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Chocolate Chip Birthday Cupcakes

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My ultra-moist and rich Chocolate Chip Birthday Cupcakes an a really simple dessert option for your next birthday celebration that’s going to turn heads!

Chocolate Chip Birthday Cupcakes - cupcake with liner peeled off

These indulgent cupcakes use simple ingredients, they’re a classic treat and can be made ahead of time. They’re even better the next day! Simple but effective. And trust me, when people bite into them, the entire day gets better from there. Well… that’s not true, these are the peak of any birthday so may serve them after dinner?

Seriously though, these have an irresistibly tender crumb that is moist, they’re rich in chocolate flavor and that frosting on top? Goodness gracious, it’s smooth and velvety! It’s all just very, very amazing. Plus, these are a great one for kids to get in on!

Chocolate Chip Birthday Cupcakes - cupcake with liner peeled off

If you’re looking for more fun birthday treats, I have some great ones on the site but check out my Funfetti Cupcakes, Soft Sprinkle Sugar Cookies and my Really Good Birthday Cake!

MOIST: It’s the ingredients!

Chocolate Chip Birthday Cupcakes - close up of a cupcake sliced in half

If you love a rich chocolate cupcake that is great at holding it’s moisture, then you’re in luck! Here’s some of the reasons why this recipe is absolutely amazing!

  • Cocoa powder – Dutch processed to be specific! It’s really rich in chocolate flavor.
  • Boiling water – you add this at the end of the batter making process. It dissolves the cocoa powder intensifying the chocolate flavor!
  • Buttermilk – this magical ingredient does two things. It activates the bicarb soda which helps these cupcakes rise and stay light and delicate in texture, but also provides moisture!
  • Vegetable oil – helps keep these cupcakes moist. They’re even more moist the next day making them a great make ahead option.
  • Silky smooth frosting – that is so deeply rich in chocolate flavor and that’s because it has cocoa powder and melted chocolate. The result is velvet-like frosting!

Have I convinced you that these are THE BEST chocolate cupcakes out there? By the way, if you want my Devils Food Cupcake recipe, grab it here!

What’re the best sprinkles to use for baking?

Sprinkles - ingredients image

Ok, first of all we have really bad sprinkles in Australia. They’re terrible in every way, shape, size, color brightness and their ability to be used in bakes. There’s no getting around that.

The wrong type of sprinkles can even melt on frosting! The sprinkles I like are the American-style, rainbow Jimmies. These are coated in something that stops them bleeding or melting in your cake batter and cookies. They also don’t dissolve into a sugary mess.

Americans, you can pretty much get these anywhere. Fancy Sprinkles make them, Wilton makes them. Aussies, our options are limited but we have some! Lollipop Cake Supplies have them, check out their site for ordering options.

Ingredients You Need To Make Chocolate Chip Birthday Cupcakes

Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.


  • All-purpose flour – also known as plain flour
  • Caster sugar – also known as superfine sugar. If you can’t get superfine sugar you can use granulated sugar instead.
  • Dutch processed cocoa powder – is an unsweetened cocoa powder which has been treated with alkaline and potassium carbonate to neutralize the acidity that is naturally found in cocoa powder. It’s darker in color and strong in chocolate flavor.
  • Baking powder – this helps create gas in your bakes to help them rise, resulting in a light and fluffy texture.
  • Bicarbonate of soda – also known as bicarb soda or baking soda (different from baking powder) is an alkaline compound that when combined with something acidic like vinegar, lemon or buttermilk releases gas that helps you bakes rise, resulting in a soft and airy texture.
  • Salt – I use fine salt in all my recipes.
  • Dark chocolate chips – also known as semi-sweet baking chips. These are designed to be used in cakes without melting into the cake.
  • Butter – I used unsalted butter. Melt it in the microwave or on the stove. Let it cool slightly before using.
  • Vegetable oil – you can also use canola oil. The oil helps provide moisture to the cupcakes and give it a tender and soft texture.
  • Eggs – I used large eggs. Each egg weighs approx. 53g in weight.
  • Buttermilk – acts as a leavening agent in this cupcake recipe. It’s acidic in nature and reacts with the bicarb soda helping the cake rise and become soft and moist.
  • Boiling water – adding boiling water at the end of the batter making process helps intensify the chocolate flavour by dissolving the cocoa powder in the batter. It also results in an incredibly moist cake.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • Unsalted butter – make sure your butter is softened before using for an ultra-creamy frosting. You can test if it’s soft enough by pressing your finger into the butter. If it gives a little resistance without pressing too hard and you leave an indent in the butter, it’s softened. The temperature should be about 21°C / 70°F.
  • Salt – I used fine salt.
  • Vanilla ExtractAlways use good quality vanilla extract when baking, it makes a huge difference. I have a great recipe here for it if you’d like to try your own!
  • Cocoa powder – I used Dutch-processed cocoa powder but natural cocoa powder will also work.

How to make Chocolate Chip Birthday Cupcakes!


  • Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add some of those dry ingredients into a small bowl with the chocolate chips and mix to coat. This will stop the chocolate chips from all sinking to the bottom as they bake.
  • Add the wet ingredients (except the boiling water) and mix to combine. Add the boiling water and mix immediately until combined. Try not to overmix!
  • Add the chocolate chips and fold through. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop even amounts of batter over 12 cupcake liners.
  • Bake and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

    How To Make The Chocolate Frosting

    • To make the frosting – cream the butter, vanilla and sugar until pale and fluffy
    • Add the cocoa powder and melted chocolate. Beat until well combined and fluffy.
    1. Frost your cupcakes using an open star tip.
    2. Finish with sprinkles!
    Chocolate Chip Birthday Cupcakes - extreme close up of frosting

    Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!

    • Measure out using kitchen scales – measuring ingredients out by weight and not cups is the best way to get consistent results every time! I wrote more about it here!
    • Mix the chocolate chips with some of the dry ingredients to stop them from sinking to the bottom as the cupcakes bake.
    • Take care not to overmix the batter. Mix only until no dry ingredient are showing.
    • Make them your own! Use any flavored frosting you like and add additional flavors like jam or peanut butter in the center by using an apple corer to core the center out.
    • Add your favorite candy on top of these cupcakes to make them a fun kids baking project!

    Frequently Asked Questions about making Cupcakes


    Storing these is easy. Store them in a high, airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Store them in the fridge if it’s humid or hot where you are. Humidity can cause the cupcake liners to come away from your cupcakes. Even the humidity in the fridge but the fridge will stop the frosting from melting if it’s a warm day.

    Can I make my own buttermilk?

    Technically, yes. But store-bought yields better results. The buttermilk activates the bicarb soda in this recipe which helps the cupcakes rise. If you’re going to make your own, mix 1 white vinegar with 1 cup of full fat milk. Let it rest for 5 minutes and then use as much as you need.

    Why did my chocolate cupcakes sink in the middle?

    It can be a couple reasons, but just keep in mind, you can cover them up with frosting and nobody will know!

    • Overmixing the batter
    • Expired bicarb soda and baking powder.
    • Oven temperature was too low
    • Incorrect measuring
    • Not baked long enough and still raw in the middle. If this is the case, just bake them a little longer until cooked properly. Cover up that sink with frosting!

    Why did my cupcakes rise like volcanoes or spill out of the liners?

    You may have overfilled the cupcake liners. Make sure the 12 cupcake liners are filled evenly. Most of the time its because your oven temperature was too high. If this is the case, your oven temp but not be accurate. An oven thermometer that you can purchase online and put inside your oven will give you an exact temperature reading.

    Can I use melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder in my chocolate cupcakes?

    No. Using melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder will alter the end result and texture of your cupcakes. The cocoa powder is designed to provide a strong enough flavor while keeping the texture of your cupcakes light. Melted chocolate will cause them to be too heavy and dense. Some recipes use melted chocolate, this one works with cocoa powder.

    Why did my cupcake liners come away from my cupcakes?

    This mostly happens because of humidity or moisture. As soon as your cupcakes are finished baking, transfer them to a cooling rack. This will prevent the liners from sweating in the cupcake tin as they cool. Remember, these cupcakes are moist so they will sweat if left in the tin. This can also happen in humid environments.

    Can I make these in advance?

    Yes! Allow them to cool completely at room temperature before placing in an airtight container for up to three days. Leave them unfrosted and frost them before serving so the frosting is nice and fresh!

    Can I freeze these cupcakes?

    Yes, you can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes by letting them cool completely at room temperature, then wrapping in plastic wrap before freezing. Thaw completely at room temperature before frosting and serving.

    Why is this recipe is in grams and not cups?

    The short answer is accuracy! It is far easier, more accurate and you get more consistent results when you measure ingredients by weight, especially in dessert and bread baking! To learn more about using digital kitchen scales, check out this post!

    Gave this a go? Don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Hungry for more? Join me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and TikTok for more great recipes!

    If you loved this recipe, check these out!

    Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @thescranline on Facebook and Instagram!

    Chocolate Chip Birthday Cupcakes - thumbnail

    Chocolate Chip Birthday Cupcakes

    These simple and moist Chocolate Chip Birthday Cupcakes are rich in chocolate flavor, topped with chocolate buttercream and sprinkles!

    Serves 12

    5 from 1 vote
    Print Recipe Pin Recipe
    Prep: 30 minutes
    Cook: 30 minutes
    Cool: 2 hours
    Total: 3 hours
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Calories: 747kcal


    Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

    • 185 g all-purpose flour
    • 210 g caster sugar
    • 50 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
    • 1/2 tsp fine salt
    • 200 g dark chocolate chips
    • 160 g unsalted butter, melted
    • 74 g vegetable oil, or canola
    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 191 g buttermilk, room temperature
    • 60 g boiling water

    Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

    • 400 g unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 155 g powdered sugar
    • 50 g cocoa powder, sieved
    • 200 g dark cooking chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature (see notes)
    • 100 g rainbow sprinkles


    Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

    • Preheat a fan forced oven to 110C / 275F (130C / 265F for no fan). Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
    • To a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt to a medium sized mixing bowl and sieve. Then mix with a whisk. Add the d mix until combined.
    • Add the butter, oil, eggs and buttermilk to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined and no dry ingredients are showing. Take care not to overmix the batter.
    • Lastly, pour in the boiling water and mix. The batter will darken and thin out.
    • Scoop the batter into the cupcakes filling them up 3/4 of the way. Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

    Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

    • Add the softened butter, salt and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. If using a stand mixer fit it with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
    • Scrape down the bowl and add all the sifted powdered sugar and cocoa powder and begin beating on low speed. When no dry ingredients are showing, turn the speed up to high speed and beat for 10 minutes.
    • Scrape down the bowl again and add the melted chocolate. Beat on high speed until everything is well combined, about 5 minutes.

    Let’s Decorate!

    • Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with an open star top and pipe swirls on each cupcake. Finish with chocolate or rainbow sprinkles.


    Storage – Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.
    Nutrition – is based on per cupcake. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.
    A note on measurements – this recipe is offered in weight measurements. This is in an effort to offer the most accurate way to get the best results. Cup measurements simply aren’t accurate enough for a recipe that needs precision and cup sizes differ depending on where you are in the world. To learn more about how to measure ingredients using digital kitchen scales, click here!


    Calories : 747kcal
    Carbonhydrates: 58g
    Protein: 8g
    Fat: 53g
    Saturated Fat: 35g
    Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g
    Monounsaturated Fat : 13g
    Trans Fat : 2g
    Cholesterol: 133mg
    Sodium: 255mg
    Potassium : 319mg
    Fiber: 6g
    Sugar : 35g
    Vitamin A: 1237IU
    Vitamin C: 0.1mg
    Calcium: 104mg
    Iron: 2mg
    Nutrition Disclosure
    Gave this recipe a go?Mention @thescranline or tag #thescranline!

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