Skip to Content

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 recipe
How 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!


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

Let Me Know What You Think!

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

Yield: 12

Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Photo of a batch of my 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.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 3 minutes


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup hot water (180g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso or coffee (3g)
  • 1/3 cup milk or dark chocolate chips, melted (60g)
  • 1/3 cup black cocoa powder (30g)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (114g)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (75g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar (4g)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (98g)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150g)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (3g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (2g)

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa, sifted (45g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (2g)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (375g)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or whipping cream (60g)
  • 2/3 cups dark chocolate, melted and cooled (120g)

Suggested Equipment


Chocolate Cupcake Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175 C. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. Pour 3/4 cup of hot water into a large bowl. Mix in 1 1/2 tsp of coffee or espresso powder, and stir lightly until dissolved.
  3. Add 1/3 cup melted chocolate chips and 1/3 cup of black cocoa powder. Whisk together until the ingredients are fully combined.
  4. Whisk 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp vinegar into the cocoa mixture.
  5. Sift 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 whisk until just combined. The batter will be thin, but that’s how it’s supposed to be.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to finish cooling. Or if you're in a rush, 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 1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix on low until the cocoa is fully incorporated, and no clumps remain.
  3. Slowly mix in 3 cups powdered sugar on the lowest speed. Half way through add in 1/4 cup heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix.
  4. Continue to mix on a low speed and pour in the melted and cooled chocolate.
  5. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.
  6. 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.
  7. Stir by hand with a rubber spatula to get the frosting SUPER smooth.
  8. Place in a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip, and pipe a large swirl on top of each cupcake.


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



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 343Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 36mgSodium 194mgCarbohydrates 53gFiber 2gSugar 41gProtein 4g

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Christmas Cupcake Project • Adventures of an Island Girl

Saturday 25th of December 2021

[…] mint and chocolate were destined to be together. For this cupcake, I followed’s moist chocolate cupcake recipe and topped it off with a peppermint […]

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting - Easy Recipe, Ready in Minutes

Saturday 4th of December 2021

[…] used it to frost my chocolate layer cake, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate macarons, and even my buttercream […]


Thursday 9th of September 2021

Love this recipe and the cakes turned out super moist and soft. However in terms of the buttercream frosting do have a question . I used home ground powdered sugar the first time n store bought castor sugar the second time around n the frosting had an excellent taste though was grainy. Is the icing supposed to be grainy or smooth ? Can I use icing sugar instead or will this affect the sweetness? Pls advise

Sloth Cupcakes: Easy Recipe & Step-by-Step Tutorial

Wednesday 8th of September 2021

[…] made with my chocolate cupcake recipe, which is one of my […]


Friday 27th of August 2021

These are so dang good! My new favorite and "go-to" cupcake from now on. I also especially love that I don't need to use a mixer! Thanks for the great recipe! ??

Skip to Recipe