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Chocolate Cupcakes With Buttercream Frosting

If like me you love chocolate, then these are the cupcakes for you. I’ve tried a million different recipes and merged the best parts of all of them to create the perfect chocolate chocolate cupcakes. Topped off with a silky chocolate buttercream, these truly are the best ever chocolate cupcakes!

close up of a chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting

What makes a chocolate cupcake worth all the trouble? It’s not just that it tastes better than any other cake on earth. The rich, deeply chocolaty flavor and moist crumb cannot be replicated with mere cocoa powder or melted chocolate chips.

The texture is what really separates an ordinary baked good from something worthy of being called “the best ever”.

The best ever chocolate cupcakes are like warm hugs on a cold day. They’re the perfect dessert for any occasion, from birthday parties to weddings and everything in between.

The cupcake is an icon of American culture- it’s no wonder that these little cakes have become so popular over the years! So go ahead- indulge your sweet tooth with some decadent chocolately goodness today :)

What You’ll Need

moist chocolate cupcakes ingredients
  • Buttermilk: This helps helps tenderize the gluten in the flour, giving the cupcakes a softer texture and more body. It also adds a subtle tang but without the added fat. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can replace it with plain yogurt or sour cream.
  • Granulated sugar and light brown sugar: Work together to add sweetness, but the brown sugar also helps to keep the cupcake moist.
  • Baking soda and baking powder: Baking soda is always used in conjunction with an acid (buttermilk in this case) but sometimes alone the rise may not be enough. The added baking powder in this recipe helps to produce a light and well risen cupcake. It’s essential you use both!

Then of course you’ll need flour, butter, semi-sweet baking chocolate (chips or bars), unsweetened cocoa powder, eggs and vanilla.

Why This Recipe Works

  • It’s a chocolate cupcake. Enough said.
  • They are tender and moist. Exactly how a good cupcake should be.
  • The chocolate buttercream is what really sets these cupcakes apart. It has the perfect ratio of sweetness and creaminess to make these utterly delicious.

How to Make The Best Ever Chocolate Cupcakes

first step in making the chocolate cupcakes
  1. Gather all your ingredients.

2. Prepare a muffin pan with paper or silicone cupcake liners.

3. Place butter and semi-sweet chocolate into a bowl and place it over a double-boiler and allow it to melt. You can do this in the microwave (not in a metal bowl, though!) but it can be difficult to control. I prefer to do it over a stove, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

collage of steps 4 to 6 of making the chocolate cupcake batter

4. Once melted, allow the butter and chocolate mixture to cool.

5. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until combined. I usually just quickly whisk them together.

6. Set aside.

collage of steps 7 to 9 of mixing the wet ingredients for the cupcake batter

7. In another bowl, add the eggs, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.

8. With a stand mixer or hand-held electric whisk, together until smooth. 

9. Add the cooled butter and chocolate mixture and beat again until smooth.

collage of steps 10 to 12 of folding the flour mixture and buttermilk into the batter

10 and 11. Add half of the flour mixture and slowly combine, then half of the buttermilk. Slowly mix together. If you’re doing this on a stand mixer, have it set to the lowest speed.

12. Add the remaining flour, followed my the other half of the buttermilk.

collage of steps 13 to 15 of baking the cupcakes

13. Mix until just combined. It’s important not to overmix or it can mix your cupcakes tough and chewy.

14. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling 2/3 of the way.

15. Once baked, allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the tray and allow to cool fully before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

A cupcake is not a cupcake until it has been frosted, and it’s the little things in life that make a difference. In this case, this chocolate buttercream frosting. It turns an already delicious cupcake into what I consider to be “the best” chocolate cupcake ever.

This recipe for chocolate buttercream frosting is a classic, and it’s worth the extra couple of minutes it takes to make. It will be your new go-to favorite that you can use on all of your favorite baked goods.

beating the butter for the chocolate buttercream

16. Sift together the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder. This is essential to make sure there’s no lumps. Otherwise, your frosting will be gritty and lumpy instead of smooth and silky.

17. Room temperature butter works best. If you’ve forgotten to take it out of the fridge, pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds.

18. Whisk the butter for about 2 minutes until it becomes light and fluffy.

adding the sugar and cocoa mixture for the chocolate buttercream

19 – 21: Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternating with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition.

chocolate cupcake on a plate

Then frost the cupcakes and top with a chunk of chocolate for the perfect finishing touch!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I replace the buttermilk with regular milk?


Yes, but it will alter the texture and taste of the cupcake. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, sour cream or plain yogurt is a much better substitution.

I only have salted butter, will that work?

Yes! Just omit the additional salt in the recipe.

several chocolate cupcakes in a row

You won’t regret giving these decadent treats a try – they’re sure to take your sweet tooth over the edge in one bite.

If you liked this cupcake, then the same buttercream recipe works SO well on these Chocolate Banana Cupcakes too. They are my other absolute favorite cupcake recipe!

Other chocolate recipes you’ll love…

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chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting

Indulgent Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

Jenna Shaughnessy
An indulgent chocolate cupcake with a rich chocolate buttercream frosting
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 18 mins
Total Time 48 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 249 kcal

Ingredients
  

Cupcakes

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ¾ cups confectioner's sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup semi-sweet chocolate chips/chunks for decoration

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler on the stove. This may be accomplished by putting a Pyrex bowl over a pot of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Stir until smooth. Set aside to slightly cool.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, toss the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until combined.
  • In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the cooled butter/chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk, alternating until everything has been incorporated. Stir until just combined; do not over mix.
  • Divide the batter into the cupcake liners. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting

  • Sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps.
  • With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy (approx. 2 mins.) Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternating with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition.
  • Frost cooled cupcakes and top with chocolate chunks as desired. Then enjoy!

Notes

Make sure the butter mixture is appropriately cooled before moving to the next step. If the mixture is too hot, it will scramble the eggs.
Do NOT over mix the batter in the final stage of mixing. Over mixing will develop gluten and stop the cupcake from being light and fluffy. 
Storage: Frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature for up to 2 days, as long as they are stored in an airtight container, or covered.  Alternatively, you make the frosting ahead of time, storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Then, just  allow it to come to room temperature before frosting the cupcakes.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 249kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 5gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 149mgPotassium: 229mgFiber: 4gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 348IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 2mg
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