Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Being the chocolate fan that I am, I needed a really solid, moist chocolate cupcake recipe. I wanted something that was rich, decadent, and packed with chocolate flavor.

After testing out several different recipes, this chocolate cupcake recipe is by far my favorite! It’s a modified version of the Brown Eyed Baker’s chocolate cupcake recipe.

I am a huge fan of one-bowl recipes, and have done my best to make this cupcake recipe come together in one bowl. While there are a lot of ingredients in this moist chocolate cupcake recipe, I promise it’s easy to make. 

Photo of a batch of my moist chocolate cupcake recipe

The Special Ingredient: Black Cocoa

One notable ingredient in this recipe is the black cocoa powder! I use it in place of dutch-processed cocoa to really give these moist chocolate cupcakes a beautiful color, and to intensify the taste!

As soon as I discovered black cocoa, and I was obsessed. Black cocoa has a slightly higher pH than dutch-processed cocoa (8 vs.7), and is much less acidic than natural baking cocoa (5-6).

The best comparison of the taste of black cocoa is to think of the bittersweet, chocolaty taste of an Oreo cookie. It really is delicious!!

If don’t have any one hand, or don’t want to order it on amazon, you can definitely use regular baking cocoa powder. But if you feel like trying something new, I HIGHLY recommend using black cocoa powder.

Photo of the inside of my moist chocolate cupcake recipe

The Perfect Topping: A Simple Chocolate Buttercream

While the base of the cupcake is important, the frosting is just as big of deal! Why go to all the trouble of making a cupcake from scratch if you don’t have an amazing frosting to decorate it with?!

Since this moist chocolate cupcake recipe is packed with chocolate, it only seemed fitting to frost them with a chocolate buttercream recipe. The frosting can be made in about 5 minutes, and I usually to whip up a batch while my cupcakes bake.

I like to frost my cupcakes with a quarter batch of my American buttercream recipe. This is just enough frosting to cover one batch cupcakes with moderate swirls.

To keep things simple, sometimes I just use chocolate sprinkles to decorate these cupcakes. I found these amazing chocolate sprinkles when I was in Amsterdam this past year, and I love using them.

They’re made with dutch cocoa, and are packed with delicious chocolate flavor. These taste much different than most American chocolate sprinkles, which sometimes aren’t even made with cocoa! 

Photo of sprinkles being added to my chocolate cupcake

Want To Pipe HUGE Swirls Onto Your Cupcakes?!

If you want to make epic, massive swirls, I recommend doubling the frosting recipe below. You’ll definitely have a bit of frosting leftover, but you will have enough to make giant swirls like I did in the photo below.

But you know what? It’s totally fine having frosting leftover! In fact, I almost always have some left when I finish decorating a cake. My buttercream keeps in the fridge for up to a month.

I usually repurpose leftover frosting in future baking projects, or I simply eat leftover chocolate frosting with fruit! Pro tip: it’s delicious with strawberries or raspberries.

When it comes to decorating the cupcakes, I usually use a Wilton 1m tip (open star) or a Wilton 2D tip (closed star). Both tips make those gorgeous swirls that we love seeing on top of cupcakes. 

Glamour photo of my moist chocolate cupcake recipeHow To Make My Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Making The Batter

Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F. Place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Add the (VERY) hot water into a large bowl. Mix in the espresso powder, and stir lightly until it is dissolved.

Carefully pour in the chocolate chips and black cocoa powder. Let this sit for 2 minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir until smooth.

Pour the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda and salt) into chocolate espresso mixture, and stir until just combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a spatula.

Next, mix in the eggs one at a time. Then add the oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth. The batter will be thin!

MVI_9219_Moment(3)

Baking These Chocolate Cupcakes

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean (or with minimal crumbs), remove from oven.

Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place in the freezer for 15 minutes (to accelerate the cooling process).

Making The Chocolate Buttercream

While the cupcakes bake and cool, make the chocolate frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.

Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the cocoa powder half way through, along with the heavy cream.

Once all the powdered sugar is added, mix in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated.

If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tablespoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Photo of my one-bowl chocolate cupcake recipe

Cupcake Decoration

If you want to fill the cupcakes, remove the center of the cupcakes using the wide end of a frosting tip, and add chocolate ganache filling to the center of each cupcake.

Pipe on a large swirl of frosting, using a Wilton 1M tip. If you don’t have any frosting tips, you can always use a ziplock bag and just trim the tip to have a 2 cm opening.

Decorate as desired! I highly recommend adding chocolate sprinkles or a chocolate ganache drizzle. No matter how you decorate them, they’re going to be incredibly moist and delicious.  I mean, just look at that crumb!!

Image of My Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

If you try my recipes, be sure to tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets so I can see your wonderful creations!! 🙂

Yield: 14 cupcakes

Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Looking for a moist chocolate cupcake? I've got you covered! This recipe can be made in one bowl, and is frosted with a delicious chocolate buttercream.

Ingredients

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips - milk or dark (57 grams)
  • 1/3 cup black cocoa powder (32 grams)
  • 3/4 cup hot water (177 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso or coffee (3 grams)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (90 grams)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (2 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (3 grams)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (73 grams)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature (114 grams)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar (4 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (217 grams)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (340 grams)
  • 2/3 cups of melted dark chocolate, cooled (114 grams, 4 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa, sifted (50 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (2 grams)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (60 grams)

Instructions

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe:

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F. Place cupcake liners in baking pans.
  2. Add 3/4 cup of (VERY) hot water into a large bowl. Mix in 1 1/2 tsp of coffee or espresso powder, and stir lightly until dissolved.
  3. Carefully pour in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 1/3 cup of sifted black cocoa powder. Let this sit for 2 minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir until smooth.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients (3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt) into chocolate espresso mixture, and stir until just combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a spatula.
  5. Mix in the eggs one at a time.
  6. Then add 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp vinegar, and 1 tsp vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth - it will be thin!
  7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean (or with minimal crumbs).
  8. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place in the freezer for 15 minutes (to accelerate the cooling process).

Chocolate Buttercream:

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. 
  2. Add in the sifted cocoa, and mix on low until the cocoa is fully incorporated, and no clumps remain.
  3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
  4. Mix in the cooled, melted chocolate.
  5. Once fully mixed, add in the salt.
  6. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.
  7. If the frosting is too thick, add an extra Tbsp of heavy cream. If it's too thin, add in another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
  8. Stir by hand with a rubber spatula to get the frosting SUPER smooth.
  9. Place in a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip, and pipe a large swirl on top of each cupcake.

Notes

If you want to fill the cupcake or add a chocolate drizzle like I did, I recommend using my chocolate ganache recipe! I filled the cupcakes with my ganache when it was just barely lukewarm (so it was thicker), and then heated it up to allow me to drizzle it over the cupcakes

If you want to make mini chocolate cupcakes, this recipe can be baked in mini muffin tins! It makes about 40 mini cupcakes, and they only need to bake for 9-10 minutes.

Another fun way to dress up these chocolate cupcakes is with some chocolate sprinkles! Sometimes that's all you need.

Nutrition Information

Yield

14

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 299 Total Fat 16g Saturated Fat 7g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 8g Cholesterol 50mg Sodium 164mg Carbohydrates 37g Fiber 1g Sugar 29g Protein 3g

 

48 thoughts on “Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

  1. Used Dutch processed cocoa and bittersweet chocolate and these were sooooo good ? My new go to chocolate cupcake recipe!

  2. Hi chealssweets, if im going to omit the expresso powder, do i have to take out the water too? Or just use the 3/4 cup water alone? ?

    1. It can vary based on the size of you cupcake lines and tins, hence the 12-14 cupcake yield! I find I can usually make about 13 cupcakes in my tins

  3. I tried the cupcakes and was worried when I saw how runny the batter was, but I tried a batch and was amazed! The buttercream is so much sweeter than one I used to use, but the kiddos love it so much!! My husband too, but he won’t say it out loud. I’m still learning ganache, but it’s cooling in the fridge right now. Hoping to assemble these babies and treat the ladies at church tomorrow!

  4. Unfortunately the black cocoa powder I ordered from Amazon is stuck at the shipping facility due to a snowstorm. I have Hershey dark cocoa powder and was going to try this instead. I wanted to make black frosting, not sure it will get dark enough without the black cocoa. What do you suggest?

  5. I want to make this recipe but for a cake. I’ve looked at the other recipes you recommend for cake but they’re not dark enough. I like the dark richness of this recipe. Any suggestion for a cake version of this?

  6. If I use coffee instead of expresso, do I need to brew it? Or just use instant? Also, does using the coffee instead of the expresso change the taste?

    1. you can just use instant! I like using espresso powder because i think it adds a richer taste, but coffee or instant coffee would have a similar effect 🙂

    1. I don’t, but if you want to make espresso buttercream I’d recommend dissolving 2 tsp of instant espresso in 1 Tbsp of hot water (or just use 1 tbsp of real espresso), and adding It to one batch of my buttercream, in addition to the heavy cream. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  7. Hi there I’d like to try this next week, but as far as I know chocolate chips are generally about 6 oz. per cup so 1/3 cup would be about 57 grams NOT 175 grams. Can you confirm whether we should go by the weight or volume for the chocolate chips in the cupcake recipe? Thanks!

    1. you are 100% right! I am so sorry about that, thank you for catch it!!! <3 I rarely bake by weight, but add it in for all the international bakers out there!

    1. Melted butter could be used, but it will change the taste and texture of the cupcake. The recipe turns out best with vegetable oil! I just get the store brand of vegetable oil from my grocery store (ShopRite), but any brand of vegetable oil will work <3

Let me know what you think!