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. 

Other chocolate desserts to make: chocolate cream cheese bundt cakesuper moist chocolate cupcakes, favorite chocolate buttercream, triple chocolate muffins, chocolate hand pies, salted dark chocolate cookies, chocolate sugar cookies, peanut butter chocolate lava cakes, and double chocolate crinkle cookies.


Death by Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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


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* (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
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk*

Dark Chocolate Frosting

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


  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


  1. Flour: Using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour is OK. I find the cupcakes to be slightly softer using cake flour.
  2. Eggs: 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.
  3. Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the cupcakes won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
  4. Milk Chocolate Frosting: Try my Milk Chocolate Frosting if you’re not a fan of dark chocolate.
  5. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: death by chocolate cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes


  1. Ilaria's Perfect Recipes says:

    I found this recipe searching on google because I was looking for some good chocholate cupcakes to bring to my little son’s friends and the description seemed to fit my needs, I made them and It was a success! They really loved them!
    For the frosting I used your Nutella version instead and it was awesome too!
    Thank you so much Sally! You’re doing an amazing job! You’re so good in writing and in taking pictures and the recipes are really so good as they seems!
    Finally a blog with REAL awesome content! I’m so happy to have found you!
    Bye from Italy 😉

    1. Thank you for the kind comment. I truly appreciate every word! I’m so happy these cupcakes were a big success. They always are with us too! That nutella frosting is at the top of my list. I love it with most all cupcakes!

  2. Just made the cupcakes from your recipe and they are to die for! Thanks a mil!

  3. Hi Sally – I only have dutch processed cocoa powder, and lots of it. I read through all the comments and saw that you said it would make a difference, how so? I’d hate to have to go out and buy regular unsweetened cocoa powder.

    1. Hi Diana – dutched cocoa has been neutralized, removing its acidity. You need the acidity in natural cocoa in order for these cupcakes to bake up properly.

  4. Jamie | Jamie's Recipes says:

    These are amazing (as you are well aware of)! I used Ghirardelli 70% baking chocolate and did a AP-flour and cake flour combo -which took a few test
    My friends and family raved. This is a new favorite for sure! Thank you.

    I am baking up some minis tonight to bring to my daughter’s school to surprise the teachers tomorrow for Valentine’s day.

  5. I made this frosting recipe and it was fantastic! I used Dutch processed cocoa powder. Now I want to try the cupcake recipe as well because the frosting was so delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi Sally, thanks for a great recipe, made these today and they are just gorgeous. The crumb is very nice and they’re not too sweet. Some questions… Do they freeze well? And if I can’t get heavy cream can I use single/pouring cream instead in the frosting? I’d love to use these as a wedding cupcake but not sure how they will keep. Also – do you think making a little hole and adding a frozen raspberry before frosting would work? Thought it might cut through the chocolatety goodness nicely,

    1. Hey Carrie! I’m so happy you’re pleased with these cupcakes. They do freeze well, but they definitely do not taste as good compared to fresh. You may use single cream (or even milk) for the frosting yes. A frozen raspberry in the center would be great!

  7. These were absolutely delicious. I made a batch a week ago and made a quadruple batch this evening. To die for chocolately goodness. I used bittersweet chocolate and changed nothing elae. Had such a great balance of texture, sweetness, and melt in your mouth cocoa deliciousness. Hands down the best chocolate cupcake and frosting recipe out there. Im a skilled baker, but always looking to try new recipes. So glad I stumbled on this. Your blog looks scrumptious.

  8. I JUST made these and they are PERFECT. After eating one (three), I had no desire in mind to alter the recipe in any way! In fact, I want to make this recipe for a cake the next time I need a chocolate fix. This recipe is by far now my official chocolate recipe to go to. I have tried about 8 variations of regular chocolate recipes, and they just didn’t have the the oompf like these do! I am off to look at Sally’s other recipes now 🙂 Thank you Sally 🙂

  9. I am from Singapore and I made these lovely cupcakes. They were the best chocolate muffins I’ve ever ever made. My 3year old daughter who is a huge chocolate fan but not a cupcake lover finished one in less than 5 min. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. OMG! I think I landed in cupcake heaven!
    I looooooovvvve the cupcake batter and could have eaten it right out of the bowl.
    I exchanged the vanilla extract with vanilla extract powder, because I couldn’t find the normal vanilla extract in my country and 2 days weren’t enough days to make my own.

    Thank you very much for posting this recipe, I certainly will come back for it!

  11. Hi Raquel! I use the Wilton #12 tip. Place it in the center of the cupcake and squeeze/lift up.

  12. I have been trying to find a killer chocolate cupcake recipe for a few years… and FINALLY, I’ve found it! Others have commented that it’s more like a muffin – yeah, sorta. I mean, it’s dense and moist and amazingly delicious… to die for! I threw some butter cream frosting on top of these babies, and savored every bite. I’m pretty sure these are the cupcakes that will be served in Heaven. Just sayin’.

  13. I made this twice already! I just bake the second one today. My family loves it! Today is much better than the last time. May be because I did not over mixed it. It’s more on cupcake now! Practice makes perfect! Thank you so much for this recipe.

  14. love your frostings. They whip up so fluffy and frost the cupcakes so beautifully. Of course that would be nothing if the taste wasn’t amazing as well. Thanks!

  15. I made these as a birthday dessert just today and they were amazing! Everybody loved them. I followed all of the instructions and ingredients down to the tee except I had to use unsweetened baking chocolate instead of semi-sweet, but all it did was give them a richer & dark taste. Definitely gonna make these again 😀

  16. Do you think the pumpkin cream cheese frosting would be good on these too?

    1. Definitely!

  17. Just have these in the oven – Made a double batch. The batter tasted like chocolate mousse, I could have just eaten that. They smell so amazing, only a couple minutes left. Cannot wait to try them!

    Batter was a little lumpy, not to much to bother me but didn’t try and get the lumps out for fear of over mixing. This probably happened because of all the extra batter I had to mix because of the double batch.

  18. These sound amazing!! I need to make mini cupcakes, do you think this recipe will work? how many should i expect and for how long should I cook them?
    can I double the recipe?

    1. I suggest making two separate batches instead of doubling the recipe. And This recipe will yield about 30 mini cupcakes – about 10 minutes bake time.

  19. Hi, Sally. I made these the other day and the flavor was O-Mazing. Some of my family aren’t icing fans, so I topped them with chocolate ganache (with Amaretto liquor added to the ganache) and they are hands-down my favorite in terms of flavor. I did run into one problem though, and I wonder if you have any tips. The cupcakes spilled over the top of the cupcake holes when baking, so I had wide, flat tops instead of the tight, rounded tops like your picture. The baking powder was new, so I don’t think that was the problem. The only changes I made to your recipe were these: I added 1T of Amaretto liquor to the batter (2 would have been better flavor, I think) and I did not have cupcake liners so I sprayed the muffin tin with Baking Pam. Would either of those cause the spill-over/flat-top problem? Do you have any other ideas? Thank you for any help you can offer! I’m being honest when I write that these were the best tasting cupcakes I’ve EVER had.

  20. I think I’ve commented on these before but I just made them again and i have to say again: my favourite chocolate cupcakes! They are so, so rich and fudgy and perfect. And I got to dig my way through a MOUNTAIN of chocolate frosting before even getting to the cupcake. Hands down, best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever made! 🙂

  21. These cupcakes are the best.
    I made them today and added half a banana at the end.
    Absolutely fabulous.
    Thank you for sharing such a great recipe.

  22. best cupcakes ever!!!!! everybody loved them!!!!!!! thank u sooooo much for the recipe.

  23. Hands down THE best chocolate cupcake I have ever made. The cake was so soft and moist, with a really rich chocolatey taste. The mixture was a bit more runny than I think it was supposed to be but nonetheless the end product was delicious. Thank you for the recipe Sally!

  24. Just made this at 11pm at night…by 1 am I already frosted the cupcakes. They are indeed GOOD. this is truly DEATH BY CHOCOLATE . Glad I tried this and will certainly keep this recipe . I wanted to bring some to office for some colleagues but I live in tropical country where temperature is about 24-28 degrees Celsius. Quite warm. Will the frosting be able to hold for say 4 hours?

    1. It should hold, yes. If you can get them in a refrigerator during that time, it would be ideal. Thanks Cheryl!

      1. It did hold well! I took it out from the refrigerator at 7.30am and drove to work. Left in air-conditioned room but no refrigerator . Some ate the cupcakes at 3pm and frosting did not melt and taste great. Thank you once again.:-)

  25. I made these for my sons birthday, they are by far the most delicious cupcakes I have ever tasted. I will most definitely make these again. I made butter icing with blue colouring and peppermint essence. YUM!!

  26. I agree, the flavour was very good! I followed this recipe to the letter and they were very dry and crumbly. the reason why I chose this recipe is because I didn’t have any oil or applesauce. I think this recipe needs a little more liquid.

  27. I am making cupcakes for my cousins wedding and she had requested double chocolate. These can not get any more chocolaty!

    They made up super easy and turned our perfect! To top it off they are delicious.

    I am sure the Bride will be happy! Thank you for the great recipe.

  28. Made this today and I was happy with the outcome! Thanks

  29. Hi Sally , I wanted to thank you for this incredible cupcake recipe. I started by making just half of what the recipe called to test the flavor and it turned out superb. I just made another batch last night and guess what , all the cupcakes are gone. These cupcakes are so moist and rich in chocolate flavor. This is the best chocolate cupcake recipe 🙂

  30. I’ve tried many cupcake recipes and this is the darkest most moist cupcake of all. I write a recipe book and I haven’t come up with a recipe this good( I don’t copy)

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally