Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

These super moist chocolate cupcakes pack TONS of chocolate flavor in each cupcake wrapper! Made from simple everyday ingredients, this easy cupcake recipe will be your new favorite. For best results, use natural cocoa powder and buttermilk. These chocolate cupcakes taste completely over-the-top with chocolate buttercream!

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you need! Homemade, moist, rich, super chocolate flavor, and so easy to make with chocolate buttercream! Recipe on

I apologize if the word “moist” freaks you out. But there’s really no other way to describe a chocolate cupcake like this! Also, who watches How I Met Your Mother?! I feel like that clip is only funny to HIMYM fans. That’s my favorite episode!

Today we’re diving deep into what I like to call a “foundation recipe.” Basic chocolate cupcakes which are, indefinitely, anything but basic.

This is a solid base recipe that serves as a jumping off point for many others. Like my basic vanilla cupcakes recipe, these chocolate cupcakes hold a sacred spot in my baking repertoire. There will never be a reason to find a better version– this is THE chocolate cupcake recipe I use time and time again.

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you need! Homemade, moist, rich, super chocolate flavor, and so easy to make with chocolate buttercream! Recipe on

I shared the recipe 3 years ago, but I want to walk you through the process (1) with step-by-step pictures, (2) with careful explanations, (3) and I want to emphasize one VERY crucial instruction. If you skip this instruction, your entire batch will be ruined. Trust me, the evidence has landed in my trashcan time and time again. It’s not pretty.

Curious about other foundation recipes?

  1. Vanilla cupcakes and vanilla cake
  2. Sugar cookies and chocolate sugar cookies
  3. Chocolate cake (try this!!)
  4. Brownies

Today’s chocolate cupcakes are for true chocolate fans. I’m talking about those of you who don’t qualify an item as dessert unless there’s chocolate involved. Strawberry shortcake is a dessert impostor and forget about apple pie. That’s some sort of health food, right?

How to make chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream on

How to make chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream on

You need 2 bowls, 1 whisk, and 1 spatula. The base of these chocolate cupcakes– and what is responsible for the super-moist texture is oil. We’re not creaming butter here, so there is no need to break out the mixer. Though you can absolutely use a hand or stand mixer if it’s easier for you! We’re also achieving an incredibly moist texture with buttermilk. I don’t typically have buttermilk in the fridge, so I sour whole milk instead. Check out my recipe notes for how to do that one.

Another tip? Make sure you’re using natural unsweetened cocoa powder, not dutched cocoa. Why? Here’s the difference between dutch-process and natural cocoa powder. And if you really want to learn today, here is why I use both baking soda and baking powder in these chocolate cupcakes.

So there’s 1 bowl for dry ingredients and 1 bowl for wet ingredients. Gently mix the two together. The batter isn’t as thick as you would think. We don’t really want a super thick chocolate batter because that would yield a cupcake similar to brownies. Dense. We don’t want dense! We want spongey, cakey, and rich.

How to make chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream on

This Will Make or Break Your Recipe

Fill the cupcake liners only halfway full. Not 2/3, not 3/4, not all the way to the top. Half full. You will question yourself as you pour in the batter. Really? This is ALL that I’m using for each cupcake? The answer is yes, that is all you are using for each cupcake.

  • If you fill the liners too full, the cupcakes will overflow.
  • Too full = crisp mushroom tops
  • Too full = sinking in the center

Got that? Halfway full! Halfway full!

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you need! Homemade, moist, rich, super chocolate flavor, and so easy to make with chocolate buttercream! Recipe on

Now that the cupcakes are baked and your self control is fading quickly, it’s time to frost these babes. The frosting flavor is completely up to you. I have a plethora of options from chocolate buttercream and rainbow chip frosting to strawberry frosting, vanilla buttercream, salted caramel frosting, and cream cheese frosting. Keeping things monotone (though highly indulgent) with chocolate buttercream and a friendly dose of chocolate sprinkles.

And layer that buttercream on nice and tall. (used wilton 1M!)

The only chocolate cupcake recipe you need! Homemade, moist, rich, super chocolate flavor, and so easy to make with chocolate buttercream! Recipe on

I don’t normally reach for chocolate desserts if there’s a fruity one on the menu, but I would gladly unwrap one of these over any other choice.

By the way, this recipe transfers beautifully into cake pans to make a 6 inch cake!

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chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Made from simple everyday ingredients, these chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting will be your new favorite. For best results, use natural cocoa powder and buttermilk.


  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable or canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*



  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. Cupcakes: Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, 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 combined. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then half of the buttermilk. Gently whisk for a few seconds. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir until *just* combined; do not overmix. The batter will be thin.
  3. Pour or spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only halfway (this is imperative! only halfway!) to avoid spilling over the sides or sinking.
  4. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. I usually let them cool in the pan.
  5. Frost cooled cupcakes however you’d like. I used chocolate buttercream and Wilton 1M piping tip for these pictured cupcakes. Top with sprinkles, if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can 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. Frosting freezing instructions included in step 5.
  2. 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.
  3. Mini Cupcakes: Fill mini liners only halfway and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350°F (177°C). Yields about 3 dozen.
  4. Cake: Here’s a chocolate cake that is just as moist and chocolate-y.
  5. Why Room Temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information. If needed, you can use whole milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice instead of buttermilk. Fill a measuring cup with the lemon juice/vinegar then the rest with whole milk to reach 1/2 cup.

Keywords: cupcakes, chocolate, chocolate cupcakes, vanilla frosting

More of a vanilla person? Here are my favorite vanilla cupcakes!

Favorite go-to vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream on


  1. Made your chocolate cupcakes yesterday and cakes have turned out moist and amazing. Have not made any type of cake for over 20 years and these cupcakes are better than those selling at some cake shops. Also I used your chocolate buttercream recipe. Cakes look fantastic.

  2. Awesome recipe. I baked a cake for the first time in my life. I must admit the recipe is simple and easy to whole family loved it.thanka a ton

  3. I cannot believe I made such yummy cupcakes so easily. Thank you so much for posting this recipe!

  4. I made this and got to say this is my new go to chocolate cupcake recipe!

  5. I made these last night. So delicious, light and moist. So yummy. However, I also made your vanilla buttercream to top it off and it almost overtook the cupcake flavor and that’s all we could taste. Do you normally top it with buttercream icing? Would the chocolate buttercream complement it and not take away like I thought the vanilla did? I’d love to hear what you think!

    1. I’ve made them with both chocolate and vanilla buttercream as well as caramel frosting! It’s really your personal preference. You could also try just adding a small amount of frosting so there is less per cupcake.

  6. Since even large eggs vary in size, is there a certain amount of liquid you are looking for in your recipes in general?

    1. Each large is about 60g, so anywhere around there 🙂

  7. These were amazingggg!

  8. Hey!! I’m looking to make about 75 cupcakes for an event this week. So can this recipie be doubled or tripled to save time instead of mixing each batch separately? 

    1. Separate batches is ideal to prevent over or under-mixing, but you can try to double the recipe a few times out of convenience.

  9. Miss Sally, first thing I have to tell you that I just got my copy of your cookie addiction, and that book is IMPRESSIVE. You out so much thought into every little detail… It’s something you should be so proud of! I LOVE it and can’t wait to start my holiday baking. 🙂
    The second thing…. I’m wanting to make a chocolate cake for my dad’s birthday – can this recipe be adapted to a 9×13?

    1. Thank you so much Donna! I really appreciate the feedback on my new cookbook. 🙂
      This recipe isn’t quite enough for a 9×13. What about making this chocolate cake recipe? It will fit into a 9×13.

  10. Hello Sally!
    I made these delicious cupcakes 3 times today… out didn’t turn out great but by the third time they were okay. However, the middle of my cupcakes sink ever so slightly. Do you know why? I was very careful about only adding halfway of the batter. Any tips would be helpful! I also used a oven thermometer to help. So I’m not sure what the problem was…they do taste wonderful though!

    Thank You,

  11. Thank you for being so so kind, it means a lot that you take the time to answer our doubts, something rare in nowadays, specially when who’s asking is the most turtly-scared baker (in other words me). 😀

  12. Hi Sally,  I made these today and it came out so good; moist and chocolatey.! The kids loved it. Thank you so much for thjs recipe. 

    I made your cupcakes with your vanilla and chocolate swirled frosting for a bake sale. They were the FIRST sold out! Your recipes are always the bomb! Thanks a million for making me a better baker. Although i almost ran out of chocolate frosting because i “taste-tested” it too much…

  14. Pernille Hegre Sørensen says:

    These were so good! Thank you for sharing the recipe! And also thank you for including the metric measures, this makes them a lot easier to make. 

  15. Super chocolatey tasty! I leveled up and added mini chocolate morsels. My only issue was that both batches I made were not as moist as I expected. First time I baked them for 19mins. Second time I left them in for only 15mins. Second time was definitely less dense than the first. The only ingredient I goofed up on was using self rising flour instead of the intended all purpose flour. Can this be the issue? Thanks a bunch Sally! Even if I don’t get the mood texture, this is still a great tasting chocolate cupcake!

  16. Kylie Tschida says:

    I am looking to make marble cupcakes, by combining your simply perfect vanilla cupcake recipe with this recipe, should i be worried about how they will turn out; aka the mixing of the batters?? do you think it would be better if i used your very vanilla cupcake recipe and this one instead?? Need to make this asap so a quick response is appreciated!! <3

    1. I suggest making my marble cupcakes recipe 🙂

  17. I’ve tried this recipe of your’s yesterday. my daughter and my workmate really like the taste. Thank you for sharing your baking ideas. I am selling a brownies where i got it on your site. 

  18. Terry (Philippines) says:

    Thanks for sharing this worderful recipe! I would like to try using dutch cocoa powder what would you suggest do i remove the baking soda?, though you have already have mentioned your reason in your “TIP suggestion” ..

  19. Hi i am going to make these cupcakes tomorrow. I was wondering do you have a frosting recipe that goes with these delish looking cupcakes?

    1. Just saw the link for frostings. I guess I’m all set for tomorrow. Can’t wait to start baking! 🙂

  20. OMG!!! To DIE for! You were spot on! 14 cupcakes!!! This is my go-to from here on out!!!!
    Thank You 


  21. Can I freeze the cupcakes once frosted?
    Can frosting be frozen to use later?

  22. Hi, Sally. How many mini cupcakes does this make? I’m looking to make about 70 mini cupcakes. Thanks.

    1. Hi Tricia! About 3 dozen.

  23. I’m a bit confused with your recipe since it asks for 3/4 cups (95g) but the measurements of cups and grams don’t match. I found this for most of the ingredients and another recipe. When I measure 3/4 cups and convert it to grams its 180 grams. So it would be very helpful if you could help me.


    1. Hi Fariza! Ingredients weigh different amounts. For example, 1 cup of sugar is heavier than 1 cup of flour.

  24. Patty Link says:

    We love the taste of dark bittersweet chocolate so I was wondering if I could add some coffee flavoring or micro-fine bits of coffee beans to get that taste since Dutch chocolate is a no-no in this recipe?

    Thanks for your fabulous creations! We loved the vanilla cupcakes with vanilla beans & my, how the cost of vanilla beans has risen since you originally printed your recipe! Smiles.

    1. I can’t see why not! Let me know how they taste.

  25. I tried using melted butter for these cupcakes and it turned out fine. I think it’s ok. If you have some oil you can try using half melted butter and half oil.

  26. Cupcakes are delicious. I made 12 cupcakes. I filled each cup a little more than half way. Did not cause any of the problems mentioned. Also, I used a different buttercream frosting the second time I made them. Your recipe for chocolate buttercream was good, but not creamy enough for my tastes. I found a recipe that is creamier and a little less sweet. Calls for melted chocolate and less powdered sugar. Made a delicious cupcake. Thanks for this cupcake recipe!

  27. Hi there! In the last years, I have tried many muffin recipes (moist muffins wannabes), but I have never found this amazing texture the muffins of your recipe had.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! So good and so balanced!

  28. These came out amazing for me!! Thank you, thank you!! My first ever homemade cupcakes and they were winners!!! I was a bit worried because I live at a high altitude, but they came out just right! I ended up with 16 cupcakes! I made your chocolate buttercream frosting that is to die for… and added chocolate sprinkles just like you did, and funny, it’s what my 9 year old birthday boy requested! This recipe goes in my book for sure! Death by chocolate!! Yum!

  29. Made the cake for cupcakes, almost exactly as written (just a little more white sugar than brown) and it’s SUCH a good chocolate cake recipe. Thank you! Perfect proportions.

  30. I felt really badly for Julie that first lady because I love the way you describe things and write. I’ve been a fan since you started almost. Anyway, maybe you could mention things in your instructions generally about checking the oven temperature. My oven is EXTREMELY difficult when it comes to temperature, so I keep a thermometer inside it all the time. Also, placement of the pan or pans in the oven and on what rack. Doesn’t all that make a difference?

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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