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 powder*
  • 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 temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable oil (melted coconut oil works too)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk*

Vanilla Frosting

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

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners - this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.

Make the cupcakes: In a large bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, 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 stir - about 5 stirs. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir until *just* combined; do not overmix. The batter won't be very thick.

Pour/spoon the batter into the liners - fill only halfway to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake in batches for 18-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Mini cupcakes will take about 10 minutes, same oven temperature.

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 confectioners' sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.

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. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator up to 5.

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. 

Adapted from my Death by Chocolate Cupcakes

To Turn Into a Cake: Use a 9 inch cake pan. Fill only halfway – there will be extra batter to make some cupcakes. I am unsure of the exact bake time for the cake. Around the 30 minute mark. 350F temperature.

*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.

*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.

*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.

*For the frosting, heavy cream or half-and-half will give your frosting the creamiest texture. You may use milk instead, keeping in mind the frosting won't be as creamy.

*I bought these rainbow sprinkles from Walmart (Wilton brand), but also love to buy them in bulk here

© 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

 

You just can’t beat a classic, and it doesn’t get much better than this!

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

 

 

See more cupcake recipe ideas.

 

 

 

   

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

  1. #
    121
    Romaliposted December 17, 2014 at 2:11 am

    Looks fab. Would you be able to help me out with baking temperature and time for mini cupcakes pls. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 17th, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Mini cupcakes will take about 10 minutes, same oven temperature.

      Reply

  2. #
    122
    carolineposted December 17, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Can you freeze the frosting? If so, in what, and how?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 17th, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      I don’t suggest it for this frosting recipe.

      Reply

  3. #
    123
    Stacieposted December 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

    A perfect cake! Thanks for posting this recipe.

    Reply

  4. #
    124
    Bevposted December 22, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Hi Sally,

    can i use canola Oil instead of Veg oiL?

    Thanks!
    Bev

    Reply

  5. #
    125
    Deeptiposted December 22, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Hi Sally,

    I plan to make these cupcakes today. Just had a small doubt. If 1/2 cup is 42 grams cocoa powder then why is 1/2 cup sugar 100 grams ?

    Thanks.
    Deepti

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 22nd, 2014 at 8:12 am

      They weigh different amounts. Sugar is heavier.

      Reply

  6. #
    126
    Cherieposted December 26, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks for the recipe Sally! I made these cupcakes for my daughter’s first birthday and they were a hit! :)

    Reply

  7. #
    127
    Carolposted December 30, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Love your website. I just have a quick question. Where did you find those beautiful sprinkles for the cupcakes in your first photo? Did you make them? The colors are so lovely and bright. Thanks for posting such inspiring recipes.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 31st, 2014 at 7:37 am

      Hi Carol! *I bought these rainbow sprinkles from Walmart (Wilton brand), but also love to buy them in bulk here.

      Reply

  8. #
    128
    Aliceposted January 1, 2015 at 4:49 am

    Thank you Sally for such a wonderful recipe! I was looking for a moist and super chocolatey cupcake recipe and this recipe worked out perfectly!!! Your buttercream frosting recipe is hands-down the best I’ve ever tried! I also like that you include the weight measurements of ingredients! I look forward to trying more recipes from your blog. Happy new year!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 1st, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      Happy new year Alice!

      Reply

  9. #
    129
    kayposted January 3, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    I tried these cupcakes last night and followed the recipe step by step, but they turned out a bit dry yet still had good flavor. Just curious what to do next time….

    Reply

  10. #
    130
    Alexposted January 5, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Hi,
    What is the best way to store iced cupcakes? I’m making these Friday afternoon for my sister’s shower Saturday.
    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 5th, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator up to 5.

      Reply

  11. #
    131
    Michelle Johnsonposted January 6, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Hi Sally!
    I made these cupcakes and my centers fell in, however I live in high altitude. Would that be the problem? Can you provide me high altitude directions? Also my icing seemed to get dry and cranky? Suggestions?

    Reply

  12. #
    132
    Ellaposted January 7, 2015 at 1:12 am

    For the classic choc cupcakes with vanilla icing can i use gluten free flour?

    Reply

  13. #
    133
    S.W.posted January 7, 2015 at 4:26 am

    Just wanted to say that I was a professional baker and cake decorator by trade, and this recipe is better than the chocolate cupcakes we sold. The crumb on this is perfect. This is now my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe… I can’t wait until I can try it in a 9 inch pan. For reference, I used King Arthur Flour and coconut oil.

    Reply

  14. #
    134
    Cathleeneposted January 9, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Hi Sally,

    I will be trying your cupcake. Can I add a coloring on the icing? It won’t harm the consistency?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 9th, 2015 at 8:32 am

      Yes you may add some food coloring to the frosting Cathleen; it won’t alter the consistency.

      Reply

  15. #
    135
    Cassieposted January 13, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Can you make the frosting several days ahead of time and keep in fridge? Would like to make the frosting tomorrow for the party on Saturday. Thanks!!!!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 13th, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      Weds – Saturday is just fine. Cover tightly and keep in the refrigerator then allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before using on Saturday.

      Reply

  16. #
    136
    Kristiposted January 19, 2015 at 12:32 am

    For the icing do i add heavy cream or heavy whipping cream

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 19th, 2015 at 7:37 am

      They are practically the same liquid, only slight difference in fat content. I use them interchangeably in all recipes including frosting.

      Reply

  17. #
    137
    Ashleyposted January 20, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Sally, thank you so much for all your delicious recipes! Your chocolate cupcakes (though with your dark chocolate frosting) were yet another hit and got response like ‘Amazing…Best cupcake ever….This is better than what they sell at shops.” I will never use another recipe again!!

    Reply

  18. #
    138
    Dakota schmukiposted January 21, 2015 at 8:23 am

    What brand of cocoa powder do you use? ?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 21st, 2015 at 9:04 am

      Hershey’s or Trader Joes

      Reply

      • Dakota Schmukireplied on January 21st, 2015 at 3:11 pm

        I used that one too but the cake had a slight funny taste to it :/ any tips as to why that happened? I would like to fix it so I can enjoy your amazing cupcakes :)

  19. #
    139
    Jojeeposted January 25, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Hey Sally!
    Made these cupcakes today and they turned out OH SO BRILLIANTLY YUMMY! :D
    Thankyou a gazzilion times for the recipe ^_^

    Reply

  20. #
    140
    Pei Linposted January 26, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I love your recipe but i want to ask would it be as perfect if i use this same recipe to make chocolate cake? the whole cake?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 26th, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      To Turn Into a Cake: Use a 9 inch cake pan. Fill only halfway – there will be extra batter to make some cupcakes. I am unsure of the exact bake time for the cake. Around the 30 minute mark. 350F temperature.

      Reply

      • Pei Linreplied on January 26th, 2015 at 5:04 pm

        Thank you! I will try it.

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