Super Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Lovers – get excited! These rich, fudgy, super decadent chocolate cupcakes are all for you! So soft, fluffy, and full of chocolate flavor in every bite… they’re addicting! And a chocolate lovers dream 🙂
The idea for these pretty little cupcakes came straight from my longing to get BACK in the kitchen after a drawn out (and pretty boring) 6 day moving hiatus. The first two days were actually quite easy, in the beginning I was all “Yay – no dishes!”… “Hooray for pizza and Chinese take-out”… but by day 5 I was ready for my whisks and spatulas to be unpacked already so I could get back to business. Good thing for us, my business is making you delicious, decadent cupcakes 😉 I’m pretty lucky, huh?

Since I already knew I wanted to make us some cupcakes, the question really came down to what kind of cupcakes they should be. Then – like magic – a reader emailed me (Hi, Donna from New Jersey!) and asked if I had a chocolate cupcake recipe I could recommend since I didn’t have one in my recipe index. I immediately ran (with my fingers) to my recipe index to see if this could be true, and you guys – it was! No chocolate cupcake recipe?! Hmmm. To this I say Challenge Accepted!

This is the best chocolate cupcake recipe
Looking for the perfect recipe can be exhausting because there are just so many out there. I’ve tried countless cupcakes over the years, but this is my top favorite recipe. I know we all have different preferences when it comes to our taste buds, but I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with this.

The cake itself is moist and tender, not too dense nor too light, with just the perfect crumb texture. This is the only cupcake batter I’ve used for years now. Sometimes I replace the ½ cup of milk in the recipe with an additional ½ cup hot water. I love both versions equally, so you can make the two of them and see which one you prefer. This recipe yields 16 cupcakes for me, but it might not be the same for you since each muffin tin brand is a bit different in its size capacity. Just fill the tins ¾ full with batter.

I have to admit making the perfect chocolate cupcake was a lot harder than I thought it would be. The first try I could tell without even taking a bite they were no good. The second batch came out with funky little spots on top? And the third turned out acceptable, but not epic by any accounts. So I spent Sunday testing recipes, too; tweaking teaspoons of this and 1/4 cups of that, until finally, I found us a perfect recipe! Well, at least my definition of perfect. They’re soft, fluffy, and don’t crumble when bitten; they’re packed with rich cocoa flavor, and hold up for up to 3 days; and the fudge buttercream is, simply put, killer. They’re also easy enough for a baker of any level to master! I even let my niece help with some of the mixing 🙂 Kids love that stuff!

And then there’s the frosting.
I’m talking deep, intense, chocolaty, fudge-consistency frosting. One that you’ll steal bites of from the bowl so many times that you’ll end up having nothing to frost your cupcakes with. The intense flavor comes from a combination of dark chocolate and cocoa powder. If you don’t want it too intense, add just a bit of cocoa powder at a time until you reach the desired taste. Then there’s some heavy cream and the other usual goodness such as butter and powdered sugar.

More tips
If you happen to have corn syrup, you can substitute some of the powdered sugar with it. This will make for an extra smooth frosting. Both natural unsweetened and Dutch-processed cocoa powder are ok, and either milk, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate can be used.

Chocolate cupcakes:

  •  1 and 1/3 cups (185 g/6.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  •  1/2 cup (50 g/1.7 oz) cocoa powder
  •  3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 cup (1 stick/113 g) butter, softened to room temperature
  •  1 cup (200 g/7 oz) granulated sugar
  •  2 large eggs
  •  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
  •  1/2 cup (120 ml) hot water

Chocolate Frosting:

  •  2/3 cup (1 and 1/3 sticks/150 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  •  1 and 1/3 cups (160 g/5.5 oz) powdered sugar, sifted (plus more as necessary)
  •  1/4 cup (25 g/1 oz) cocoa powder, sifted
  •  1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  115 g/4 oz. dark chocolate , melted and slightly cooled
  •  2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. For the cupcakes: In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. On medium speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Then beat in milk, followed by the other half of the dry ingredients, beating slowly until combined. Add hot water and beat just until combined. Do not overmix—the less you mix, the lighter the cake will be. The batter should be liquid.
  5. Divide batter evenly between cups, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Allow cupcakes to sit for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. For the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar in 2 additions and beat until smooth. Add cocoa powder and beat until completely creamy and smooth. Beat in vanilla extract, melted chocolate, and heavy cream, mixing until combined. Add powdered sugar as necessary until frosting is spreadable.
  7. Use frosting immediately to frost cupcakes, or store in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. Before using, bring to room temperature and whisk until smooth.
  8. Cupcakes are best the same day they’re made, but can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw, still covered, on the counter or overnight in the fridge.

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