Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes are easier than you think to whip up from scratch. These cupcakes are soft, moist, filled with chocolate flavor, and topped with a velvety chocolate buttercream frosting.
If you’re looking for a homemade chocolate cupcake recipe, this is it. You’ll love these chocolate cupcakes because they are surprisingly easy to make, and turn out soft and moist.
Not to mention they’re filled to the brim with chocolate. The Chocolate Buttercream Frosting on top is velvety and smooth, with rich chocolate flavor.
This cupcake is definitely intended for the chocolate fanatic in your life!
This recipe requires buttermilk, and it can’t be substituted with regular milk. The buttermilk is acidic, and works with the baking powder and baking soda, as well as other acidic ingredients in this recipe (like cocoa powder) to create the perfect balance.
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, it’s easy to make a substitute in your own kitchen.
For this recipe, grab your liquid measuring cup. Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar (whichever you have on hand). Then, fill the measuring cup to the 1/2 cup mark with milk.
Allow it to sit for 5 minutes. This will cause the milk to curdle and create your own homemade buttermilk.
How to Make Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes
First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. For this recipe, you’ll make 18 cupcakes, so you’ll want to use a 24-cup baking pan (this is the one I use and love).
Next, gather your ingredients. You’ll need buttermilk, all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder (NOT dutch process), vegetable oil, vanilla extract, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. You’ll also need some warm water (not shown).
First, add the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, and water to a bowl. Mix to combine.
In a separate bowl, sift together your dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Then, add half of your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients.
Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until they are just combined. Then, add the remaining dry ingredients and gently mix until just combined.
You don’t want to over-mix or beat your batter because this will add excess air to the batter. When you bake your cupcakes, this will cause them to rise quickly, then sink in the middle.
To prevent this, stir your ingredients with a spoon instead of using a hand mixer. Or, use the lowest setting on your hand mixer and stop as soon as the ingredients are incorporated.
Your batter will be thin – this is normal. I like to use a large cookie scoop to perfectly portion cupcakes. Mine is the 3 tablespoon size – you can also spoon 3 tablespoons of batter into each cup for perfect portioning.
Each cupcake liner should be half full. After baking, allow your cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Chocolate Cupcake Recipe Updates
This recipe was originally posted on my website in June 2018.
A few readers noted that their cupcakes were sinking in the middle. I have since changed the combination of baking powder and baking soda, as well as added warm water to the recipe. The oven temperature was also lowered to 325 degrees, from 350 degrees.
With these changes, there should be no more issue with cupcakes sinking in the middle.
I also slightly increased the amount of cocoa from 6 tablespoons to 8 tablespoons (or 1/2 cup), for a richer chocolate flavor.
Lastly, I’ve added process shots to this post, to show you how each step should look along the way.
I’ve included my chocolate buttercream frosting in the recipe card below, if you’d like to make your cupcakes exactly as pictured. See my Chocolate Buttercream Frosting post for more details on how this recipe is made.
You’re welcome to use other frostings on this chocolate cupcake, too. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Classic American Buttercream Frosting
- Whipped Buttercream Frosting – reader favorite recipe!
- Salted Caramel Frosting Recipe – by Sally’s Baking Addiction
Easy Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder (NOT dutch process)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk or sift together dry ingredients : flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add your wet ingredients: granulated sugar, eggs, buttermilk, warm water, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
- Add half of dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Pour batter into cupcake liners, filling halfway full. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder.
- In a separate bowl, add butter. Beat until creamy. Add confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder and starting slowly, mix until ingredients are fully combined. Then, whip at high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and heavy cream, then beat for another minute until fluffy.
- Pipe or spread frosting with a knife onto cupcakes and serve.
- Cupcakes are best served the same day of baking, but will remain moist for up to 48 hours when covered in a sealed container.
- Amount of frosting is enough to frost generously with a knife, or to pipe a moderate amount of frosting (as shown in the photos). For very tall, dramatic frosting, I recommend adjusting the servings to make enough frosting for 24 cupcakes, to frost 18 cupcakes.