Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream – From scratch! These are the best chocolate cupcakes with melted chocolate in the batter!
Delicious Chocolate Cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting with chocolate sprinkles on a white serving plate.
Did you see the photo I posted on Instagram of these cupcakes? You can follow me on Instagram here!

Picture of six batches of homemade Chocolate Cupcakes on Instagram.

Chocolate Cupcakes Need REAL Chocolate!

6 batches of chocolate cupcakes, all in the name of research, as Ryan would say!

3 of them were awful, 2 of them were good, and 1 was the clear winner! I wanted to create a classic, go-to chocolate cupcake recipe. But I didn’t want these cupcakes to get their only chocolate flavor from cocoa powder.. chocolate cupcakes need real chocolate in them!

From scratch chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and delicious chocolate sprinkles on a counter.
Making Your Chocolate Cupcakes

But, if you put too much melted chocolate in your cupcake batter, you’ll end up with cupcakes that look like batches #4 and #5. Super delicious because of their great chocolate flavor, but WAY too dense.. almost like a brownie.

Which I love brownies, but I was trying to make cupcakes :) Plus they don’t look that pretty with caved in centers. So I spent a little more time in the kitchen perfecting this Chocolate Cupcakes recipe.

Assortment of easy chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting on a counter.
12 eggs and 1 container of cocoa powder later.. I needed more eggs and cocoa powder! But, I had the perfect chocolate cupcakes recipe!

Three homemade chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream, chocolate sprinkles and chocolate chips on a white serving plate.
Recipe Substitutions

Let’s talk about recipe substitutions for a minute.

I used to be the girl who would substitute one ingredient for another because I thought it would be fine. I’ve learned the hard way – not all substitutions will give you the same effect.

This recipe calls for sour cream, which is something we usually don’t have on hand, and maybe you don’t either. However, I would not recommend substituting the sour cream for milk, which is what I tried in one of my batches. The cupcakes will turn out to be dry. So be sure to buy a small container of sour cream.

Our Chocolate Cupcakes recipe also calls for melted chocolate – 2 tablespoons of it. 2 tbsp melted chocolate is about 2 tbsp chocolate chips plus a tad more. I melt the chocolate chips in the microwave with a little bit of vegetable oil. You won’t need to microwave that long, try 20 seconds, and add time from there.

Three of the best from scratch chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream on a white plate.
We LOVE this recipe and will make them again and again!

For a step-by-step of how to make this Chocolate Cupcakes recipe, watch this short video:

Three homemade chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and chocolate sprinkles on a white plate.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

From scratch chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream! These are the best chocolate cupcakes with melted chocolate in the batter!


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp melted chocolate, cooled (which is about 2 tbsp of chocolate chips)

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2-2.5 cups powdered sugar


Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently mix using a spoon.
  3. In a larger mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla, lightly beat.
  4. Add in the sour cream and melted chocolate, mix by hand using a spatula.
  5. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, do not dump it in, rather take spoonfuls of the flour mixture and gently shake it over the wet ingredients, as if you were sifting in the flour. Fold in the mixture until no flour remains. Repeat with the other half of the flour, folding it in and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate everything.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 full with batter.
  7. Bake for 17-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before adding the frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and vegetable shortening, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the cocoa powder, and gently mix by hand with a spatula. Begin to add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, mixing by hand. Continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting no longer looks wet and tastes good to you. Then I use my electric mixer one last time to make sure the powdered sugar is really incorporated and ready to go.

To assemble

  1. Place the chocolate buttercream in a piping bag fit with your desired tip. Be sure to push the buttercream down into the bag, and twist the top a few times to secure the bag. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
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  1. Melted chocolate in the batter? Now you speaking my language!

  2. These cupcakes are gorgeous!! Love that you did some side by side comparisons :) Rough job! haha

  3. I really appreciate all the effort you went through for developing a great chocolate recipe! I so want those little squeeze bottle too! Pinned.

  4. These are absolutely gorgeous! I love all the chocolate going on in these cupcakes! Thanks for taking one for the team and going through all the eggs and cocoa to finally come out with these! Totally worth it!

  5. Thank you so much for testing all those recipes! I don’t have a go-to chocolate cupcake recipe because most of the ones I’ve tried have been too dry. Pinned!

  6. Wow! Six batches of cupcakes is commitment. It definitely paid off, I love melted chocolate in chocolate cake. Lovely decorating too, those chocolate toppers are so fun :)

  7. 6 batches…holy moly I look up to you for trying so hard. I would probably just stop after my 2nd. But I get so discouraged when a recipe goes wrong. I love a moist chocolate cupcake and I think sour cream adds such softness. These look perfect Beth and love the chocolate drizzle design. So fancy!! :)

    • I am definitely a changed person, I use to get upset really easily, but now it’s fun to overcome a challenge like that!

  8. I would gladly spend my day researching anything chocolate, especially if taste-testing was involved! These look absolutely divine!

    • There were a few bad batches.. lots of milk needed for those dry ones!

  9. I love the chocolate designs on top, they’re so pretty. I don’t think you can ever have too much chocolate, these sound perfect and as always, your pictures are beautiful.

  10. They look truly wonderful Beth! Fantastic reward for all your hard work! :)

  11. Beth, I love all your recipes and I know I would love this one! I always say I have my go-to chocolate cake recipe and I will never look for another one, but you have me pretty tempted here… :)

  12. Dear Beth and Ryan, I admire the team work and the amount of dedication you pour into each recipe. These cupcakes embody all the heart and hard work you both put into your craft. It shows. They looks absolutely beautiful and sound perfect. You can never go wrong with chocolate cupcakes, and in my opinion you can never have too much chocolate in one recipe! xo, Catherine

  13. Wow Beth, that is a lot of research! But boy has it paid off! These looks so chocolatey and rich; in short they are perfect!

  14. I love how much effort you put into your recipes! These look and sound amazing. Feel free to throw a couple my way!

  15. These chocolate cupcakes are perfect! Love that little chocolate candy topping…so cute!

  16. I love the moisture of the cupcakes! Soo creamy and chocolaty!!!  

  17. What kind of melted chocolate did you use in the cupcakes? I would love to use your recipe for an anniversary party I’m doing this weekend. Thank you in advance

  18. What type of cocoa powder did you use? 

  19. Hi there..what is vegetable shortening ?
    And also what is the gram for 2 stick of butter?

  20. I saw in one of the comments that you used  chocolate chips for the melted chocolate in the cupcakes. Semisweet or milk chocolate? Thanks !

  21. These are beautiful! I have been looking for a gorgeous chocolate/chocolate cupcake recipe for a wedding shower next weekend- my search has ended!

    What tip did you use when icing the cupcakes?

  22. You can’t go wrong with these…they look so decadent and very classy!  Thanks for the great idea!

  23. One stick of butter mean how many gram pls? Thanks

  24. yep, is one stick of butter 250g?
    I need to know too!

  25. So much chocolate! This looks wonderful!

  26. I’ve been wanting cupcakes! Making these tonight!

  27. I would love to make this over the weekend!!

  28. Oh gosh I need to make these. I love chocolate cupcakes and these look so good! Now I just need a good reason to make them. Surviving a Monday will count right?

  29. Have you ever tried doubling this recipe? If so does it still come out the same?

  30. I don’t think one batch will be enough :o

  31. Wow!! Can’t wait to try this!! Its great idea!! Wow very amazing Article.

  32. Buttercream is very stiff. Did you add any milk or water?

  33. Do u have any sugar free recipes?

  34. I made these tonight and the flavor is AMAZING, however, 17 minutes was a bit too long to bake and they turned out dry. I made a second batch and only baked them for 15 minutes and it was much better! 

  35. Hi, I can’t find your recipe on this site for your homemade chocolate whipped cream with the 3 ingredients.  I want to ask you a question.  I just made the whipped cream from your recipe I found on line, but I was hoping you could help me make it a bit more chocolately.  Can I add regular melted chocolate to the powdered cocoa powder?  And what would the process be?  I don’t understand when to add melted chocolate to the various ingredients like the powdered cocoa and whipping cream.  I have made horrible messes of frosting in the past not knowing about the temperature and when to add chocolate to whipping cream.  Thank you for any suggestions.  Toni

  36. My chocolate seized up into hardened little pieces when adding it with the sour cream. The chocolate was cooled but it seems it still reacted to how cold the sour cream was…Is that going to ruin these or is that what normally happens? Wondering if I need to start over!

  37. These cupcakes look like chocolate heaven! Can gluten-free flour or a gluten-free flour blend be substituted for the all purpose flour? If so, would any other changes be needed to be made to the recipe?
    Thanks so much for your reply.

    • Hi Sharon!! I have made these cupcakes gluten free and they turned out awesome! I use King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour as a one for one substitute for the regular flour. No other changes needed!

  38. Bless you for not requiring buttermilk!! Can’t wait to give these a try today!

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