Darcie Bakes //

Baking from scratch… because good things take time.

The *Best* Chocolate Cupcakes [With Cocoa Buttercream].


I have made quite a few chocolate cupcakes in my baking days, but I think this recipe takes the cake {pun totally intended}. While I’ve never really met a chocolate cake that I totally hated, there are, of course, several requirements for my ideal chocolate cake. Those requirements are as follows:

  • It has to be moist. Dry cake is just…Ugh. No one has time for that.
  • It must have a sinfully rich chocolate flavor. I don’t want a mere hint of chocolate; I want to be hit IN THE FACE with the chocolatey goodness.
  • It should have a nice balance of being light ‘n fluffy but also a tiny bit dense.
  • It should almost always be topped with some kind of chocolate frosting [I’ll accept vanilla bean frosting, though].
{Obligatory aerial view!}

Yup. Just like the ultimate vanilla cupcakes recipe from The Cupcake Project, this recipe was also tirelessly tested by tons of bakers all over the Interwebs. Obviously, I had to test out the recipe myself, and of course I was pleased with the end results. I can’t even recall for whom I made these cupcakes, but I’m pretty sure I ate at least two or three in one sitting regardless. I’d say that this is definitely my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe at this point in my baking life. The cupcakes hold up really well, and they’re super rich, moist, and perfectly chocolatey. No doubt, they satisfy my crazy chocolate cravings. If you’re craving some chocolate cupcakes, you should definitely make these. I’m salivating just thinking about them right now…. I guess that means I need to make them again soon. 😉

{Mmmm… Cake.}

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The Best Chocolate Cupcakes with Cocoa Buttercream Frosting.

Yield: Sixteen (16) regular-sized cupcakes.


For the cupcakes:
– 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 2 ounces of your favorite chocolate [I like semi-sweet Ghirardelli for this, but you can use whatever as long as it’s pure chocolate and doesn’t contain any add-ins.]
– 2 large eggs, at room temperature
– 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
– 1/2 cup + 1 TBSP. (4 1/2 fluid ounces) vegetable or canola oil, measured in a liquid measuring cup
– 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
– 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. baking soda
– 1/2 cup cocoa powder [I prefer dutch-processed for this, but regular unsweetened cocoa powder will work as well.]
– 1 tsp. espresso powder [This is optional, but I prefer to add it for more caffeine and a deeper chocolate flavor!]
– 1/2 cup room temperature water, measured in a liquid measuring cup

For the cupcakes:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line two muffin tins with sixteen liners; set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix butter and sugar until completely combined; it will look like wet sand.
3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave according to instructions, or over a double boiler. Allow the chocolate to cool to touch. Once cooled, add it to the butter/sugar mixture, and mix until it’s just combined.
4. Add in the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, and mix until just combined.
5. Next, add in the oil, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix until just combined.
6. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, sift together the dry ingredients [flour, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, and espresso powder]. Use a whisk to ensure that the dry ingredients are all well-incorporated after sifting.
7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three additions, mixing until just combined after each addition.
8. Add in the water, and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed to ensure that everything is properly incorporated.
9. Fill prepared cupcake liners about 2/3rds of the way full, and bake for about 18 minutes. Check for doneness at the 18 minute mark; a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake should come out clean (or with a few moist crumbs is also fine). If not done, bake for another minute or two until done.
10. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack, then frost as desired once they’re completely cooled.

*For the frosting: I used The Cupcake Project’s Vanilla Frosting Recipe. I simply doubled the recipe, and added probably about 1/3 cup of cocoa powder, plus some heavy cream to make it extra creamy. Feel free to play around with any frosting recipe that you like!

+ Chocolate cupcake recipe via The Cupcake Project.

{A cupcake sammich! Yaaaassss.}

2 responses to “The *Best* Chocolate Cupcakes [With Cocoa Buttercream].”

  1. Stef Avatar

    This post makes me SO happy! Thanks so much Darcie! I’m so glad that you love my Ultimate recipes. They are the culmination of so much work and the recipes that I am most proud of on my entire blog.

    1. Darcie Avatar

      Yay!! Thank you for the recipe and for having tested it out! It’s a great recipe; definitely one of my favorites. 🙂

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