Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - House of Nash Eats (2024)

Ditch the box mix and make the Moist Chocolate Cupcakes from scratch in under 30 minutes. Our chocolate cupcake recipe has been carefully tested and has hundreds of 5 star ratings to prove it!

I was skeptical with how thin the batter was, but these are soooooo good!! ~ Crystal

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - House of Nash Eats (1)
Table of Contents
  1. This is the BEST Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
  2. Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
  3. Chocolate Cupcakes ingredients
  4. How to make Chocolate Cupcakes
  5. Can I Use This Chocolate Cupcake Recipe to Make a Cake?
  6. How to store Chocolate Cupcakes
  7. Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe FAQs
  8. Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

This is the BEST Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

If you want to upgrade your baking skills and graduate to chocolate cupcakes from scratch, you’ve come to the right place. Box mix cupcakes don’t actually even taste like chocolate at all! But my from-scratch moist chocolate cupcake recipe is made with real ingredients like cocoa powder, buttermilk, and sugar so that they taste supremely chocolatey and delicious! These will be the first thing gone at the next party or bake sale!

If you also prefer homemade cakes made from scratch over box cake mixes, you will definitely want to check out myYellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting,Homemade Funfetti Cake, andBest Red Velvet Cake.

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Heck, I have an entire category of frosting recipes that would pretty much all be amazing with these moist chocolate cupcakes! And honestly, the cake part itself is so amazing that I always eat at least one cupcake sans frosting while I wait for them to cool.

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Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

The two biggest players in keeping these chocolate cupcakes moist are using buttermilk and oil in the recipe, as opposed to butter and sour cream, which are both commonly used in chocolate cakes.

If you don't have any buttermilk on hand, you can make an easy substitute by adding ½ tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a ½ cup measuring cup, then filling the rest of the way with milk. Stir, then let sit for 5 minutes before adding to the recipe in place of the buttermilk.

And while you technicallycould replace the oil with butter in this recipe, the cupcakes won't be as moist for some science-y reason that I can't explain. Just go with it - if you want to replicate the moist texture and fluffiness of a box cake mix (with way better flavor because these cupcakes are made from scratch), use the oil instead of melted butter.

Chocolate Cupcakes ingredients

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Egg
  • Buttermilk
  • Oil
  • Hot Water

How to make Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Start by combining flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until everything is combined.
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  1. Add hot water. There is one more ingredient, which is very hot water. It's super important to achieving super moist chocolate cupcakes with an intense chocolate flavor. The hot water doesn't have to be boiling, but it needs to be really hot because the heat is going to react with the cocoa powder, causing it to "bloom", which brings out as much chocolate flavor as possible from the cocoa powder. I find that my tap water gets hot enough if I let it run for 10-15 seconds or so, but you could also microwave some water for a minute or boiling some water on the stove.

The hot water is also going to create a pretty thin batter, too. Don't be alarmed! It really is supposed to be like that.

The thin batter is going to allow the baking powder and baking soda in the batter to really do their magic and the cupcakes will rise and dome beautifully, with a wonderful texture thanks to all the scientific magic going on behind the scenes.

You can use hot coffee in place of the water.

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  1. Fill cupcake liners only ½ full, then bake for 18-21 minutes, until the tops bounce back when you touch them with a finger or a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs when used to test a cupcake.
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  1. Cool completely before frosting with chocolate frosting or your favorite frosting.
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Best Chocolate Cupcake frosting

  1. Cream butter and cocoa powder together until smooth in the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar mixing on medium speed until combined. Add remaining powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt, mixing well, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add heavy cream or milk, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing between each addition until you reach the desired consistency that is easily spreadable or pipeable, but will still hold its shape.
  4. Transfer to a decorative piping bag and pipe swirls onto cooled cupcakes.
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Can I Use This Chocolate Cupcake Recipe to Make a Cake?

Yes, you can absolutely use this recipe to make a super moist chocolate cake instead of cupcakes. Just keep the following in mind if that's the route you decide to go:

  • This recipe only makes 14-16 cupcakes which is the same as one square baking dish or 9-inch round cake layer. If you are trying to make a cake in a large rectangular baking dish or create a two layer cake, just double the recipe or use my One-Bowl Chocolate Cake Recipe!
  • The oven temperature stays the same, but the baking time will change since individual cupcakes cook faster than cakes cooked in larger pans. Cakes cooked in 9-inch baking pans should take about 30-35 minutes to fully bake, but just be sure to test the center of each cake with a toothpick or sharp knife to test for doneness before taking your cake layers out of the oven.
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How to store Chocolate Cupcakes

Once the cupcakes are cooled, store them in an airtight container until ready to frost. The frosted cupcakes will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 4-5 days. You can also freeze the cupcakes before or after frosting for 2-3 months. Thaw on the counter for a few hours before enjoying.

Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe FAQs

How much do you fill cupcakes?

Be sure to only fill the cupcake liners halfway full! Not ¾ or even ⅔ full, which are common amounts for other cupcake recipes. Just half.
It is going to seem strange and like there is not nearly enough batter in each cupcake liner, but just trust me on this one. There is so much lift to the thin batter that if the cupcake liners are too full, the cupcakes will overflow and you won't get that beautiful, domed cupcake shape that is the hallmark of perfect cupcakes.
Plus, the top edges will get crisp and stick to the pan and the cupcake centers are probably going to sink. So just halfway full, m'kay?
If you find that your cupcakes aren't doming on top, try filling your liners a little less next time. Or if you are baking at a high altitude, you might want to use this helpful guide to high-altitude baking and see if that helps, since I'm in California near sea level.

How do you tell if cupcakes are done without a toothpick?

I never use the toothpick test on cupcakes. For one, I hate digging around the back of my spice cupboard to find them. But also, I feel like it isn't as accurate as simply touching the tops of the cupcakes.
The best way to tell if cupcakes are done is to lightly tap the top of a cupcake. If it bounces right back, they are done. If a little indentation from your finger remains, the cupcakes need to bake a little bit longer.

What kind of cocoa powder do I prefer?

I have a few chocolate brands that I think make really great cocoa powder, like Rodelle and Ghiradelli, but I don't have any problems with good old Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder, which is available at any grocery store.

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More Cake & Cupcake Recipes You'll Love

  • Key Lime Cupcakes
  • Dulce de Leche Cupcakes
  • Gingerbread Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream
  • S'mores Cupcakes with Graham Cracker Frosting
  • Red Velvet Cupcakes

Cupcakes

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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PrintPinRate

Chocolate Cupcakes

4.86 from 275 votes

Amy Nash

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 18 minutes mins

Total Time 28 minutes mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Servings 14 cupcakes

These really are the best, super moist chocolate cupcakes ever. Made from scratch with cocoa powder, they are deeply chocolatey, perfectly fluffy, and with a domed top. These homemade chocolate cupcakes are way better than any boxed cake mix, with the same moist crumb and texture that you know and love.

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (141g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
  • ½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (50g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup very hot water

Frosting

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-6 Tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

Cupcakes

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

  • Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and whisk together.

  • Combine the egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in another bowl and whisk together.

  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix using a stand mixer until combined.

  • Add the hot water to the batter and mix again, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, until combined. Batter will be thin.

  • Fill cupcake liners only ½ full, then bake for 18-21 minutes, until the tops bounce back when you touch them with a finger or a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs when used to test a cupcake.

  • Cool completely before frosting with chocolate frosting or your favorite frosting.

Frosting

  • Cream butter and cocoa powder together until smooth in the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer.

  • Add half of the powdered sugar mixing on medium speed until combined. Add remaining powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt, mixing well, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  • Add heavy cream or milk, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing between each addition until you reach the desired consistency that is easily spreadable or pipeable, but will still hold its shape.

  • Transfer to a decorative piping bag and pipe swirls onto cooled cupcakes.

Video

Notes

  • This recipe calls for buttermilk, but if you don't have any on hand, you can make an easy substitute by adding ½ tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a ½ cup measuring cup, then filling the rest of the way with milk. Stir, then let sit for 5 minutes before adding to the recipe in place of the buttermilk.
  • Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • You can use the chocolate buttercream frosting recipe listed above or another frosting recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 381kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 275mg | Potassium: 145mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 502IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg

Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

When I first posted these chocolate cupcakes, I made them with my salted caramel frosting, which is a super scrumptious combination! Here is one of the original images below.

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About the author

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - House of Nash Eats (20)

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - House of Nash Eats (2024)
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