Doctored Up Chocolate Cupcakes

Bakery style “doctored up” chocolate cupcakes! This is an easy, one bowl chocolate cake mix cupcake recipe without pudding or coffee.

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting on white plate

I love a good cupcake.

And a good cupcake, to me, means there’s chocolate.

Do you ever play that game ‘this or that’ where you pin 2 things against each other and you keep going until something knocks out the long standing favorite?

For example: chocolate frosting or vanilla frosting? Chocolate.

Chocolate frosting or peanut butter frosting? Chocolate.

Chocolate frosting or mint chocolate frosting? Oh, that’s a toughie.

A cupcake with chocolate cake or chocolate frosting will always reign supreme in my book compared to those without.


chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting on white background

So today I bring you a recipe for doctored up chocolate cupcakes! This is a sister recipe to our doctored up chocolate cake mix recipe.

I found the secret sauce that’s needed to take a box of devil’s food cake mix from just a box mix to YUM.

With all the ingredients you add to the cake mix, I would consider these homemade cupcakes and you can too!

How to make doctored up chocolate cake mix cupcakes without pudding

A lot of doctored up chocolate cake mix recipes call for instant pudding mix or coffee. I wanted to create a recipe that didn’t need either because I saw so many people asking “What can I use in place of the pudding/coffee?”

So that was the goal, doctored up chocolate cupcakes without pudding or coffee. To make doctored up chocolate cake you need to start with a high quality box of cake mix.

What brand of cake mix should I use to make doctored up chocolate cupcakes?

I prefer Duncan Hines cake mixes, as do a lot of food bloggers, plus Wilton recommends Duncan Hines and Wilton is a cake powerhouse.

chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting on white background

How to improve a boxed cake mix

  • Adding additional dry ingredients to the cake mix like flour, sugar and cocoa powder will improve the structure and texture of the cake.
  • Adding buttermilk will ensure your cupcakes turn out incredibly moist. Plus the acid in the buttermilk punches up the chocolate flavor.
  • Adding additional eggs enhances the flavor and fluffiness of the cake.
  • Use butter in place of oil. Butter has more flavor than oil and improves the texture of the cake.

What kind of frosting to put on chocolate cupcakes

It’s really up to you how you want to frost your chocolate cupcakes. Here are some ideas..

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting on white background

How many cupcakes do you get from a box of cake mix

For this specific recipe I was able to make 30 regular sized cupcakes. I like to fill my cupcake liners 1/2 to 3/4 full.

What piping tips did I use for the buttercream?

I showcase 3 different piping methods in the photos, but used the same tip, a wilton 1M, to create each look. I would categorize the 3 different look as the classic swirl, the rosette, and the fluffy/beehive/frilly technique.

I had to google that last one! I don’t know what it’s called exactly, people call it various names, but it’s so pretty. I would say it’s a fluffy cloud of delicious buttercream

doctored up chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting on white background

For a step-by-step of how to make this doctored up chocolate cupcake recipe, watch this short video:

Doctored Up Chocolate Cupcakes

Doctored Up Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 30 cupcakes
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours

Bakery style “doctored up” chocolate cupcakes! This is an easy, one bowl chocolate cake mix cupcake recipe without pudding or coffee.



  • 1 & 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix, 15.25 oz
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • dash of milk or heavy cream if frosting becomes too thick


  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, devil’s food cake mix, sugar, flour, and cocoa powder, beat with an electric mixer until combined, 2-3 minutes. The mixture will be thick.
  3. Line a regular sized muffin pan with liners. Fill the liners 1-2 to 3-4 full. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before adding frosting.


  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and cocoa powder, 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. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a dash of milk or heavy cream.
  2. Place a Wilton 1M tip in a piping bag, fill the bag with buttercream and pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
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  1. Hey Beth, chocolate cupcakes are one of my favourite cupcakes. The recipe you have shared is very simple and easy that one should try it at their home. Thanks and I am looking forward to this kind of post, keep sharing!

  2. Hey Beth, I used your chocolate butter cream recipe ,tweaked it a bit on the butter measurement , I used 2 heaped table spoons and it came out perfectly good. Thank you.

  3. I sure wish the video had shown how you pipe the “fluffy beehive”!

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