Monday, July 9, 2012

Best Chocolate Cupcakes Ever

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Everyone has their favorite go-to cupcake recipes. So, after years of testing, baking, tweaking and re-baking, I have finally formulated my perfect go-to vanilla and chocolate recipes. My chocolate cupcakes are extremely moist, fudgy, rich and decadent. Pair it with any of my homemade FROSTING recipes for a totally gourmet treat! This is a simple one bowl method recipe and is virtually fool proof! These cupcakes are so versatile. I use them as the base for most of my fun flavored cupcake combinations. Try them out for yourself and let me know what you think.

These cupcakes are extra moist from the vegetable oil, packed with flavor from the vanilla, cocoa, and touch of espresso to bring out the depth in the chocolate (you can't taste any coffee flavor in the baked cupcakes). They also have a super soft, velvety tender crumb the acidity in the buttermilk. Best of all, they bake up nice and pretty with a perfect, fluffy dome on top. I had finally found the one, my perfect chocolate fudge cupcake recipe that pairs perfectly with just about any of my homemade FROSTING and FILLING recipes for a totally homemade, from-scratch, gourmet treat!

Remember, the better quality ingredients you use, the better tasting cupcakes you will have. This recipe, really, couldn't be more simple. I measure out the flour and cocoa, using a kitchen scale before I start. Little things people tend to not pay attention to, like the way you measure a cup of flour or cocoa powder, can make all the difference in the outcome of your baked good.


Then, add the milk/egg mixture to the dry ingredients.

Pour in hot water and stir.

Batter will be very thin but will rise to give you a nice puffy dome for fluffy, moist cupcakes!

Bake as directed and even add some filling, to really jazz them up!


Lindsay Ann's Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes
Check out my baking 101 section for helpful tips, tricks & more

Yield: 12 cupcakes or 24 minis (also makes a 6"-9" cake layer)


Chocolate Cupcakes:
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (105g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder, dutch processed
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water (or 1/2 cup coffee)

Prepare Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 baking cups (or 24 minis). In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa and sugar, mixing until fully combined. In a measuring cup lightly whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla. Using a whisk or wooden spoon, gently stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, just until incorporated. Dissolve espresso powder in the boiling water and immediately fold into batter. Do not over-mix. Batter will be very thin and runny.

Distribute all of the batter, filling almost up to the top, between all of the baking cups. Bake standard size cupcakes for 16-18 minutes and minis for 8-10 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting.

I like to top them with a simple chocolate buttercream for a true chocolate lovers cupcake, but feel free to check out my Go-To Frosting & Filling Recipes (with flavor variations) to mix and match with your cupcakes, for your own custom, gourmet flavor combinations! This classic American Buttercream frosting recipe is one of my favorites because it is so simple and has such a light fluffy texture, I could eat it by the spoonful!

Classic Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1/2-3/4 cup cream, half & half or milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Flavor Variations
  • Mocha: Add 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • Chocolate Mint: Add 2-3 teaspoons finely crushed peppermint candies
  • Chocolate Orange: Add 1 teaspoon orange zest and 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • Chocolate Cinnamon: Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter: 3/4 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • Flavor extracts: Reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon and add 1/2-1 teaspoon flavor extract of your choice


Sift together powdered sugar and cocoa, set aside. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth. Alternately beat in sugar/cocoa mixture and cream until smooth. Add vanilla or flavor extract of your choice. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or cream if needed, until you have reached your desired consistency.

Icing can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 2 weeks, while iced cake should be stored in an air tight container, at room temperature, for 2-3 days.

Try using my chocolate cupcakes as a base for some fun flavor combinations like my Cookies & Cream Cupcakes, Triple Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes, Candy Covered Cupcakes, S'mores Cupcakes, Mocha Fudge Cupcakes, Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes, Black & White Cupcakes, Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes, Chocolate Cherry Cream Cupcakes and my VEGAN Almond Joy Cake!

Be sure to check out my Best Vanilla Cupcakes Ever for flavor options to please every taste!
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  1. A larger size allows for multiple children to play with it simultaneously without any fights or arguments over who gets to sit in front of the dollhouse, which is a great bonus for parents who have several young girls.

  2. I just made these tonight along with the chocolate buttercream frosting and they are SO good! It was the first time I've ever made either from scratch, and I was surprised at how easy it was. Thank you so much for sharing! I can't wait to try your other recipes :)

  3. I am so happy you liked them! I always try to create recipes that are quick and simple, so I am so glad you decided to try baking from scratch and had a good experience! It is quite addicting, once you get into it ;) Be sure to email me a photo of your cupcakes so I can feature them under the recipe as a "Featured Fan Photo"! I would love to see how they turned out!

  4. I am not too sure what went wrong. These cupcakes are too moist.

  5. The ingredients say 1/3 c water, but the instructions say 1/2 c. Which is correct? Thanks!

  6. I made these cupcakes, and the center concaved and the outsides came out too much. I'm very upset. This recipe was not good.

  7. can i just use regular unsweetened cocoa?

  8. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder will result in cupcakes/cake that is not as dark and "chocolatey". Hersheys "Special Dark" cocoa powder (found in most grocery stores) is probably the best substitution for dutched cocoa, but feel free to experiment and email over a photo so we can feature you! I would love to know how they turn out!

  9. Hi! love these cupcakes, thanks! Just a question, if i want to make more than 8, is it just as simple as doubling the recipe? Or are there any other adjustments that need to be made? Thanks much!

  10. Thanks so much, I made these as mini cupcakes for my kids school potluck (he decorated it with m and m's, idea from your pic ) and they were so good and so easy.
    He was very happy, thank you so much

  11. Had a very happy mistake with these today! I forgot the oil! haha! I used the whole milk with vinegar instead of buttermilk in the recipe. They came out AMAZING even with the omission of the oil! So…for those of you who want a low fat cupcake, just leave it out! haha!

    I also yielded about 10 cupcakes with this recipe.

  12. Hi! I'm new here, and am on the hunt for the best ever chocolate cake recipe....and this might just be the winner from all the ones I've read!
    Would you tell me how to adjust to make it in a 9x13 pan?

  13. I am so glad you loved the recipe as much as I do Nikki!

  14. I updates the recipe to make 12 cupcakes, so feel free to try it out, as it can easily be doubled to make more :)