Classic Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting.

A rich, tender homemade chocolate cupcake topped with my favorite vanilla frosting. You’ll find every excuse to make this classic cupcake over and over again!

The one and only homemade chocolate cupcake recipe you need! Topped with fluffy, rich vanilla frosting.

I’m taking a break from all things overloaded today. Don’t get me wrong, an Oreo cake with Oreo crumb topping, Oreo cream filling, and milk chocolate buttercream is welcome in my apartment any day. But sometimes I crave a little simplicity. And it doesn’t get much simpler than a classic chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting.

And sprinkles… uh, naturally.

Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes topped with creamy, rich vanilla frosting. A classic cupcake recipe you'll make time and time again! By @sallybakeblog

Speaking of overloaded, a couple weeks ago I made Marshmallow-Filled S’mores Cupcakes. Have you tried them yet? PLEASE DO. (Sorry… shouting.)

Well in that post, I briefly told you about my new favorite chocolate cupcake, which is used as the base underneath all that s’mores stuff. Today’s cupcake recipe starts with the same basic, simple chocolate cupcake batter. Let me explain these homemade chocolate cupcakes a little further because they are in the spotlight today.

Chocolate Cupcake 101

While I have a tried and true homemade chocolate cupcake recipe – which appears with chocolate frosting on my blog and with butterscotch frosting in my cookbook – I wanted to change things up. No rhyme or reason… playing around in the kitchen is simply what I enjoy most. I didn’t change much; just a few things here and there. Instead of using melted butter, I use a little oil. The oil produces an incredibly moist cupcake!

I leave out the 2 ounces of melted chocolate, so the cupcakes get all their chocolate flavor from cocoa powder. These cupcakes are still so fudgy! I find my original version to have more of a deep, dark chocolate flavor while today’s chocolate cupcakes more of a milk chocolate flavor. And my gosh, chocolate is all you’ll taste. Don’t you just hate biting into a homemade chocolate cupcake only to find a subtle taste of chocolate? What a waste.

The BEST Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

I love adding brown sugar to my homemade chocolate cupcakes. I find subbing some white sugar for brown sugar gives the cupcakes a little something extra and provides an even richer taste than most other chocolate cupcakes I’ve tasted.

Chocolate cupcakes paired with vanilla frosting is a match made in heaven. A dessert that everyone loves! And my fluffy, creamy vanilla frosting is the perfect topper for these homemade fudgy cupcakes. If you’re nervous about making homemade frosting, don’t be. It’s one of the easiest things to master, trust me.

I whipped these cupcakes up for my birthday last week and my friend said they tasted as tender and moist as cupcakes from a bakery. The kicker? She had one on day 2! Chocolate cupcakes are notorious for drying out as the days pass (cocoa powder has that effect on baked goods), but these stay perfectly tender and rich. They’re a great cupcake to make ahead of time for a party and frost right before serving.

Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Frosting. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

I felt a little fancy in the kitchen the day I made these chocolate cupcakes and ended up baking a second batch and swirling vanilla and milk chocolate frostings on top. For all of you with frosting A.D.D. like myself, you have got to try it.

Here’s a lengthy post I wrote on How to Make Swirled Frosting. I also show you exactly how to fill a piping bag with frosting (the easiest way!), as well as how I pipe frosting using the Wilton 1M swirl piping tip – which the tip I used for today’s cupcakes.

Be sure to read that helpful post!

How to Make Swirled Frosting

Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Frosting. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

This is a great go-to chocolate cupcake recipe you will use over and over again. Far superior to anything from a box!

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Classic Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

A rich, tender homemade chocolate cupcake topped with my favorite vanilla frosting. You'll find every excuse to make this classic cupcake over and over again!

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (42g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder1
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature2
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable or canola oil (melted coconut oil works too)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, room temperature3

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 - 5 cups (480-600g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream4
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste
  • sprinkles5

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners - this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Whisk the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until completely smooth. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then half of the buttermilk. Gently whisk - about 5 stirs. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir until *just* combined; do not overmix. The batter will be a little thin.
  3. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners - fill only halfway to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake in batches for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  4. Make the frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add 4 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  5. Frost cooled cupcakes however you'd like. I used Wilton 1M piping tip. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Leftover prepared cupcakes can be stored covered tightly at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
  6. Make ahead tip: Prepare cupcakes 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and frost the day of serving. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.

Additional Notes:

  1. Do not use dutch processed cocoa. Dutch process is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids and therefore will not react with the alkaline baking soda in the batter. Natural unsweetened, which is an acidic ingredient, is paired with the brown sugar (also acidic) in this specific cupcake recipe to react with baking soda and maintain the proper balance of acid and alkaline as the cupcakes bake.
  2. Room temperature eggs are required for the cupcakes. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, put them in a glass of warm water for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Buttermilk is required for this recipe. If you do not have buttermilk, make your own by mixing 1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. For the frosting, heavy cream or half-and-half will give your frosting the creamiest texture. You can use milk instead, keeping in mind that the frosting won't be as creamy.
  5. I bought these rainbow sprinkles from Walmart (Wilton brand), but also love to buy them in bulk here.

For Swirled Frosting: if you wish to frost your chocolate cupcakes with swirled frosting as pictured above, please see this cupcake recipe to obtain the correct amounts (and recipes) for the vanilla and chocolate frostings. Then, see this post to learn how I swirled them.

For a cake: Use a 9 inch cake pan. Fill only halfway – there will be extra batter to make some cupcakes. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for around 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Here is a recipe for a chocolate layer cake.

For mini cupcakes: For around 36 mini cupcakes, line mini cupcake pans with liners or spray with nonstick spray. Prepare cupcakes and frosting as directed. Bake mini cupcakes for 12-13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Adapted from my Death by Chocolate Cupcakes

© 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.

 

Looking for that perfect vanilla cupcake recipe? Try my Very Vanilla Cupcakes.

Very Vanilla Cupcakes by sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

Or even my Ultimate Marble Cupcakes.

Marble Cupcakes by sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

See more cupcake recipe ideas.

 

 

 

   

295 Responses to “Classic Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting.”

  1. #
    181
    ivyposted April 10, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Hi there! I’ve tried this recipe last easter and my kids love them! Its really soft and fluffy and not so sweet which i like it the most! Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    Reply

  2. #
    182
    jmickposted April 16, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    loved the cupcakes so much had to make a second batch (which is cooling now). Going to frost this batch with chocolate cream cheese frosting! ! Can’t wait

    Reply

  3. #
    183
    Alexandriaposted April 24, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Hey Sally! I made these the other day for my friend’s birthday and he LOVED them.

    I am doing a bake sale this weekend and wanted to spice things up a bit by making Mayan Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes. I’ll be adding some cinnamon, chili powder and cayenne to this recipe. Before I do this I have a few questions- Do you think I’ll have to change any part of the recipe? Also, do you maybe have any suggestions on to how much of each spice I should add?

    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes!!

    Alexandria

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on April 27th, 2015 at 9:31 am

      Alexandria– I’m just getting to this question because I was away on vacation. Not sure if you tried them out already, but I think your addition of spices for the spiced chocolate cupcakes is a great idea. I would start with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of the other two.

      Reply

  4. #
    184
    Amyposted April 28, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Mine turned out way to moist!!?

    Reply

  5. #
    185
    Nikiposted April 29, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I made these for my daughter’s 4th birthday this weekend. After the family fell in love with your very vanilla cupcakes I turned to you again for a chocolate recipe. This did not disappoint!! I’ve found my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe now. Thanks!!

    Reply

  6. #
    186
    HimuraMaiposted May 7, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    A bit much chocolate according my brother. But otherwise very good.

    Reply

  7. #
    187
    Cherieposted May 7, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Sally, may I use cake flour in place of all purpose flour? (Same weight?) Thanks!! :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on May 8th, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      I fear the cupcakes will be *too* light. But it is worth a try. Add 2 extra Tbsp of (cake) flour.

      Reply

  8. #
    188
    Hamsterposted May 15, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Can you use milk instead of buttermilk? I can’t find any buttermilk in any grocery stores.

    Reply

    • Hamsterreplied on May 15th, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      I just saw your buttermilk tip-thanks!

      Reply

  9. #
    189
    Ashposted May 19, 2015 at 5:23 am

    Hey Sally, how are you? If I wanted to fill these with Nutella, would the cupcake rise around the Nutella if I put a scoop on the mixture before putting in the oven? Or would it be best to scoop out after baking? Thanks.

    Reply

  10. #
    190
    Teresaposted May 20, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    I have salted butter, can I use that and leave out the extra salt?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on May 21st, 2015 at 7:40 am

      Yes.

      Reply

  11. #
    191
    Natalieposted May 21, 2015 at 7:58 am

    You’re not lying about finding any excuse to make these! I was desperate for a cupcake recipe that used oil instead of butter (butter costs a fortune in Japan where I live and when I have to shell out for the frosting I want to save on the cake) but I also need the recipe to be in grams, so I tried these, not sure how they would turn out. That was December last year and I keep making them any chance I get. At Christmas we made the frosting green and piped it high like christmas trees, for valentines I did red frosting like roses. I’m about to make these for the 5th time this year and I just wanted to say thank you so much for the recipe (adding cream and salt to the frosting was a revelation!) Sally I think you’re just brilliant and I have no idea how you come up with so many recipes. I love love love your chocolate chip cookies too. The thing is, the recipes I’ve tried so far are so good that I don’t see the need to try others!! :S Doesn’t stop me reading though! Thanks again!! 

    Reply

  12. #
    192
    Nicola Phillipsposted May 22, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    I just want to tell you I love love your site some much.thank you for taking the time out to post.

    Reply

  13. #
    193
    annaposted May 25, 2015 at 3:33 am

    i made these cupcakes and icing this weekend and they were a huge success!!!! what a great recipe! i piped the icing with a 1M wilton piping tip and i found that there was just a bit too much icing per cupcake. My husband, on the other hand, and everyone i served them to absolutely disagreed with me! i’m going to try and make them again this weekend with a different icing tip

    Reply

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