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 most flavorful, moist chocolate cupcakes I've ever made!

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.

The most flavorful, moist chocolate cupcakes I've ever made!

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 most flavorful, moist chocolate cupcakes I've ever made!

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

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

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

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

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Print Recipe

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!



  • 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


  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

Or even my Ultimate Marble Cupcakes.

Marble Cupcakes by

See more cupcake recipe ideas.

FAVORITE Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting
My favorite homemade chocolate cupcake recipe-- frosted two ways!





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

  1. #
    *Layla*posted June 28, 2015 at 10:45 am

    I just love your recipe. 
    How can I substitute eggs in this recipe?
    I have to make eggless chocolate cupcakes for a bday, and all the other recipes on the ‘net use way too little cocoa powder and I’m afraid it just wont be chocolatey enough. But this though, is perfect.
    Please answer somebody!!!


    • Jessicareplied on August 10th, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      1/3 cup applesauce  or 1/4 cup plain yogurt per 1 egg.  The density of the yogurt may affect the texture of the cupcake. Using plain applesauce shouldn’t affect the consistency too much or the flavor. Hope that helps… Good luck!


  2. #
    Germaineposted July 2, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Tried this today and the cupcakes taste amazing =)


  3. #
    Kristinposted July 2, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Hello Sally! Happy Fourth of July!! My most favorite holiday ever!! Can I double both of these recipes? Or should I make them twice separately?


    • Sallyreplied on July 2nd, 2015 at 11:27 am

      Happy 4th to you Kristin! Doubling is *fine* but I always just make two separate batches. This helps me to avoid overmixing (which is likely when you are working with more batter).


      • Kristinreplied on July 2nd, 2015 at 11:51 am

        Thanks! I have a 24 cupcake pan. (SOOO excited to use) Can I pour one batch of batter in the baking cups and let them sit out while I make the second batter?

        • Sallyreplied on July 2nd, 2015 at 12:41 pm

          Yes, that would be fine!

  4. #
    Zonishposted July 5, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Hi Sally.
    I’m about to try out this recipe and instead of using brown sugar I’m only going to be using white sugar. I’m confused about how much white sugar I should use? Right now I’m just out of brown sugar so hoping this works out. 


  5. #
    Lyndseyposted July 5, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Sally

    Can you use sunflower oil instead of the vegetable or canola oil?

    Thanks :o) 


    • Sallyreplied on July 6th, 2015 at 8:06 am

      That would be fine.


  6. #
    Rachelposted July 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Can I use melted butter instead of oil?  I do not have any oil on hand.


    • Rachelreplied on July 6th, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      I just made these with my 3 year old and they are FANTASTIC!!  Thank you for the recipe!


  7. #
    Louisaposted July 6, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Can I use cake flour instead of all purpose flour?
    If so, will it make any difference?


    • Sallyreplied on July 7th, 2015 at 7:02 am

      With cake flour, the cupcakes could be *too* light. But it is worth a try. Add 2 extra Tbsp of (cake) flour.


  8. #
    Alice Simardposted July 8, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    omg these cup lee were sooooooo good thanks for this amazing recipe


  9. #
    Lisaposted July 8, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    These look delicious and simple! I will make them for my son’s birthday. Just need to know if the recipe doubles easily…never sure when baking?


    • Lisareplied on July 8th, 2015 at 9:29 pm

      Sorry just saw you had already responded to this question. Thanks!


  10. #
    Lianeposted July 10, 2015 at 1:13 am

    I just made a half recipe of these and they turned out a bit salty.  Any ideas why that would be?  The texture was fluffy and light!  


  11. #
    Marwaposted July 11, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    The frosting seems delicious! But everytime I try making a frosting it doesn’t turn out smooth:( the powdered sugar feels crispy in the mouth! What do you think the problem is?


    • Beckareplied on July 15th, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      You might want to try sifting the powdered sugar before adding to the mixer, if you haven’t already. :)


  12. #
    Zandraposted July 16, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I made the chocolate cupcakes using coconut oil and they turn out wonderful. My family loved them. I didn’t use the frosting because I made a oreo buttercream frosting that worked  just fine.


  13. #
    Lucyposted July 16, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Sally! I’m so happy to see that you’ve posted something including oil (I never have butter at home), and I’m planning on making these soon. Recently, I came across a recipe involving raw cookie dough as a cupcake filling, and I want to try that out with these delicious-looking cupcakes. If I were to make this cupcake batter, freeze cookie dough, and put it on top of the batter, will the cupcakes be filled with cookie dough? Thanks! :)


    • Sallyreplied on July 17th, 2015 at 7:30 am

      Lucy, I’ve never made cookie dough cupcakes like that but it sounds right. I’m not entirely sure. If that’s what the recipe suggests, then try it out.


      • Lucyreplied on July 17th, 2015 at 10:04 am

        Thanks! :)

      • Lucyreplied on July 26th, 2015 at 12:46 pm

        Hi Sally! I did this without the cookie dough and the cupcakes were delicious. They reminded me of brownies and were very rich in flavour. I will be using this recipe again! 

  14. #
    Clairaposted July 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Hi, I made thees cupcakes and they tasted fabulous! A bit of a weird thing happened though – a couple of the cupcakes had a slightly hard/gooey/sticky whitish blob on the bottom. The blob was pretty small (dime-sized or less), but still surprising in a cupcake! Do you think maybe that was because of the egg? I thought the wet mixture looked pretty smooth but perhaps I could stand to mix it a little more? Thanks for any help you can give!


    • Sallyreplied on July 19th, 2015 at 11:33 am

      Perhaps it was egg not thoroughly mixed in the batter? I’m a little unsure. Mix it a little more next time and maybe add a minute to the bake time.


  15. #
    fionaposted July 19, 2015 at 11:11 am

    thanks Sally for sharing this lovely and yummy recipe on the chocolate cupcake.  i am a novice at baking, and had to make some cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday.  she requested chocolate cupcakes to bring to school for sharing, so we found you site, and decided to try it.  double to portions and made 24 cupcakes in total.  we love the taste.


  16. #
    Rubyposted July 25, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    I made them yesterday and they turned out amazing. But when I tried them today they tasted a little dry. How can I make this little more moist or retain the moisture.
    Secondly, can I put chocolate chips in this. If so how much? Any thing else i need to change if I am adding the chips?
    Thanks. I’m really a novice baker… Love your recipes.. So easy and comes out so good 


    • Sallyreplied on July 27th, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Try reducing the amount of flour by 2-3 Tablespoons. Also, make sure you are storing them in an airtight container overnight. For chocolate chips, how about adding around a cup?


  17. #
    Darleneposted July 27, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I made these for my nieces and nephew and they were a hit and believe me that’s an accomplishment!


  18. #
    Lucyposted July 28, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Hi Sally! I would like to bake this into a cake. Would I need to spray the pan, or grease it? Thanks! 


    • Sallyreplied on July 28th, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      Either work!


      • Lucyreplied on July 28th, 2015 at 9:30 pm

        Thanks! :)

  19. #
    MKposted July 30, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Wow! These cupcakes were delicious! Super moist, light and just perfect! My little girl who loves to bake, made these for a play date and were a hit with all her friends and their mums!! 
    Love your recipes! God bless!❤️


  20. #
    Haleyposted August 4, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I made these cupcakes and loved them! But the butercream recipe is the best part! I still use it everytime i bake cakes! Love the addition of heavy cream which is atypical for a buttercream recipe 


  21. #
    Sarahposted August 6, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Hi Sally – I recently used this vanilla icing recipe on some vanilla cupcakes and I thought it turned out good! However, the next day some people tried them and complained that the icing was too grainy. Any thoughts on why this would happen or how to prevent it? My butter was room temperature, and I used half and half instead of heavy cream (all I had). Would it be possible to overmix the icing if I left it mixing longer? Thanks!


    • Sallyreplied on August 7th, 2015 at 8:55 am

      Grainy icing– hmm. And you’re using confectioners’ sugar? Try sifting it. This will help! Don’t over-beat the frosting.


  22. #
    Maryposted August 7, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Is there a substitute for the butter milk?


    • Maryreplied on August 7th, 2015 at 11:03 am

      and if i use the substitute will the cupcakes taste different?


  23. #
    kateposted August 14, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    sorry for posting it twice!!! my computer is going crazy :p ;D


  24. #
    claireposted August 15, 2015 at 1:58 am

    I made these cupcakes, and they were yummy!!! i will make them again!!! thanks for sharing!


  25. #
    krupaposted August 17, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I’m so excited to read this, because I was searching for a website with all the recipes at one place. This is so so cool! And you give awesome tips also which clears all my doubts (which no other website does). I’m gonna try the chocolate cupcake and soon will let you know how it comes out(fingers crossed).
    Thank you so much for posting.
    And the pictures are out of the world!!! <3 <3 <3


  26. #
    Pamela Penmanposted August 19, 2015 at 8:20 am

    These are absolutely fantastic!!!!  Not greasy which I really appreciate, and not too sweet.  Very chocolatey!  Question:  how would greek yogurt plus milk substitute for the buttermilk??  If you think that would work, in what measurement?  Thanks!!!


  27. #
    Erinposted September 13, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    I made these tonight for my boyfriend’s birthday. The flavor was great, but the top of the cupcake was crispy like a brownie, and the middle was sunken in. Not sure what I did wrong. :/


  28. #
    Rhythmposted September 23, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I tried these today and the cupcakes were beautiful! Super soft and spongy! I halved the recipe and also substituted curd whey for buttermilk. They turned out great! Thank you!


    • Rhythmreplied on September 23rd, 2015 at 9:15 am

      One more small substitution I made was using sugarcane jaggery instead of brown sugar. 


  29. #
    Lalposted September 27, 2015 at 3:42 am


    The cupcakes came out of the oven with small “lava like” explosions on the top and no “leg” under.
    They have a mushroom top like a regular cupcake should have – but nothing underneath! 

    I have made these cupcakes maby a hundred times and this never happend!

    What went wrong?!?!


  30. #
    Jennieposted October 2, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Hi Sally
    I’m so glad I found an easy cupcake recipe to make! Saves me buying them for $35/dozen. I had a few issues so I’m just brainstorming what could have gone wrong so I don’t make the same mistakes next time. The cupcakes are a bit crunchy (like a brownie) on top, and they are sunken in. They are also sticking to the liners. There are a few things that could be a factor so just maybe let me know :) 
    The cupcake liners are themed ones
    The baking soda is definitely older than 6 months
    As far as I could tell the cocoa was not Dutch processed or alkalizer but I did buy it from bulk barn
    Should I be convection baking or just regular bake?


  31. #
    Tamaraposted October 4, 2015 at 9:04 am

    I converted these cupcakes to low carb for my 7 year old son who is a Type 1 Diabetic. I used Robin Hood Omega 3 + Fibre (only 17 carbs per 1/4 cup) and used Splenda & Splenda Brown Sugar Blend in place of the regular sugar/brown sugar. My husband and kids said they were fantastic! Now to make them gluten free for me! Thanks for this recipe!!!


  32. #
    Mayaposted October 22, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    If I used dutch-processed cocoa powder, but added lemon juice or vinegar for extra acidity, do you think it would work? 


  33. #
    judithposted October 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    I am going to make these cup cakes they look so good. Twin 8 year sgrandsons are having a halloween party I have already made the scary red backed spiders and scary eyeballs from utube to go on top of butter cream. I live in NewZealand……Thankyou Sally for your wonderful website


  34. #
    Hannahposted October 25, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Hi! I really want to make the frosting for pumpkin cupcakes for Halloween. I’m only 14 so is there any tips because I see people saying there where problems with the frosting coming out smooth. Thanks


    • Sallyreplied on October 25th, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Hi Hannah! This is my go-to recipe for vanilla frosting. I must make it at least once a week for different recipes and events. As long as you beat it long enough, there are no problems with it not being smooth and creamy. Read through the directions before beginning too.


  35. #
    Carlyposted October 26, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Sally. We love your cupcakes in our house. I have just made a batch of these delicious chocolate cupcakes (with your milk chocolate frosting as requested by my 4 year old) for an afternoon tea at my daughter’s school. My two year old tried one just now and the paper is sticking to the cupcake and everything is crumbling into a glorious mess. Is there a quick fix for this cupcake crisis that you know of? I put them into the fridge (although I really didn’t want to), just to hard them up to help the little hands have a better chance of eating an actual cupcake but if you know a way to save them I would love to hear it! Thank you.


    • Sallyreplied on October 27th, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      Carly, thank you so much! I’m so sorry that these cupcakes are too crumbly. Try greasing and lightly flouring the cupcake liners. Also, try reducing the baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon. This should help.


  36. #
    Dianaposted October 27, 2015 at 11:17 am

    This recipe is perfect! Great chocolate flavor, moist and not crumbly! Perfect cupcake. Thank you!


  37. #
    Allisonposted October 29, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Hi! I am mak I ng these to do mummy halloween cupcakes. Do you think the icing will withstand light decorating? I want to try something different than just buttercream. Thank you!


    • Sallyreplied on October 29th, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Yes, definitely.


  38. #
    Jenna Berryposted October 29, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    The flavor of these is great, but the texture is much closer to a brownie for my batch. Any thoughts as to what I could have done wrong? I’m an experienced baker and followed the recipe. Maybe overmixed?


  39. #
    Annposted November 1, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Hi! I am new in baking and I’ve made a pretty couple of successfull desserts. I would like to try this cupcake on my baby’s upcoming birthday. But I would like to ask if it is possible to do this without baking soda? Will it have the same taste or out come? I’ve been looking for baking soda in groceries here in Qatar but I just could not find one. I hope you could suggest a good alternative. Thanks.


  40. #
    Pamposted November 20, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Good taste but my cupcakes were a bit dry???  Measured all the dry ingredients by weight, used canola oil.  Did not over mix.  Any ideas as to why they would have been dry?  I’d like to use this recipe again – the frosting was FABULOUS.  Thanks!


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