The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

By Tessa Arias
February 1st, 2021
4.95 from 388 votes
4.95 from 388 votes

After tons of testing and tweaking, I've finally discovered the BEST Chocolate Cupcake recipe! Truly! Keep reading for lots of recipe tips, insights into the science of baking, and the full printable recipe.

Yield: 12 to 15 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Chocolate overload in the best possible way! Texture: The cupcakes are incredibly moist and tender without being too delicate or crumbly. And the frosting is just oh so light and creamy. Ease: The cupcakes themselves are super simple and easy, but the frosting is more involved. It balances out in the end! Appearance: Gorgeous. Pros: The BEST, duh!! Cons: None. I make this again? Yessss, but maybe not for a while since my kitchen has experienced a cupcake explosion since trying to perfect this recipe, ha!

Oh, were these Chocolate Cupcakes a frustrating recipe to perfect. If you follow me at all, then you know I love to utilize the science of baking to tweak and test recipes until I think they’re the ULTIMATE version of that recipe.

close up of chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles on a chocolate cupcake

I’ve done it with my Ultimate Brownies and Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, so it was about time I embarked on another recipe.

What better to perfect than Chocolate Cupcakes?! It took about 5 straight batches over a couple days, after previous casual tests over the months, to finally nail the recipe.

I hope you love it as much as I do! It’s perfectly moist and tender. Not so moist that is collapses and not so tender that it crumbles. Plus tooooons of chocolate flavor. Like three kinds overall!

best homemade chocolate cupcakes on a plate cut in half

How to Make the BEST Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe underwent extensive testing to perfect. Below is a complete explanation of every major element in case you wanted to learn more about the science and process behind all of it.

I’ve tried to answer any questions you might have below, but feel free to leave a comment with any other questions.

ALSO, I ended up writing an entire post about How to Make Perfect Cupcakes HERE you might enjoy. Otherwise, keep scrolling for the full printable recipe.

Tessa piping chocolate frosting onto homemade chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients

Best chocolate to use for chocolate cupcakes:

We can’t make stellar homemade chocolate cupcakes without first considering the chocolate! The cupcakes themselves use a whole 5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate AND Dutch-process cocoa powder for as much chocolate flavor as possible. Make sure to use freshly chopped baking chocolate and not chocolate chips, which don’t melt down as smoothly.

Do I have to use Dutch Process Cocoa Powder?

I do recommend you stick with the Dutch-process cocoa as it actually works differently on a chemical level compared to regular natural cocoa. You can learn more about the differences between cocoa powders here.

comparison of dutch process vs natural cocoa powder

You can find it at many gourmet food stores, like Whole Foods, Sur la Table, and Williams-Sonoma. One of the best surprising parts about Dutch Process Cocoa is that it almost always contains more cocoa butter (fat!) than your typical grocery store cocoa powder. This means more moisture, richness, and chocolate flavor! Learn more about cocoa powder + fat here.

If you must use regular unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe, then omit the vinegar. Your cupcakes may be a little more dry if using something like Hershey’s or Nestle.

The frosting uses melted chocolate for the most intense and pure chocolate flavor possible. I like to use semisweet, but feel free to use milk or bittersweet chocolate instead. It’s totally up to you!

melted chocolate for homemade chocolate cupcakes

melted chocolate for the best homemade chocolate cupcake recipe

How to make MOIST Chocolate Cupcakes:

  1. This recipe calls for vegetable oil instead of melted butter. I went back and forth on this for a bit and wound up choosing the oil because it creates an ultra moist texture and open, slightly spongy crumb which is perfect for chocolate cupcakes. For more details on how these two fats affect tenderness, flavor, and texture, check out my Butter vs. Oil in Baking article.
  2. Since oil is liquid at room temperature, it gives a better sensation of moistness than butter does.
  3. Be sure to also use full fat ingredients and don’t reduce the sugar in this recipe. Sugar actually helps contribute to moistness if you can believe it!
  4. Lastly, be sure not to accidentally over measure your flour and cocoa powder. Spoon both ingredients into their measuring cups then level off the excess with a knife. Or better yet, use a digital kitchen scale. Check out my How to Measure Flour article for a step-by-step on how to accurately measure your dry ingredients.

moist chocolate cupcake before being frosted

Hot Water and Espresso Powder in Chocolate Cupcakes

If you bake chocolate cake or cupcakes a lot, you’ve probably seen quite a few recipes that utilize hot water or even hot coffee. It helps to dissolve and ‘bloom’ the cocoa powder to bring out as much flavor with as few cocoa lumps as possible. In my Best Chocolate Cupcake recipe, I use a combination of hot water and instant espresso powder. The espresso simply enhances the chocolate flavor without actually being perceptible.

Do I have to use espresso powder?

Alternatively, you could use hot coffee for the same effect. Or you can omit it altogether if you’d prefer.


Most of my initial recipe tests used only granulated sugar for the cupcakes. Then, I thought I’d try to add in a bit of brown sugar. The resulting chocolate cupcakes were flavorful, moist, and slightly chewy. Perfect!


The more whole eggs a cake recipe has, the richer it’ll be. I repeated one of my favorite baking tricks and added in an egg yolk. It works beautifully for brownies and cookies, so why not chocolate cupcakes? It adds more richness, chewiness, and structure so the cupcake can stand up to a generous or heavy frosting.

Is there an egg substitute for chocolate cupcakes?

I have yet to find an amazing egg substitute for this recipe. My friend Gemma from Bigger Bolder Baking has an excellent resource on egg substitutes.


Oh man, this is where I encountered the most frustration. I went back and forth on this. When I used both baking soda and baking powder, the cupcakes rose to a beautiful height while baking but then fell and collapsed slightly as they cooled. Bummer. That was too much leavener.

I went back to only baking soda, which is more effective per teaspoon than baking powder, but had to add vinegar to the recipe. Why? Well because there wasn’t much acid for the baking soda to react with originally. Dutch-process cocoa powder has been neutralized of its acid, so it was only the sour cream and small amount of brown sugar. For tall and light cupcakes, we need enough leavening so baking soda + vinegar did the trick. This is why you omit the vinegar if you’re using natural cocoa powder.


I tried testing with bread flour after seeing a few ‘ultimate’ recipes elsewhere that used it, but found that all-purpose worked just as well. Since all-purpose flour is more readily available, I stuck with that to make things easiest for you.

Sour Cream

I find that sour cream adds such a lovely richness and balance of flavor to cupcakes, so I just had to include it here. I think it definitely works best, but full fat plain yogurt also makes a fine alternative in chocolate cupcakes.

The Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

When I originally published this recipe, it used the more difficult Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream as the frosting. Although delicious, it’s more advanced and requires more time and special equipment.

In the interest of making this recipe easier but equally as delicious, I swapped in an American-style chocolate buttercream that’s made extra special with two additions. The frosting contains cooled chocolate ganache for extra chocolate flavor and fudgy richness.

For an extra smooth and rich frosting, opt for organic powdered sugar and high fat cocoa powder. The full explanation for both is found here.

My favorite cupcake tools:

  • Cupcake liners: these ones are my favorite for cupcakes that don’t stick to the liner.
  • Piping tip: I used the Ateco #828 piping tip for swirling on the chocolate frosting on these cupcakes. Any large open star tip will work!
  • Piping bags: I love these ones.

How to store Chocolate Cupcakes:

Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Can you freeze cupcakes?

If storing for longer than a week, wrap unfrosted cupcakes individually in plastic wrap (this prevents freezer burn and taste transference). Place cupcakes inside a freezer bag on a shelf in your freezer where they won’t get smashed. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Unwrap the cupcakes and allow to defrost at room temperature for about 1 to 2 hours. More details on how to freeze and make desserts ahead of time in my *free* Make Ahead Baking Guide.

Can I make a layer cake with this recipe?

I have my Best Chocolate Cake recipe here that I highly recommend you check out! It’s very similar to this recipe. You can also check out my guide for How to Convert Cupcakes Into Cake (and vice versa!).

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting on a white background

More Chocolate Cupcake Recipes:

More Frosting Recipes

4.95 from 388 votes

How to make
Best Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 12 to 15 cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
After tons of testing and tweaking, I've finally discovered the BEST Chocolate Cupcake recipe! Truly! Keep reading for lots of recipe tips, insights into the science of baking, and the full printable recipe.


For the cupcakes:

  • 5 ounces (142 grams) bittersweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (28 grams) Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream, at room temperature (or plain full fat yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) finely chopped semisweet chocolate (don't use chocolate chips)
  • 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, at a cool room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar, sifted (preferably organic*)
  • 1 cup (85 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


Make the cupcakes:

  1. In a medium heatproof bowl add the chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Pour hot water over mixture. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth then set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Whisk sour cream, oil, eggs, egg yolk, vinegar, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth, being careful not to overmix.
  5. Using a spring-loaded scoop, divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups until 3/4 full. Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch, about 17 to 18 minutes.

  6. Let cupcakes cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely, about 1 hour. Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Make the frosting:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for a few minutes before stirring until smooth. Set aside and cool to approximately 75°F or until thickened but still pourable.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and salt. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes, or until very well blended, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  3. Reduce speed to medium-low and add the cooled chocolate cream mixture. Continue beating until the frosting has lightened in color and texture, about 2 minutes more, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  4. Frosting can be made 1 day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Warm frosting in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds and stir until creamy again before frosting cupcakes.
  5. Frosting can also be transferred to a ziptop bag and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge overnight then rewhip in the stand mixer until light and smooth.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Cupcake yield will depend on the size of your muffin tin cavities. If they’re smaller, you may need two pans to make 15 total cupcakes. You can use 1/2 cup hot strongly brewed coffee in place of the espresso powder + hot water. If using natural cocoa powder, omit the vinegar. For the frosting, opt for organic powdered sugar made with tapioca starch, such as Wholesome, instead of cornstarch for a smoother silkier texture.
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : chocolate cupcakes

This recipe was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2021 to make the cupcakes more moist and tender with an easier frosting. New photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

February Baking Challenge

This recipe was the selection for the February 2021 monthly baking challenge! Every month you can join a challenge by baking the recipe and snapping a photo for a chance to win PRIZES. Click here for full details. Check out everyone’s cupcakes:

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Gayti — October 15, 2022 at 8:14 am

    made this couple of times n my hubby loved it!!

  2. #
    Rachelle — October 12, 2022 at 7:59 am

    hi. made this a few times and turned out somewhat gummy, what am i doing wrong?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — October 13, 2022 at 10:45 am

      Hi Rachelle! A strange gummy texture is usually due to overmixing, or incorrect amounts of ingredients. When you mix your batter, be sure not to overmix, and stop when the ingredients just come together. Also, how do you measure your ingredients? By volume (using cups), or by weight (using a digital kitchen scale)? When measuring by volume, it’s so easy to mis-measure flour/sugar/etc and throw off the entire chemistry of a recipe. Tessa talks about how to best measure ingredients to ensure accuracy every time, in this article here! I hope something here helps, and I hope you give these cupcakes another try!! Happy baking 🙂

  3. #
    Cheryl — September 29, 2022 at 8:14 am

    These cupcakes are amazing. Do any changes need to be made if doubling this recipe?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 30, 2022 at 9:15 am

      Hi Cheryl! No, not adjustments need to be made if doubling this recipe; however, we do have an alternate suggestion. It’s so easy to miss something out, or mis-measure ingredients when doubling. Also, double batch might not necessarily fit well in a typical bowl of a stand mixer, and therefore not necessarily mixing properly. As a result, we recommend simply making the recipe start to finish twice, rather than doubling. Of course, if you have a big enough bowl and feel confident you won’t mis-measure, go for it 🙂 Happy baking!

  4. #
    Sara — September 24, 2022 at 11:50 am

    May I say that with cupcake recipe I made the best cupcakes I have ever made! I’m actually not that fond of butter cream but wow this buttercream was so smooth and just so delicious. I want to try your chocolate layer cake recipe but do you think I can use this buttercream recipe instead of the swiss meringue for that cake or will it be too sweet? I don’t have the right equipment for the Swiss meringue and I just loves this one.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 26, 2022 at 9:27 am

      Hi Sara! So glad you enjoyed these cupcakes and the frosting!! I think using this frosting on Tessa’s cake recipe would work just fine! Happy baking 🙂

  5. #
    Renee — August 30, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    I have never left a comment on a recipe before mainly because of time constraints, however I had to for this recipe. I have struggled for so long to find a chocolate cake/cupcake recipe that I was happy with AND a chocolate buttercream icing recipe that was worth repeating. You clearly put time into its development. The cake is a perfect consistency – light holds its shape and is delicious on its own period. I tried the icing today and it is light, but the chocolate flavour hasn’t been compromised. It isn’t too sweet or buttery. AND it pipes well. Thank you. I’ll be holding onto these recipes for a long time!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — August 31, 2022 at 10:17 am

      Hi Renee! Wow, what a review! We are SO excited that you loved these cupcakes and the frosting so much!! Thanks so much for the comment 🙂

  6. #
    Lyndsay — August 26, 2022 at 5:26 am

    Hi! I love this recipe!!! Any chance I can make this gluten free? If so, how?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — August 26, 2022 at 1:02 pm

      Hi Lyndsay! I’m sorry, but we don’t bake gluten-free recipes, so I really couldn’t say! I know some readers have had success with other recipes using cup-for-cup gluten free flour in place of all-purpose flour, but again, having not tested this out ourselves, I can’t say for sure!

  7. #
    Aleisha — August 17, 2022 at 6:36 am

    Absolutely delicious! I had made another chocolate cupcake recipe that I wasn’t quite fond of, it wasn’t dense enough for me. This was just a bit more dense and chocolatey and was perfect for what I was looking for! I added an oreo into the bottom of the cupcake before baking and used an oreo buttercream on top. They were fantastic 🙂

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — August 18, 2022 at 11:54 am

      That sounds delicious, Aleisha!! So glad you loved this recipe! 🙂

  8. #
    Maria — August 6, 2022 at 5:09 am

    Just got to say – the heading is correct. These really are the best….better than a cakemaker, the texture, the taste, and the appearance are perfection. Devoured by adults and kids alike at a recent party, these are definitely a keeper in the recipe file. Thank you!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — August 8, 2022 at 1:16 pm

      Yay! So excited to hear that these cupcakes were such a hit, Maria!! 🙂

  9. #
    Noah — July 12, 2022 at 6:23 am

    And, what is the reason for these only having a shelf life of 1 day?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 15, 2022 at 11:11 am

      Hi Noah! Unfrosted, these have a shorter shelf life just because the tops are more exposed to the air, and therefore dry out faster. Once frosted, they will last longer, since the frosting provides a barrier for the top of the cupcake. I hope that helps! 🙂

  10. #
    Noah — July 12, 2022 at 1:00 am

    If I wanted Cupcakes that had a domed round top, could I add a little Baking powder to this recipe, like 1/2 to 1 Tsp?

  11. #
    Jim — July 2, 2022 at 10:46 pm

    Made these cupcakes today they are the most amazing tasting cupcakes I’ve ever made, and the frosting is to die for.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 6, 2022 at 1:34 pm

      Wow, what a compliment!! So happy to hear that you enjoyed these cupcakes and the frosting so much, Jim!! 🙂

  12. #
    Kristi — June 17, 2022 at 10:13 am

    Hi HTH team! I’ve made these many times following the directions to a tee, yet the cupcakes always turn out flat and spread a lot. Help?!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 17, 2022 at 2:33 pm

      Hi Kristi! Oh no! I’m sorry to hear the cupcakes aren’t turning out as they should! It’s so hard to pinpoint exactly what is going wrong without baking alongside you, but here’s a couple things to check first. How do you measure your flour? By weight using a digital scale, or by volume using cups? Weighing vs. measuring by volume can have a huge impact on your baked goods. It’s so easy to accidentally add too much flour if measuring by volume, and too much flour can have a huge impact on any baked goods. Tessa talks about how best to measure ingredients in this article here. Another issue could be your leavening agents may not be fresh. If your baking powder or soda are not fresh, this can impact the cupcake’s ability to rise properly. Tessa talks about how to test for leavener freshness in this article here! Lastly, I just want to double check that you’re definitely using Dutch-process cocoa, and full-fat sour cream? The wrong cocoa, or low-fat sour cream, could easily be the culprit here! Please let me know if any of these things could be the answer – or feel free to reach back out here, or by emailing [email protected] so we can help troubleshoot more! 🙂

  13. #
    kinga — June 6, 2022 at 9:45 am

    What bittersweet chocolate did you use? I can’t seem to see that anywhere. Making for a grad party.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 6, 2022 at 2:06 pm

      Hi there! Tessa uses Ghirardelli Bittersweet chocolate! Most supermarkets should carry it, and Target typically sells it, too 🙂

      • #
        kinga — June 10, 2022 at 6:43 pm

        Thank you. I don’t live in the US so I used 55%Lindt and they turned out and were very good. Thank you for the reply.

        • #
          Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 13, 2022 at 8:33 am

          Wonderful!! So happy to hear that!!

  14. #
    Mandy — May 27, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    This recipe is so amazing! Unfortunately, I’ve recently developed a wheat allergy, but I love this recipe so much, so I tried making the recipe again using Bobs Red Mill 1:1 GF Baking flour and they turned out so great and were super delicious. Thank you!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — May 27, 2022 at 12:39 pm

      I’m glad that substitute worked for you, Mandy! 🙂

  15. #
    Bobbie N — May 24, 2022 at 10:51 pm

    My goodness this recipe is perfection! The batter tasted great straight out of the oven, was incredible after it was topped with icing, and it was still amazing 3 days later! Both kids and adults loved them!!! Thank you for this amazing recipe it made me look like a pro baker!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — May 25, 2022 at 7:17 am

      Hi Bobbie! SO thrilled that you loved this recipe so much! We love that it made you feel like a pro baker!! Happy baking 🙂

  16. #
    Ailyn — April 5, 2022 at 9:28 am

    Emily hi
    If I don’t have Dutch process cocoa how can I substitute?

    • #
      Emily — April 6, 2022 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Ailyn! Tessa actually explains what to do if you don’t have Dutch process cocoa in the pink box above the recipe 🙂 Enjoy your cupcakes!

  17. #
    Jennifer — March 30, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    Do you happen to know how much batter is best to put in a standard sized tin? Oftentimes with chocolate cupcakes they rise excessively and I have overflow. I use 1/4 c batter with cupcake recipes but your recommendation is to fill them higher than I typically would.

    • #
      Emily — March 31, 2022 at 7:38 am

      Hi Jennifer! 3/4 full rose up beautifully for us, but when you’re not sure about how much batter is best, we recommend testing it out. Bake two cupcakes prior to baking the entire batch, one filled 2/3 full, the other 3/4 full, for the designated time, and see which you prefer. Then you’re not “messing” up an entire batch and can continue with baking. I hope that helps!

  18. #
    rina — March 30, 2022 at 9:23 am

    How would I make these as mini cupcakes? do I have to change the baking time or temp?

  19. #
    rina — March 29, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    can I make mini cupcakes instead? how would I convert the temp/time for mini cupcakes?

    • #
      Emily — March 30, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Rina! Sure! Follow the instructions in our article about converting recipes HERE. Let us know what you think of this recipe when you give it a try 🙂

  20. #
    Mary — March 29, 2022 at 8:17 am

    Do you think I could use these as the base for Black Forest Cupcakes? I’ve been looking for a good recipe but I’m picky about chocolate cake and want it to be dark, moist, and delicious. I’m just worried these won’t handle the moistness of a black forest filling. (I’ve never made filled cupcakes or Black Forest cake but my friend requested them for his birthday so I’m trying to figure it out!). Thanks.

    • #
      Emily — March 30, 2022 at 3:34 pm

      Hi Mary! While we haven’t tried that specifically, these cupcakes hold up well to a good amount of buttercream, I’m sure adding a filling will be completely fine 🙂 If you’ve not made filled cupcakes before, just a helpful hint to use an apple corer to remove the center of the cupcakes. It makes the process go so smoothly and quickly! Please let me know if you have any other questions, and let me know how your cupcakes turn out!

  21. #
    Petya — March 26, 2022 at 4:22 am

    Best chocolate cupcakes i have ever made! I tried dozens of recipes over the years, most of them have common ingredients, technics and taste, but these are unique to me. Very delicate crumb, fudgy, but not wet and the taste is an irresistible chocolate flavor. Thank you for the recipe!

    • #
      Emily — March 29, 2022 at 12:16 pm

      So happy to hear how much you love this recipe, Petya!

  22. #
    Nadia — March 21, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    Hi! I was wondering if it’s possible to make this recipe as a CAKE please? Thank you! 🙂

    • #
      Emily — March 22, 2022 at 9:22 am

      Hi Nadia! Check out the bottom of the pink tip box that’s listed above this recipe, Tessa links her favorite Best Chocolate Cake recipe as well as a guide on how to convert cupcakes into cake 🙂

  23. #
    Chan Bell — March 11, 2022 at 10:54 pm

    Can you use cake flour? Also if you use brewed coffee do you omit any of the boiling water?

    • #
      Emily — March 15, 2022 at 8:29 am

      We have only tested bread flour and AP flour, so I can’t say for sure! Yes, if you use hot coffee in place of the espresso powder and hot water, you’ll use the exact amount (omiting the hot water). I hope that helps!

  24. #
    diane — March 8, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    should unsweetened chopped chocolate be 4 ounces? recipe ingredient lists as 5ounces. The chocolate cocoa coffee and water mixture was fudgy.

    • #
      Emily — March 9, 2022 at 1:01 pm

      Hi Diane! No, the chocolate amount is correct as written. The mixture will be a bit fudgy and thicken as the ingredients are mixed together and cooled. How did your cupcakes turn out?

      • #
        Diane — March 11, 2022 at 7:21 am

        I added more boiling water at the end to loosen up the batter because it was like cookie dough! They did turn out! Only thing I can think of that may have been the problem was that I did not let the chocolate mixture stand for 5 minutes before mixing it until smooth. It may have seized.
        I thought that it was the amount of chocolate that I used because in your intro you mentioned 4ounces.. and the actual recipe state 5 ounces. Regardless.. they were fine! I will attempt again ! Thankyou!

        • #
          Emily — March 14, 2022 at 4:03 pm

          Gotcha! So sorry about that, I see the error. The recipe is correct at 5 ounces, but I updated the intro text (we must have been daydreaming about the frosting haha!). Thanks for your feedback!

      • #
        Jessica — April 21, 2022 at 6:33 am

        Hi! Just confirming if you can use unsweetened baking chocolate instead of bittersweet (as written above) 🙂 Would like to try these and i have some unsweetened baking chocolate in my pantry.

        • #
          Emily — April 26, 2022 at 9:21 am

          Hi Jessica! I’m sorry, that was an error written on my part in response to the reader’s comment about the measurement of the chopped chocolate used. We’ve only used bittersweet chocolate with these cupcakes; however you’re welcome to try unsweetened! Just know that your cupcakes will be less sweet. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try 🙂

  25. #
    Kayla — March 2, 2022 at 6:15 am

    Hi! I’m looking to make these for my mother’s birthday but we have small children who will be eating them, will they have caffeine because of the espresso powder?

    • #
      Emily — March 2, 2022 at 9:51 am

      Hi Kayla! Feel free to omit the espresso powder altogether if you’d prefer. It’s in the recipe to enhance the chocolate flavor but does contain caffeine 🙂

  26. #
    Kelly J — February 18, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    The cake and frosting is DELECTABLE and I don’t even like chocolate that much.


    I only used 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar for the frosting.
    I used semi-sweet chocolate chips for the cake and frosting and both worked out great!

    • #
      Emily — February 23, 2022 at 10:57 am

      So happy you loved this recipe!

  27. #
    Nancy — February 18, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    I love these cupcakes. I’m making them for my daughters gender reveal tomorrow….she’s having twins! I’ve made one batch, but need to make two more. Can I double the recipe or do one batch at a time?

    • #
      Emily — February 22, 2022 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Nancy! So sorry of the delayed response, we were out of office! I hope your daughter’s gender reveal party was so much fun! You can definitely double the recipe. Let me know how it went!

  28. #
    imsen — January 26, 2022 at 6:21 am

    One of the best chocolate cupcakes i’ve ever tested so far!!!

  29. #
    Ivonne McDonald — January 22, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    I made these cupcakes yesterday and served them today for a family birthday dessert. The cupcakes were a hit! A few family members commented these were the best chocolate cupcakes they’d ever had.
    I used raspberry filling and did not frost them. Instead, I placed a non-pareil on top. (We’re all trying to cut back on sugar.)The cupcakes looked pretty!

    Thank you for such a wonderful recipe, Tessa!

    • #
      Emily — January 24, 2022 at 3:05 pm

      A raspberry filling sounds delicious! So happy everyone enjoyed them, thanks for letting us know!

  30. #
    Sheena — January 17, 2022 at 11:37 am

    Look no farther, this is the ULTIMATE chocolate cupcake recipe! The texture is perfection–light, with a little bit of fudginess. I top mine off with the vanilla buttercream on this site and its a match made in heaven. For those who are not huge cocoa fans, you may want to do 1/2 bittersweet and 1/2 milk chocolate. My husband doesn’t like the “burnt” or otherwise bitter taste of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate, so that hack helps. Otherwise, I’m so happy I found this. Thanks so much, Tessa!

    • #
      Emily — January 18, 2022 at 11:17 am

      Glad you love this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing your suggestions as well 🙂

  31. #
    Sonny — January 11, 2022 at 4:06 am

    Okay. I made them and I am always sceptical about „best..“ whatever because it’s always always just meh.
    But these are actually the absolute best. Never had a better tasting cupcake with a better consistency.
    I will forever use this recipe.

    I have a question tho: mine have a flat top instead of a domed one. Do you maybe know why, what went wrong?

    • #
      Emily — January 11, 2022 at 10:21 am

      Hi Sonny! So happy to hear how much you love this recipe, yay! These cupcakes have a very small dome, almost flat as you can see in some of the pictures above the recipe, making them perfect for piping 🙂 Do you have an oven thermometer? If not, I’d highly recommend getting one, just to ensure that your oven is at the accurate temperature. Flatter cupcakes can also happen if your leaveners are expired (more details HERE), if the mixture was overmixed (though you said the consistency was great, so I don’t think that’s the case), if the oven door was open too much, OR if too much batter was added to the liner. Is it possible your liners were a little too full? I hope that helps for your next batch, but I’m so glad you loved this recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment 🙂

      • #
        Sonny — January 11, 2022 at 10:36 am

        Yes, the liners were very full (daughter filled them evenly, forgot to say only 3/4). I bet that was the „problem“, but didn’t take away from the taste at all. Thank you for the reply 🙂
        I’ll make them again this weekend for her birthday party

  32. #
    A — January 10, 2022 at 9:22 am

    Hi, do you have any tips for making this at high altitude? 6035 ft to be exact.

    • #
      Emily — January 10, 2022 at 11:52 am

      Hi there! Neither Tessa or I bake at high altitude, so I can’t say for sure! If you find that you normally need to make adjustments for a recipe to turn out, then I would stick to whatever you normally do. You can also check out King Arthur Baking’s article here for more help: Please let us know how it goes!

  33. #
    Vandana — January 7, 2022 at 3:38 am

    Can you color the frosting?

    • #
      Emily — January 7, 2022 at 11:59 am

      We haven’t tried that, but it should work fine with darker colors, like burgundy, (dark) purple, red, or black. Let us know how it goes if you give this recipe a try!

  34. #
    Elisa — December 28, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    Amazing Flavor and perfect texture!!

  35. #
    Jen — December 28, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Hello – can I replace the chocolate in the frosting with bittersweet instead of semi-sweet chocolate? Do I need to alter the amount of sugar? thanks!

    • #
      Emily — December 28, 2021 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Jen! The frosting uses melted chocolate for the most intense and pure chocolate flavor possible. We prefer to use semisweet, but feel free to use milk or bittersweet chocolate instead. It’s totally up to you! You won’t need to increase/reduce the amount of sugar, but again, use the type of chocolate based on your personal preference. Just know that each chocolate will alter the sweetness of the recipe. I hope that helps!

  36. #
    Anjuli — December 18, 2021 at 1:47 am

    These cupcakes were absolutely amazing !! Perfect recipe. Everyone who had one commented multiple times about how good it was!

  37. #
    Chrysa — December 15, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    Holy crap! I rarely comment on recipe websites, but these were INCREDIBLE. I always have baking fails and these turned out perfectly!! Moist, chocolatey, but not sickeningly sweet. So, so good!

    • #
      Emily — December 16, 2021 at 3:31 pm

      Glad to hear that, Chrysa! Thanks so much for the comment 🙂

  38. #
    Skyler — November 15, 2021 at 7:27 am

    Hi Emily, I’ve made your recipe multiple times and loved your icing, it was the best ever and now I see you’ve updated it and changed it. Please would you be so kind and send me the recipe.

    • #
      Emily — November 18, 2021 at 4:16 pm

      Hi Skyler! We actually recently removed a few older recipes from our site, so when looking for a chocolate cupcake, it may have automatically directed you to this recipe instead. Can you please let me know if the recipe you’re looking for had cream cheese frosting or chocolate buttercream? I’d be happy to send you a PDF of the archived recipe. Thanks!

  39. #
    Nancy Gappa — November 8, 2021 at 11:08 am

    Also If you use bread flour, how much of that do you use. I would like to use both to compare.

    • #
      Emily — November 9, 2021 at 12:57 pm

      Hi Nancy! Tessa used the same amount of bread flour when testing this recipe. She just found that all-purpose flour worked just as well and is more readily available for a lot of our readers. Hope that helps!

  40. #
    Nancy Gappa — November 8, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Can you add miniature dark chocolate chips to this recipe?

    • #
      Emily — November 9, 2021 at 11:48 am

      We haven’t tried that!

  41. #
    Terre Topp — October 30, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    I made the cupcake recipe & it turned out great – nice & moist & not crumbly. I just watched your video on natural vs Dutch chocolate & didn’t think I should put bkg soda in the recipe. I find inconsistency in recipes that do or don’t have bkg soda or powder. I plan to make your icing, but today I made a white chocolate butter cream for these cupcakes. Thanks for all your expertise in teaching us bakers.

    • #
      Emily — November 1, 2021 at 4:02 pm

      So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Terre! White chocolate buttercream would be heavenly on these cupcakes, yum! Hopefully I read your comment correctly, but I’d recommend checking out our tips in the pink box above the recipe regarding cocoa powder and what needs to be omitted if using natural rather than dutch process 🙂 Tessa not only explains why she prefers using dutch process cocoa, but also if you scroll down a bit, she explains the necessity of the baking soda under the Leavener header. I hope that helps!

  42. #
    Shilpa — October 30, 2021 at 4:53 am


    I just love your recipes. I follow your Instagram handle just to look at the pictures.
    I’m planning to try on of your recipes for the first time. I have a question. Can I manage with the hand held mixer or do I need a stand mixer for the batter and frosting? Also is the cupcake kid-friendly since it has coffee in it?

    Thank you so much.

    • #
      Emily — November 1, 2021 at 3:24 pm

      Hi Shilpa! So happy to having you following along, and I’m so excited for you to try these cupcakes! Be sure to tag Tessa using the #handletheheat so she can see your finished cupcakes 🙂 You’re welcome to use a hand held mixer with this recipe, no problem! And feel free to omit the espresso powder if you’d prefer. It simply enhances the chocolate flavor, though it does add a teensy bit of caffeine. Enjoy your cupcakes!

  43. #
    teresa — October 28, 2021 at 10:53 am

    I made these cupcakes for a baby shower and they were a hit! I followed the recipe exactly and loved the tips and insights. I m making them again for a birthday celebration! Thanks.

    • #
      Haley Wehner — October 29, 2021 at 1:56 pm

      So glad to hear this! And happy early birthday!

  44. #
    michelle — October 25, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    Hi Tessa, I’ve tried this once and they were the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever made. Thanks for the recipe! Will this work if baked in a standard loaf pan as well?

    • #
      Haley Wehner — October 26, 2021 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Michelle! We haven’t tried this recipe in a loaf pan before. Let us know how that turns out if you give it a try!

  45. #
    Holly — October 20, 2021 at 7:05 am

    These cupcakes are perfection! I made Tessa’s peanut butter frosting to go on top instead of chocolate and they were so good!

    • #
      Emily — October 20, 2021 at 11:55 am

      Delish! Peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven 🙂 So glad you enjoyed this recipe!

  46. #
    Ericka — October 17, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    I had to come back and comment AGAIN because… I made these for the third time and they are just ridiculous. Just perfect. Absolutely gold standard in my (recipe) book. I will be making these for years to come!

    • #
      Emily — October 18, 2021 at 3:14 pm

      Amazing!! So happy to hear you love them so much, thanks for the rave review!

  47. #
    Sharon Storey — October 5, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Can I freeze these to ship?

    • #
      Emily — October 6, 2021 at 9:05 am

      Hi Sharon! Please check out the pink tip box above the recipe for more details on how to freeze the cupcakes 🙂

  48. #
    Charlotte — September 23, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Wow! These actually are the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever made! So moist and so chocolatey they are so delicious

    • #
      Emily — September 23, 2021 at 2:40 pm

      Wonderful to hear! So happy you love this recipe!

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