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Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Step away from the box chocolate cake mix! This easy Chocolate Cupcake recipe with chocolate frosting results in the best super moist chocolate cupcakes that come together in just one bowl!

Very Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe with Chocolate Frosting

I made us a moist chocolate cupcakes recipe! I know we’ve not spoken since December, and I sincerely apologize for that. Emails flooded my inbox daily for the past couple months, asking if I was well, and if another recipe post would be seen on this site. My answer the entire time was always, “Yes, I promise! Soon.”

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I kind of pulled myself back, for the fear that I’ll have nothing left to write about, or that my photos or my prose will be nothing as great as my last one. It took me a while to post about this Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe.

These chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting are simply irresistible, but sometimes to find the appropriate words to convey that is exhausting. However, a friend reminded me that I started this blog for myself, and that I must continue to write for myself- whenever I have time to write. It seems sort of selfish to think that way, but I think putting myself in that mindset is the only way that I’ll be able to share more with you. She also reminded me that “Good writing comes from living.” So, I will do just that—live and eat and make this moist chocolate cupcakes recipe with chocolate frosting until I am ready to move on.

One-bowl easy chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and chocolate shavings

I’m sure you’ve been wondering about the work I’ve been doing behind the scenes. I’ve been baking more than ever. If you remember the news in my fig tarts recipe post, I have more exciting news to share with you (aside from this chocolate cupcakes recipe)! The publishing company I was developing a proposal with a while back? It was Chronicle Books in California. You might have quite a few of their books on your bookshelves or in your kitchen, in fact (Among a few: Plenty, Tartine, Tartine BreadRuhlman’s Twenty, Sky High, and Flour).

Chocolate cupcake batter

We’re calling the book Hand Made Baking. As time draws closer to publication, of course there will be so much more information about the book to share with you, but for now, I know this much: there will be chocolate. And of course, there will be a riff on this delicious chocolate cupcakes recipe– as far as I’m concerned every book needs one. With each future post, there’ll definitely be talk of Hand Made Baking.

Mixing boiling hot water into chocolate cake batter

Speaking of chocolate, as you’ve probably noticed, I made us some insanely rich and moist chocolate cupcakes in honor of all of this news. These chocolate cupcakes come together in one bowl and they require very little machinery or messing around. It’s a zero-fuss easy and moist chocolate cupcakes recipe that can almost be made on a whim.

Cocoa powder in bowl

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe Ingredients

There’s no need to get out your stand mixer or paddle attachment for this chocolate cupcake recipe, and there’s no need to separate your dry ingredients from your wet ingredients. These chocolate cupcakes come together in one bowl.

The Chocolate Cake: Chocolate Cupcake Recipe Ingredients:

  • Granulated White Sugar– This is to sweeten the chocolate cupcakes and contribute to the moistness of the cupcakes.
  • All-Purpose Flour– regular all-purpose flour is best for this recipe; it’s easy to find and produces a delicious moist crumb. I highly recommend spooning the flour into the cup and sweeping it level with the flat side of a knife in order to perfectly measure your flour.
  • Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder – this is where all the chocolate flavor comes from in these rich and moist chocolate cupcakes. Do not mix up hot cocoa mix with unsweetened cocoa powder; hot cocoa mixes often have milk powder, sugar, and cocoa powder mixed in. It will not work here. Dutch-processed (Dutched) cocoa powder will not work here, either.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda– each of these acts as a leavening agent for the cupcakes. There’s no substitute for one or the other. Both are needed here.
  • Fine-Grain Sea Salt–  this adds the right amount of flavor to the chocolate cupcakes. Just the smallest amount rounds out all of the chocolatey flavor of these rich chocolate cupcakes.
  • Large Egg– this binds the chocolate cupcake batter together and helps leaven the cupcakes. It’s best to have the egg at room temperature (to quickly do this, read How to Bring Eggs Quickly to Room Temperature).
  • Sour Cream– not only does sour cream add a nice flavor to these perfect chocolate cupcakes, but it also contributes to the moistness of the overall cupcakes.
  • Sunflower Oil– this not only adds to the ease of these moist chocolate cupcakes, but it adds to the moistness of the cake. Whether you enjoy the cake at room temperature or cold out of the refrigerator, the cake will always remain moist because of this. While I use sunflower oil here, use any neutral-tasting oil such a safflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract– flavor is important in this recipe, and I do not skimp on it here. You’ll need 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract. It adds delicious flavor that helps round out the chocolatey flavor of the cupcakes.
  • Boiling Hot Water– just boiled is fine, but for even more flavor, hot coffee works beautifully here. You will not taste it, but it will enhance the chocolate flavor of the cupcakes. Whichever you decide to choose, it will make the most perfect chocolate cupcakes that are extremely moist.
Creamy smooth chocolate frosting

The Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: Chocolate Frosting Recipe Ingredients:

This chocolate frosting recipe doesn’t require tinkering with melted chocolate like with a chocolate ganache (although fee free to make the water ganache in my Yellow Birthday Cake recipe ). It is as easy as mixing everything in a bowl.

Frosting Tip: In order to frost these cupcakes with vivacious high-hats of chocolate frosting, I suggest 1 1/2-ing the recipe.

  • Unsalted Butter– this is the main ingredient in the frosting. Unlike most frostings this does not require the unsalted butter to be softened. Instead, here, the chocolate frosting uses melted butter. It’s easy to work with and doesn’t waste time.
  • Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder– unlike the chocolate cupcakes portion of this recipe, feel free to use Dutch cocoa powder for the chocolate frosting portion of this recipe.
  • Whole Milk– it works best for the chocolate frosting. This helps smooth and bind the frosting together.
  • Confectioners’ Sugar (Powdered Sugar)– you’ll need quite a bit, but there is no substitute to making the chocolate frosting for these cupcakes. Fear not, however, the frosting is not cloyingly sweet and is not gritty like your conventional American-style buttercream recipe.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract– just enough adds delicious flavor and rounds out the flavor of the chocolate frosting.
  • Golden Syrup or Light Corn Syrup– here is a little secret. While not necessary, a small amount of light corn syrup helps the chocolate frosting remain smooth and shiny and prevents it from crusting over.
Frosting chocolate cupcake recipe

How to Make the Best Chocolate Cupcakes

This moist chocolate cupcakes recipe is as difficult as putting a boxed cake mix together.

It all starts off with a scant cupful of all-purpose flour, a cup of sugar, a kiss of cocoa, a touch of baking soda and baking powder, and some sea salt in a large mixing bowl.

The dry ingredients are whisked together, just until the cocoa turns the pale ingredients into a milk chocolate tan. After that, vanilla extract, an egg, some sour cream, vegetable oil, and a bit of boiling water are stirred in until just combined.

The watery chocolate mixture is spooned into a paper-lined muffin tin, and is then baked for about 17 minutes. In that time, the liquid chocolate concoction transforms into tender, moist-crumbed chocolate cupcakes.

Decorating and frosting chocolate cupcakes

Once baked, the chocolate cupcakes are left to sit in the tin until the tin is cool to the touch, then they’re transferred to cooling racks while the frosting is made.

Easy one-bowl moist chocolate cupcakes

How to Make Chocolate Frosting (Chocolate Buttercream) for Chocolate Cupcakes

The chocolate frosting for this chocolate cupcakes recipe is as scarcely difficult as the cake- it requires a mound of cocoa and a small puddle of melted butter to be combined in a bowl with a couple heaping cupfuls of powdered sugar, some milk, and a scant teaspoon of vanilla extract. The mixture is mixed until smooth and spreadable.

Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream

How to Frost The Chocolate Cupcakes

Once the chocolate cupcakes have been completely cooled, the dulcet dark earth-colored frosting is generously spread onto each cupcake. Once finished, each cupcake is adorned with fairy dust, in the form of dark chocolate shavings.

There’s no need for piping bags here. Though, feel free to use one if you wish.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

To frost the chocolate cupcakes, I used a small off-set spatula (use a smooth butter knife if you don’t have one) at around a 40-degree angle to spread the frosting smoothly around the cupcake. Then, I used a large cake spatula to create the indent in the center of the chocolate frosting. Turn 360º one way, and turn 180º in the opposite direction; lift the spatula, and that’s it.

Shave some dark chocolate on top of the frosted chocolate cupcakes using a vegetable peeler (or you can use a microplane or box grater).

And there you have it! Hand Made Baking by Kamran Siddiqi. The Best Chocolate Cupcakes. Yes.

Other Great Baking Recipes You’ll Enjoy

Yield: Makes 16 Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe |

These are quite literally the best chocolate cupcakes and they are paired with a delicious and smooth chocolate buttercream frosting. The chocolate cake recipe portion of this is as easy as putting a boxed cake mix together, so is the chocolate frosting. This is 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 (a bit more work in this case), or a food processor– whatever floats your boat.

The chocolate cupcakes batter calls for sunflower oil, but you can easily use any neutral tasting oil you have on hand such as: safflower, corn, canola, or vegetable oil.

When filling the cupcake liners, be sure to fill them up with no more than 3 level tablespoons of batter, as this batter is runny. If you prefer, use a 1.5 ounce ice cream scoop.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours


Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup / 200g granulated white sugar
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons / 105g all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons / 30g unsweetened natural cocoa powder (non-dutched), sifted
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • ½ cup (4.25 oz) /120g sour cream, room temperature
  • ¼ cup / 45g sunflower oil (refer to headnotes for alternatives)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup/ 120mL boiling water

Chocolate Frosting:

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


Make the chocolate cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/ 180ºC / Gas Mark 4. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. 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 runny, but fear not, this is normal.
  3. 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).
  4. 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 (about 1 hour).

Make the chocolate frosting and frost the cupcakes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


How to frost 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 box grater).

You may want more frosting: 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 the post, 1 ½-ing the recipe will be necessary.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 Cupcake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 159mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 2g


  • Sparky
    August 13, 2013 at 2:41 am

    Hi, I’ve made this a lot and always turned out really well, even if I used yogurt instead of sour cream. Do you think I can use the same recipe to make a red velvet cupcake by decreasing the amount of cocoa and adding red food color? I’m planning to make this and red velvet cupcakes for my nephew’s birthday next month.

  • April
    January 25, 2014 at 12:06 am

    Hello. I’m making these for my sons birthday party. I just got them out if the oven. They came out perfect. Easy to make!! My only regret is that all I had for cupcake liners were Christmas themed… hmmm…

  • Gabi
    January 28, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Yum! I made these tonight for some friends and they were so good and EASY! One bowl? Yes please!

  • Cass
    March 16, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    I made these cupcakes for my sisters wedding this weekend and they were perfect! She really wanted regular buttercream frosting, so I did not actually make the frosting listed here…but the cupcake was excellent!

  • Erin
    March 27, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    I came back to make these for the second time and realized I never left a review. I made these sometime around spring 2012 to go along with a senior project presentation I did in high school (a really huge, year-long project that involved me job-shadowing at a bakery) and ended up with a 99, so I’d say they were a hit with the judges :)

  • jeney
    March 30, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I can’t tell you how many different chocolate cupcakes I’ve made in my lifetime, but from now on these are the only ones I will ever make. They are the best chocolate cupcakes ever. Thanks so much for this recipe!

  • Shayne
    May 13, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    These look great and so dark and rich! I can’t believe they look that rich without using any chocolate in them except for cocoa? Will be making a batch this afternoon when my kids get home. Thanks for the fab recipe :)

  • Rachel @ Bakerita
    October 26, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Congratulations!! Can’t wait for Hand Made, I’m sure it will be stunning. These cupcakes are beautiful photographed and sound phenomenal, lovely! Pinned!

  • Olivia
    December 24, 2014 at 2:19 am

    Hi, i found this web site and decided to try this recepi the cupcake turn really good. I loved it… Moist inside Not too sweet
    But then and not too sure what went wrong with thr frosting. I did melt the butter and so on ., but it turn out like splitting. The chocolate is not combining on the bottom, but the taste is so good im still going to used it.

    I like the way you photograph the cupcake… Cheers

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