Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Makes About 16 Cupcakes
Adapted from this recipe

5.0 stars based on
109 reviews

Serving size: 1 serving
Calories per serving: 225 cal

These cupcakes are as difficult as putting a boxed cake mix together. Because I find every excuse possible to not dirty another bowl or spoon when baking, I’m happy to say that this recipe doesn’t require much to be dirtied. It’s a one-bowl recipe that can be made, simply, with a bowl and a spoon / silicone spatula. It can also be made using a stand mixer (which in this case, I find to be a bit more work), or a food processor.

If you do plan to make this recipe at the last minute, and you don’t have time to bring an egg and the sour cream to room temperature simply place it in a glass of hot (not boiling) water for a few minutes; doing so will take the chill off and bring the egg to room temperature. As for the sour cream, running it in the microwave for 10 seconds or so should do the trick.

The recipe calls for sunflower oil, but you can easily use any neutral tasting oil (Such as: Safflower, Corn, Canola, Vegetable…)

When filling the cupcake liners, be sure to fill them up with no more than 3 level tablespoons of batter, as this batter is quite runny, and doesn’t dome over when it rises like a muffin would, instead it spreads out, and if there’s too much batter in one of the cups, the batter will spill-over the liner and onto the pan. I have gotten away with making 12 cupcakes instead of 16 cupcakes with this recipe, but a few cupcakes did manage to spill-over, and I couldn’t have that happen to you! I prefer to use a 1.5 ounce ice cream scoop for this task, as I know that each cup will be filled with the same amount of batter, and that all of the cakes will cook at the same time.

Do note that the frosting recipe provided can easily frost all 16 cupcakes, however, if you’d prefer to have tall “hats” of chocolate frosting on each of your cupcakes, as pictured in this post, 1 ½-ing the recipe will be necessary.


For the cake:
1 cup / 200 grams granulated white sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons / 105 grams all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons / 30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, non-dutched), sifted
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

1 egg, room temperature
½ cup (4.25 oz) /120 grams sour cream, room temperature
¼ cup / 45 grams sunflower oil (refer to headnotes for alternatives)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup/ 120mL boiling water

For the frosting:
6 tablespoons / 85 grams unsalted butter, melted
½ cup / 40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, non-dutched)
¼ cup / 60mL milk
2 ¼ cups / 225 grams confectioners’ sugar
¾ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon golden syrup / light corn syrup


Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF/ 180ºC / Gas Mark 4. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Now, in a large heatproof mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Crack in the egg, spoon in the sour cream, and pour in the oil and the vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula (which I prefer) just until smooth and combined. Pour in the boiling water, and slowly mix starting from the center working your way out (this makes it easier to mix without the splattering.). The batter will be liquidy, but fear not, this is normal.

Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, using a spatula to help you scrape the bowl, filling each lined cup with 3 tablespoons of batter, about halfway full. (Kamran Note: I use a 1 ½ ounce ice cream scoop for this, which makes things a little easier when it comes to filling).

Bake for 15-19 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until a cake tester or a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean.

Transfer cupcakes in pans to wire racks for about 10-minutes until the tins are cool to the touch. Once the tins are cool, remove the cupcakes from the pans, and transfer to the wire racks. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting and frost the cupcakes:
In a large bowl (or in a stand mixer), combine the melted butter and cocoa powder powder until smooth. Now, alternately mix in the milk and powdered sugar, beating (on medium speed) to spreading consistency. Add another tablespoon or so of milk, if necessary. Mix in vanilla and golden syrup / light corn syrup.

Frost the chocolate cupcakes using a small offset spatula or non-serrated butter knife, making sure to frost to the very edges (doing this is not only an excuse to have more frosting on your cupcakes–yum!, but it also helps keep the cupcakes moist), and adorn with chocolate shavings or other edible decorations of your liking.

Note on frosting the cupcakes: To frost the cupcakes, I used a small off-set spatula (you can use a butter knife without a serrated edge, if you don’t have one) at an angle to spread the frosting smoothly around the cake. Then, I used a cake spatula to create the indent in the center. Turn 360º one way, and turn 180º in the opposite direction; lift the spatula, and that’s it. Shave some dark chocolate on top using a vegetable peeler (or you can use a microplane or one of those manual cheese graters that they use at Italian restaurants to grate parmesan), and you’re done.