These are truly The Best Easy Moist Chocolate Cupcakes. If you are looking for a decadent recipe for chocolate cupcakes that is both rich and fudgy while being light and fluffy AND has deep chocolate flavor, then this is the recipe you are looking for. Topped with a creamy chocolate buttercream frosting that isn't overly sweet!
These chocolate cupcakes are super moist, almost fudgey, have a perfect light crumb and are incredibly chocolatey. I can usually tell if a cupcake isn't good if the brown color is very light. Now, that's just my opinion, but I love when my cupcakes come out of the oven nice and dark and you can just tell by the smell and appearance that they're going to be amazing. Am I just a chocolate snob? This is such an easy moist chocolate cupcakes recipe that is always receives rave reviews! moist chocolate cake recipe
These have been my go-to chocolate cupcakes for some time now and I have made them PLENTY of times for various events so I can for sure tell you they are fool/fail-proof.
The chocolate frosting just melts in you mouth and pipes beautifully onto cupcakes and you can use it for frosting anything! I love frosting cakes and brownies with it too.
Why you'll love this recipe
- These super moist chocolate cupcakes are absolute chocolate overload!
- If you are looking for a chocolate cupcake recipe that yields intense chocolate flavor in both the cupcake recipe AND frosting recipe, you've come to the right place.
- These would be the most perfect chocolate birthday cupcakes! Just top with sprinkles!
Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Cocoa powder
- Baking soda
- Buttermilk: To make your own buttermilk: Stir in 2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar or fresh lemon juice to the milk. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until thickened.
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract
- Hot strong coffee: If using instant, use 1-2 teaspoon with ½ cup hot water
This easy buttercream frosting is the best frosting for chocolate cake!
- Unsalted butter
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Cocoa powder
- Heavy cream or milk
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions.
Substitutions & Variations
Best Easy Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
- Change up the frosting: White chocolate buttercream, cream cheese frosting, peanut butter frosting, raspberry buttercream or raspberry champagne frosting are all delicious options.
- Gluten-free chocolate cupcakes: Substitute with a 1:1 gluten-free flour.
- Dairy-free chocolate cupcakes: Substitute regular milk with your favorite dairy-free milk like almond, coconut, oat or soy.
- Nutella cupcakes: Top with nutella frosting and fill the centers with nutella ganache.
- Chocolate chip cupcakes: Fold mini chocolate chips to the batter.
- Mini size: Make mini chocolate cupcakes perfect for kids in a mini muffin tin.
Tips for making a moist chocolate cupcake
High quality cocoa powder: Use high quality cocoa powder for the best flavor. I use mostly Hershey's brand in all of my recipes and it works just fine. I don't recommend using store brand unless you absolute have to.
Don't Overmix: Mix the cupcake batter just until the ingredients are combined. Overmixing can lead to dense cupcakes. A few lumps are okay - they'll disappear during baking.
Measure Flour correctly: When measuring flour, use the spoon-and-level method: spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a flat edge. This prevents dense and dry cupcakes caused by adding too much flour!
Baking Time: I alway check for doneness a few minutes before the recommended baking time just incase! A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few moist crumbs, not wet batter.
To Make Ahead: These moist chocolate cupcakes and the frosting can both be made a few days ahead of time. Place cooled cupcakes in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. For the frosting, prepare and refrigerate for up to 3 days as well. Allow cupcakes and frosting to come to room temperature. Beat frosting into a fluffy texture and pipe onto cupcakes.
Room temperature: Store frosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Freezing instructions: Wrap completely cooled cupcakes tight in a layer of plastic wrap and then place in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature. Make buttercream fresh.
Sure, but I don't recommend it! Adding coffee to your chocolate cupcakes deepens the chocolate flavor and provides a more complex chocolate taste. You will not taste the coffee at all in the final result! If you are concerned, just replace with plain hot water.
Yes! Hot, not boiling. The heat will activate the cocoa powder to bring out even more flavor.
Yes, you can substitute for vegetable or canola oil. BUT I like to use butter because it adds another layer of rich flavor.
Yes, you can refrigerate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream, especially if you're in a warm environment. However, bring them to room temperature before serving to enjoy the full flavor and texture
Use a piping bag or a resealable bag with a corner snipped off (my go-to!) fitted with a large star tip for a classic swirl design. Hold the bag perpendicular to the cupcake and apply even pressure while piping from the center outward.
Sifting the powdered sugar and cocoa powder before adding it into the recipe can help prevent lumps and create a smoother buttercream. Also, the addition of heavy cream can enhance the creaminess.
You sure can! To fill two 9" round cake pans, you will just need to double the ingredients in this chocolate cupcake recipe. You will also need to double the buttercream recipe to frost them. The cakes should bake for approximately 35-40 minutes at 350°F.
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The Best Easy Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
- ¾ cup + 2 tbs all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1 egg
- ½ cup buttermilk see notes to make your own
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup hot strong coffee or espresso if using instant, use 1-2 teaspoon with ½ cup hot water
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 2-3 tbs heavy cream or milk for a less creamy frosting
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners, set aside.
For the cupcakes
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Slowly pour in dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour in hot coffee and mix until completely combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Batter will be very runny.
- Divide batter among prepared cupcake liners no more than ⅔ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out moist with a few crumbs. Tops should slightly spring back when touched. Allow cupcakes to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to finish cooling.
For the frosting
- Whip butter for 3 minutes on medium speed until smooth and no lumps remain. Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar and beat until completely combined. Add vanilla and heavy cream and whip frosting until light and fluffy. Start with 1 tbs of heavy cream and work up from there if needed. Once cupcakes are completely cooled, frost and serve.
The provided nutritional information is an estimate per serving. Accuracy is not guaranteed.