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. Hi! I recently made Halloween themed cupcakes and used this frosting. I haven’t made these cupcakes, yet. The frosting was delectable! I shared my Halloween cupcakes with the frosting with friends, of course, and they all wanted their own spoonful of the frosting on the side!

  2. I made a double batch of these on the weekend. Frosting was delicious as was the batter. But the cupcakes came out way too crumbly for my liking. Will keep researching for the best chocolate cupcake recipe 🙂

  3. These were a big hit with my friends. The chocolate frosting was delicious and many people commented that while they usually don’t like frosting, they loved this recipe. Thanks!

  4. Sally,

    I can not thank you enough for this recipe. My husband and I are now addicted to these cupcakes, and we are not really sweet tooth people, especially me not liking anything baked with chocolate. These cupcakes are heavenly!

  5. Made these as mini cupcakes a few days ago. They were so moist and light. It was an immediate hit. The only prob was that they all overflowed. Probably I over filled the cases?? But overall a great recipe

  6. I used the frosting recipe for a different batch of cupcakes that i made, and they were delicious! The instructions were easy to follow and the frosting was unbelievably rich, dark chocolatey, and creamy–suited the cupcakes perfectly 🙂 Thanks!

  7. I consider myself a connoisseur of all things chocolate cake, and am super picky about the frosting. Too many good cakes are ruined by fluffy, flavorless, or greasy frostings. If you’re into fudgy, dense frostings, look no further! When I licked the beater (because, come on) I paused, did a little dance, and yelled to my husband, “I finally found the perfect chocolate frosting!” He doesn’t even really care for chocolate, and even he was saying, “wow, this is some really good frosting.” I am going to admit I didn’t try the cake recipe this time because I was frosting a cake I already had on hand in my freezer, but given the insanity of this frosting, I am definitely making the cake for my next birthday occasion – or tomorrow.

  8. What I like most about Sally’s blog is that she writes her recipes so carefully. If you read through the recipe, everything is literally written in order when it should be used.

    Sally, these are the best homemade chocolate cupcakes. I’ve made them over a dozen times and my kids love them.

  9. This recipe is definitely the best chocolate cupcake recipe I have ever made. Works every time, and always soooooooooo good

  10. I made a batch today for testing. I planed to make this on my 7 years old’ birthday. It tastes very chocolate and I like it, however, I think my son and his friends might prefer something sweeter. I will try the chocolate triple layer cake soon and will let you know the result.

  11. these are the best cupcakes ever ! thank you so much for sharing such amazing recipes. love and prayers from pakistan

  12. Brenda Oliveira says:

    I made them today (without the frosting) and just tried one. OMG. They’re super fluffy and moist, the chocolate tastes delicious (but not as strong and chocolaty as I thought it would be). And they aren’t too sweet, which I think it’s perfect.
    Thank you for the recipe!

  13. I just made this cupcakes and had to let you know that you are my cupcake guru. These are the most amazing cupcakes and the frosting is supurb. I almost hate to bring them to the birthday party. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  14. Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe! The cupcakes were moist, delicious and really perfect! This was the first time my friend and I made cupcakes, and we were absolutely delighted. 🙂

  15. Omg!! I am happy beyond words! This is the best cupcakes recipe ever!!i tried many recipes before and your recipe is the greatest of all!!! Thank you very very much!!!!! 😀 tender crumbs,very chocalatey, and beautiful tops! Thumbs up!

  16. Wowww…these cupcakes are sooo good. I’ve already made them twice and so pleased with the results. Tender crumb, oh-so chocolatey – it’s like a cross between a fudge brownie and a sponge cake. On my 2nd attempt, I halved the sugar and added dried blackcurrants for little bursts of acidity and sweetness. Gorgeous!

  17. Hello Sally. This is the second time I try one of your recipes. Thanks for so many experiments… the chocolate flavor is very intense, super yummy.
    Could you give me a little advice, how much should I fill the liners? I distributed the batter evenly, but had to trim the cupcake top a little bit before I frosted them.

    1. Lori, I suggest filling each 2/3 of the way full. This should help!

  18. I made these cupcakes yesterday for my friends b’day, I also made your Very Vanilla Cupcakes & just like these babies..they were delicious! I made them with a strawberry flavoured whipped chocolate ganache. Everyone said they were yummy.

  19. I have made Sally’s chocolate layer cake a few times now & I always get compliments on how moist and tasty it is, I layered it with Sally’s other beautiful creation.. The cake in the pinata cake recipe, I made them both in an 9×13″ pan and it was perfect! Best cake I have ever made, I wish we could share pics on here as I then piped it a purple Rosette cake for a close friends 16th b’day party, She loved it! 🙂

  20. 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 🙂

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

  21. 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

  22. 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!

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

  24. 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!!!

  25. Cheryl (aka lover of Sally's site, I tell all of my friends about you!) says:

    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? 

    1. 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.

  26. 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. 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 ☺

  28. Michala ctaven says:

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

  29. 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!

  30. 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..

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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