and are going to be dipped in ganache, and topped with chocolate whipped cream! Thanks for a great recipe!!!


  16. #
    Lizzieposted July 29, 2015 at 11:00 am

    I love these cupcakes, however for a darker frosting I used this frosting recipe:
    . Thank you for this awesome recipe!


  17. #
    maniposted August 1, 2015 at 7:09 am

    I Made these cupcakes and they turned out so yummy ans delicious .thanks for such a nice recipe.


  18. #
    maniposted August 2, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Can u plz tell whether i could use this recipe to bake a cake?


  19. #
    Juliaposted August 2, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Sally, these are the best chocolate cupcakes I have ever had!! They are absolutely amazing, and so chocolatey.  Will definitely be making these cupcakes again! 


  20. #
    Mindyposted August 5, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Would you need to adjust this for higher altitudes?


  21. #
    Monte Tiernanposted August 5, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Is semi sweet baking chocolate different from semi sweet chocolate chips?


  22. #
    Adamposted September 9, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Sally!! Thank you so much for this recipe!!
    I’ve baked this countless times (literally on every occasion). I follow exactly as you’ve instructed and they always turn out perfect and moist and absolutely delicious! They don’t last long on the table too. Haha! Always good to hear that. :-)))) I have a birthday coming this weekend and they’re definitely on the menu again. Thank you!!!


  23. #
    isharaposted September 15, 2015 at 4:41 am

    Hi Sally,

    Been making these ever since I found your blog. I want to know whether i can substitute the buttermilk for Baileys Irish cream as I want to make Baileys cupcakes.. Please advise asap…

    Thank you again for this amazing recipe <3


  24. #
    Cheryl (aka lover of Sally's site, I tell all of my friends about you!)posted September 15, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Hi Sally, 
    Well shoot! I’m making these for an anniversary party, and I have to make them ahead of time. I made 24 mini and six full size out of this recipe. Can I freeze them for  four days?  Help! 

    What other recipes for cupcakes can you recommend for pre baking? 


    • Sallyreplied on September 15th, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Cheryl– thank you for spreading the word about my blog! And you can freeze baked cupcakes for up to 2-3 months (so yes, 4 days!). Let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature to decorate/serve.


  25. #
    Rebeccaposted September 30, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    This is my favorite cupcake recipe of yours to make.  So much so that I volunteered to bake them for an upcoming wedding rehearsal dinner.  Do you know what the approximate bake time would be for mini cupcakes? Would it be more like 12-15 minutes instead of 18?


    • Sallyreplied on September 30th, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Rebecca, I’d say closer to 11-12 minutes. So glad you love them.


  26. #
    Falguniposted October 8, 2015 at 5:24 am

    Hi Sally! This is my absolute go-to recipe. It’s a keeper and I’m never parting with it. However, everytime i bake these,  I end up with sticky tops the next day. I was wondering if I could use this recipe for making slightly jumbo muffins. Would that work? What can I do to minimize the top from becoming sticky? Let me know soon. Thanks! :)


  27. #
    Bahareh Vahidposted October 18, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Dearest Sally, 
    I really enjoy your recipes and everything about your website! I live in a small town in Iran and I don’t have access to natural coco powder! is it replaceable or should I search for another recipe 
    Thanks for everything 


  28. #
    Ctnposted October 20, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Hi Sally! I’ve tried your recipe today. This one is the best so far. My kids love it. Couldn’t keep their hands off it. Thanks for the recipe ☺


  29. #
    Julie - triple chocolate cupcake loverposted October 24, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    What a way to die – death by chocolate cupcake – sweet. I cant think of anything more decadent and pleasurable to the soul. I love your chocolate cupcake recipe Sally!


  30. #
    Michala ctavenposted November 6, 2015 at 11:52 am

    The most gorgeous buttercream I’ve made yet! And thank you for putting the grams as well as cups… Saved me some hassle!


  31. #
    Amyposted November 9, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    A math teacher’s birthday is coming up and she absolutely LOVES dark chocolate! This is the perfect recipe for it. So cannot wait to bake these! I am a huge fan of your baking and get almost all my recipes from you! God bless!


  32. #
    Soniaposted November 12, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Hey Sally, 
    This is the most simple n yummiest recipe I’ve ever got.. One try and all goes so perfectly perfect .. Cupcakes were so soft, moist & irresistible..
    Thanks for recipe.. I’m glad I found this blog. Looking forward to try other recipes as well..


  33. #
    Sazzyposted November 14, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Hi Sally..
    I Followed all these to the T but its not as fudgy as mentioned here…kinda crumbly i’d say…where do i go wrong?


  34. #
    Adrianposted November 17, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I’ve made these cupcakes 4 times so far. They are absolutely amazing! I’ve adjusted the recipe three of the four times to fit the occasion (stuck a reeses in the middle and topped with a peanut butter frosting, and made adult ‘mudslide’ cupcakes) and everyone loved them! They are super fudgy and moist and very tasty. By far my favorite cupcake recipe. 


  35. #
    Rebeccaposted November 23, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Amazing cupcake recipe! SO easy to make and everyone loved them, thanks! :) xx


  36. #
    Yemimaposted November 29, 2015 at 1:13 am

    Hi Sally, can I use this recipe for 6″ round cake? Thxx!! :)


  37. #
    Fatimaposted December 10, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Sally! 
    For someone who has had more baking disasters disasters than I’d care to share, these cupcakes were a turning point. They turned out to be absolutely perfect!! Thankyou so much for sharing such an amazing receipe and inspiring me to keep baking ❤


  38. #
    Fatimaposted January 10, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Hi Sally! 
    I’ve made this recipe various times and have always loved the outcome. I was wondering if they would taste the same if I eliminated the coca powder from the frosting and added colour instead ? I was hoping to get the same fudgy cupcakes with blue frosting ? Will it work ? Please respond 
    Love you! x


    • Sallyreplied on January 10th, 2016 at 10:41 am

      I don’t suggest that– I suggest making my vanilla frosting and tinting blue.


  39. #
    Lisa Reutzelposted January 13, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    I haven’t tried the cupcakes yet, but the tops of mine were flat when I took them out of the oven. I followed the recipe exactly, so I’m not sure what went wrong. Still hoping they’ll taste good in spite of the flat tops, but I was hoping they would be a little prettier. Mine definitely don’t look like the cupcakes in the photographs. 


    • Lisa Reutzelreplied on January 14th, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      Update: They turned out pretty tasty, though a little on the dry side. The frosting was amazing though, by far the best chocolate frosting I’ve ever made!


  40. #
    Rawanposted January 17, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    hi sally, what can i use instead of heavy cream in frosting?


  41. #
    Katherineposted January 29, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Hey, so I don’t have much experience with baking and the like. I’m just now getting into it. My question is, can I make the batter the day before and bake it the next day? On the day the cupcakes will be eaten, I have to work a half day and I won’t be home until about 3:30. So will it screw up the chemistry of the ingredients if I refrigerate it for a day?


  42. #
    Kimposted February 6, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    I made these cupcakes tonight and followed the recipe using White Lilly soft white self rising flour (omitted the baking powder & salt) and substituted  1T vinegar in 1/2 c 2% milk. Baked 15 minutes. The cupcakes were very chocolate, rich, not too sweet, and just the right texture. 

    I frosted them with peanut butter frosting: 1/2c butter, 1/4 c crisco, 1t vanilla, a 1/2 c peanut butter powder, 1lb powdered sugar and enough milk to to make it pipe able. 

    Very good. Thanks so much!


  43. #
    Amandaposted February 10, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Hi Sally:
    Can i sub coconut oil for the butter in the cake recipe? Would coconut oil work in the frosting also?
    Can I use coconut palm sugar for regular sugar in the cake recipe?


  44. #
    Whittneyposted February 11, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Hello, just curious if I could swap in coconut oil like you do in your classic chocolate cupcake recipe ? Thanks :) 


    • Sallyreplied on February 11th, 2016 at 11:33 am

      No, that would not work in this recipe.


  45. #
    Tatianaposted February 11, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Tried this and they were AMAZING! Changed the recipe a bit and made a post about it if you’d like to see! Thank you so much!


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