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Chocolate Cupcakes

by Nick Makrides
Published: Last Updated on

Ultra-moist, tender and so rich, these Chocolate Cupcakes are the ultimate hit of chocolate! They stay moist for days, use simple ingredients and are topped with dreamy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting!

Chocolate Cupcakes - cupcake cut in half showing frosting

Before we get into these cupcakes and why I love them so much, here are my top 3 favorite cupcake recipes on the site!

Moist factor – ULTRA

Chocolate Cupcakes - step by step image

Here’s why everyone should start using the word moist and love it. These cupcakes are ultra-moist. That’s because we use boiling water as our last step when making the batter which does a couple things:

  • Makes these cupcakes fluffy – the hot water activates the baking powder and bicarb soda in the batter ingredients.
  • Makes them more chocolatey – it helps dissolve the cocoa powder and gives these a smooth and ultra-chocolate flavor.
  • It adds more moisture! – the boiling water helps make this Chocolate Cupcake recipe even more moist. Water = moisture. Science.

Why you’ll love my Chocolate Cupcakes!!

There are so many things to love about these ultra-moist Chocolate Cupcakes!

  • Easy – They’re so easy to make and use basic ingredients you most likely have!
  • Moist and tender! – these cupcakes are ultra-moist, delicate, soft and so tender.
  • Ultra-chocolatey – these cupcakes deliver on chocolate with a rich and moist chocolate cupcake with creamy chocolate buttercream frosting on top!

Chocolate Cupcakes - lonesome chocolate cupcake

Bake low and slow for ultra-moist cupcakes

I bake my cupcakes on a really low temperature to stop them from doming and because they come out dense and ultra-moist!

  • Fan forced oven – 110C / 230F.
  • Conventional (no fan) – 130C / 265F.

Bake them in the middle rack of your oven for best results.

Which frosting goes best with Chocolate Cupcakes?

Pretty much any frosting will go nicely with these cupcakes but here are my recommendations!

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting - THUMBNAIL 02

Ingredients To Make Chocolate 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.

Jump to Recipe

Chocolate Cupcakes - cupcakes ingredients


  • All-purpose flour – also known as plain flour. Don’t be tempted to use cake flour as the plain flour mixed with cocoa powder basically makes this as light as cake flour.
  • Caster sugar – also known as superfine sugar.
  • Cocoa powder (cupcakes) – It’s best to use Natural cocoa powder for this recipe as it reacts with the bicarb soda in the dry ingredients and helps the cupcakes rise while giving it a deep rich chocolate flavor.
  • Baking powder
  • Bicarb soda – also known as bicarbonate of soda or baking soda.
  • Salt – I used fine salt.
  • Butter (melted) – I used unsalted butter. You want to make sure your butter is cooled a little before adding to the batter.
  • Vegetable oil – canola oil will also work.
  • Eggs – I used large eggs. Make sure they’re at room temperature. If they’re straight out of the fridge pop them into hot (not boiling) tap water for 10 minutes before using.
  • Buttermilk – regular milk will also work but the buttermilk makes these cupcakes super moist. I prefer using store bought buttermilk.
  • Boiling water – The boiling water is one of the most instrumental ingredients in this recipe. It’s what helps makes these cupcakes ULTRA moist!

Chocolate Cupcakes - chocolate frosting ingredients


  • Butter (softened) – I used unsalted butter. It’s SUPER important to make sure your butter is softened before using it for the frosting otherwise you won’t get creamy, fluffy frosting.
  • 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!
  • Powdered sugar – also known as icing sugar. Make sure your sugar is sifted with no lumps for a smooth frosting.
  • Cocoa powder (frosting) – use It’s best to use a good quality Dutch process cocoa powder for this frosting. It has a deliciously strong flavor and is less acidic.
  • Dark cooking chocolate (frosting) – Using good quality chocolate is important in this recipe. I used semi-sweet chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. You can find cooking chocolate in the baking isle of your supermarket. Make sure you let your chocolate cool down before using in the frosting. Warm is ok, not hot.

Making the perfect Chocolate Cupcake.

Chocolate Cupcakes - steps 01

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients together (except boiling water).
  3. Add wet to dry.
  4. Mix together only until no dry ingredients are showing.

Chocolate Cupcakes - steps 02

  1. Add boiling water to the batter.
  2. Mix until evenly combined.
  3. Line cupcake tin with liners
  4. Fill liners with batter 3/4 of the way. Bake.

Chocolate Cupcakes - steps 03

  1. Once baked, cool on a cooling rack.
  2. Frost with my creamy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!

  • For an extra chocolate flavor – replace the boiling water with 1/3 cup of brewed coffee.
  • Sieve your cocoa powder to make sure it’s lump free in your batter. Trying to get the lumps out will likely result in overmixing your batter. Speaking of…
  • Don’t overmix your batter, it can cause your cupcakes to shrink and come out tough. Only mix until no dry ingredients are showing.
  • Scrape down the bowl – to make sure no dry ingredients are left behind.
  • Room Temperature ingredients are important in this recipe. Make sure your eggs and milk are at room temperature. Microwave your milk for 30 seconds and soak your eggs in warm water for 10 minutes before using. It’ll result in a much better cupcake batter and a cupcake that bakes nicely!
  • Fill your liners the right amount – about 3/4 of the way is the right amount for this recipe. Anything more than that and they can
  • When frosting your cupcakes – avoid using a round piping tip with chocolate frosting unless you’re going for the 💩 emoji look! 🤣

Frequently Asked Questions about Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes - cupcake to the front with blurred cupcakes in the background

How do I store these cupcakes?

Store these cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 4 days. They’re even more moist the next day.

Can I make this recipe into a cake?

Try my Easy Chocolate Cake recipe which is just as delicious and moist as this cupcake recipe!

What’re the best oven settings to use?

I use a fan forced oven which runs hotter than a conventional oven with no fan. If using a conventional oven (no fan) bake these on 130C / 265F. Bake them in the middle rack of your oven for best results!

What is the best cocoa powder to use?

For this recipe, you want to use unsweetened Natural Cocoa powder. It’s acidic enough to reacts with the bicarb soda and helps the cupcakes rise!

Why are my cupcakes domed at the top?

Look, they’re going toa taste the same, but it’s likely your oven temperature was too high. I would recommend using an oven thermometer for best results. You pop it into your oven and it will give you an accurate reading of your oven temperature.

What size muffin tin do you use?

I use a Wiltshire muffin tin. It’s pretty standard in size.
Bottom 5.5cm
Height: 3cm
Top: 7cm

What size cupcake liners do you use?

I use a brand named Confetta who are based here in Australia, but any greaseproof cupcake liners will work.
Bottom: 5cm
Height: 4cm
Top: 7.5cm

Why have my cupcakes sunk?

Most likely because they weren’t baked enough. Pop them back in the oven to finish baking as soon as you see them sinking. It may not prevent them from sinking but they’ll at least be baked when people eat them and you can just cover them up with frosting.

Why have my cupcakes come away from the liners?

This can happen for a couple reasons:

  • Humidity – your oven is humid which can cause the cupcakes to sweat.
  • Cupcakes were cooled in the liners – once cool enough to handle, transfer your cupcakes to a cooling rack to avoid them sweating.
  • Overmixing – if the cupcake batter is overmixed (mix only until you see no dry ingredients) they can shrink as they cool and come away from the cupcake liners.

What happened to the old recipe?
Chocolate Cupcakes - OLD PHOTO

I updated this recipe because I believe recipes can always get better and you can always find new ways to make recipes tastier. The old recipe is great and is used widely through this website with my older, over the top cupcake recipes. This recipe is designed as a stand alone and not really designed to work with those older recipes. Basically both recipes are great, but I prefer this new updated recipe, it’s just so moist and delicious.

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!

Looking for more chocolate fixes?

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

Chocolate Cupcakes - thumbnail image

Chocolate Cupcakes

These rich and fluffy Ultra Moist Chocolate Cupcakes are topped with creamy chocolate frosting, making each bite a heavenly indulgence!

Serves 12

4.7 from 29 votes
Author: Nick Makrides
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Cool: 2 hours
Total: 3 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 517kcal
Author: Nick Makrides


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups (185 g) all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1 cup (220 g) caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) cocoa powder sifted
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) unsalted butter melted
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (185 ml) buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (60 ml) boiling water

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Preheat a fan forced oven to 110C / 275F. Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt to a medium sized mixing bowl and sieve. Then mix with a Wisk.
  • 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 your softened butter, salt and vanilla extract to a large 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.


Dark cooking chocolate - you want to use dark cooking chocolate and not regular eating chocolate for this recipe as it’s designed to be melted and used in baking recipes. Make sure you let the melted chocolate cool down before using. Warm is ok. Hot will melt your frosting.
To make a smoother frosting
  • Add half of the frosting into a heatproof bowl and microwave for 10 seconds or until jiggly (not melted) in the center. Add to the rest of the frosting and beat on medium speed for a couple minutes.
  • Right before using or adding to a piping bag, use a spatula to beat the air out of the frosting until smooth. Alternatively, you can leave in the mixer on low speed until ready to use, up to 10 minutes.
Butter for frosting.
Make sure your butter is soft! If you store your butter in the fridge, microwave it for 10 seconds at a time, flipping it over each time until it’s soft. Not melted. You want it to be soft enough that if you press on it with your finger there’s a little resistance, but your finger can make a dent.
Storage - Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.
Nutrition - is based on per cupcake. This recipe makes 12
A note on measurements - all ingredients in this recipe are offered in Australian cup measurements and weight measurements. Weight measurements are created by me, in my kitchen here in Melbourne Australia. The best way to get recipe success is to measure ingredients by weight, using kitchen scales.


Serving: 10g
Calories : 517kcal
Carbonhydrates: 37g
Protein: 6g
Fat: 38g
Saturated Fat: 23g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat : 10g
Trans Fat : 1g
Cholesterol: 104mg
Sodium: 234mg
Potassium : 188mg
Fiber: 5g
Sugar : 20g
Vitamin A: 895IU
Calcium: 48mg
Iron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclosure
Gave this recipe a go?Mention @thescranline or tag #thescranline!

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Bella July 17, 2022 - 12:14 pm

Hi Nick,

Is it possible to substitute the whole milk for buttermilk OR instead add a tablespoon of vinegar into the milk?

Nick Makrides August 1, 2022 - 4:25 am

Hmm, you could, but these cupcakes already come out incredibly moist! N x

Jane September 8, 2022 - 2:53 am

3 stars
I must say this method isn’t my favorite, my cupcakes came out very dry. I do prefer the traditional method of creaming the butter and sugar first. I love many of your other recipes though so I will keep trying 🙂

Nick Makrides September 9, 2022 - 10:45 am

Hi Jane! Hmm, this recipe is super moist. I’m actually developing an even nicer chocolate recipe. I’m glad you took the time to let me know your thoughts though and that you enjoy my other recipes! N x


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