Made from simple everyday ingredients, this easy chocolate 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!
- 3/4 cup (94g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1/2 cup (41g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder*
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant espresso*
- 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*
- chocolate buttercream and sprinkles for decorating
- 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.
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, espresso 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 completely smooth. 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.
- Pour or spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only halfway (this is imperative! only halfway!) to avoid spilling over the sides or sinking. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Frost cooled cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. You can swipe the frosting on with an icing knife or use a piping tip such as Wilton 1M. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can bake the 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.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Reusable Piping Bags or Disposable Piping Bags | Wilton 1M Frosting Tip | Reese’s Pieces Candy | Hershey’s Cocoa Powder
- Mini Cupcakes: Fill mini liners only halfway and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350°F (177°C).
- Cake: Here’s my chocolate layer cake recipe.
- Cocoa Powder: Use natural cocoa powder, not Dutch-process. See Dutch-process vs natural cocoa powder for more information.
- Espresso Powder: Espresso powder deepens the chocolate flavor. You can skip it or use 1 teaspoon of instant coffee powder instead.
- Why Room Temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read more about the importance of room temperature ingredients.
- 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.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!
Keywords: chocolate cupcakes