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Easy Chocolate Cupcake Recipe (VIDEO)

This Chocolate Cupcake recipe is so easy and the results are amazing every time. Top them with our 6-minute Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and you have the ultimate chocolate lovers cupcake! Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is.

Chocolate cupcake recipe topped with chocolate buttercream frosting

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We love homemade cupcake recipes from Vanilla Cupcakes to Pumpkin Cupcakes. They are always the first dessert to disappear at birthday parties. If you are a fan of cupcakes made from scratch, this Chocolate Cupcake Recipe is a must-try!

Chocolate Cupcake Video Tutorial

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Fluffy and moist center of a chocolate cupcake

Why you will Love these Chocolate Cupcakes

First, this recipe is SO EASY! Simply mix the dry ingredients, then mix the wet ingredients, and whisk them together. They bake up with a beautiful domed top.

These chocolate cupcakes are moist and fluffy at the same time with a tender crumb. The coffee is the secret ingredient here and makes these intensely chocolatey and gives the cupcakes a deeper color. You can’t really taste the coffee in these and you probably wouldn’t know it’s there if you didn’t read the recipe, but it really makes the chocolate flavor shine. 

Ingredients for chocolate cupcakes with coffee, cocoa, flour, vanilla, oil, egg and vinegar

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Quick prep – Preheat the oven and line a 12-count cupcake pan.
  2. Mix dry ingredients – In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt), breaking up any big clumps of cocoa.
  3. Mix wet ingredients – In a second bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (warm coffee, vinegar, oil, egg, vanilla)
  4. Combine batter – Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk just until combined. The batter will be a little loose with small lumps.
  5. Fill and bake – Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full and bake at 350˚F for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer the cupcakes to a rack to cool before frosting.
Step by step mixing ingredients to make chocolate cupcakes

Pro Tip: Do not overfill cupcake tin. If you add more than 2/3, it will flow over, get stuck to the tin, and won’t form that perfect dome top. It’s better to have a little batter left over than to overflow the pan. 

Tall chocolate cupcake with domed top covered with chocolate frosting.

Common Questions

What is the best cocoa to use?

For best results, use unsweetened natural cocoa powder.

What oven settings do you recommend?

Our recipes are written for using a conventional oven. We bake at 350˚F on the center rack of the oven for exactly 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Can I make this into a Cake?

This cupcake batter converts well to a cake and you will want to double the recipe for a 9-inch, 2-layer cake. See our Chocolate Cake Recipe for guidance on baking the cake.

Can I Substitute the Coffee?

You can substitute 1 cup coffee with 1 cup room temperature buttermilk. In my tests, the coffee gave the best color and more chocolate flavor (see photo below). If you are concerned about caffeine, decaf coffee will also work.

chocolate cupcake with coffee and chocolate cupcake with buttermilk

The Best Frosting for Chocolate Cupcakes

There are so many ways to frost a cupcake. We love them with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. You could also make Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting, or any of these cupcake icings:

Frosted cupcake with chocolate buttercream

Make-Ahead

  • Storing at Room Temperature: Make the cupcakes a day in advance, cool completely to room temperature then cover and store at room temperature until ready to frost and serve.
  • Freezing: Freeze un-frosted cupcakes for up to 2 months in a freezer safe zip bag or storage container.
  • To Thaw: Defrost cupcakes in the refrigerator overnight. For the softest texture, allow the cupcakes to come to room temperature before serving.
Domed cupcakes baked and ready for freezing.

I hope this Chocolate Cupcake recipe becomes a go-to favorite for you! I cranked out 8 batches of cupcakes when I was developing the recipe and I am confident these are the ultimate chocolate cupcakes.

Easy Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

5 from 9 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate buttercream

This Chocolate Cupcake recipe is easy with great results every time. A surprising ingredient makes these moist, fluffy and super chocolatey cupcakes. Try these with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $6-$8
Keyword: chocolate cupcakes
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Calories: 187 kcal
Servings: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F with the rack in the center of the oven. Fill a 12-count muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together dry ingredients, breaking up most of the cocoa clumps.
  3. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk just until the ingredients come together and no dry streaks remain. Batter will be a little loose and lumpy.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop to portion batter, filling each cup 2/3 full (do not over-fill). Bake 18-22 min (20 minutes was perfect), until a toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the pan then transfer to a rack to cool completely to room temperature before frosting.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 187 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 14mg5%
Sodium 195mg8%
Potassium 69mg2%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 20IU0%
Calcium 8mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Amanda
    May 16, 2021

    Hi Natasha I am only making 6 cupcakes, but could I still use 1 egg for the recipe?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 17, 2021

      Hi Amanda, I would use half an egg; otherwise, you will need to adjust the rest of your ingredients. To get half an egg, I usually break it in a small ramekin/ bowl, stir it and put half into the recipe.

      Reply

  • Ayni
    May 12, 2021

    Hello Natasha! I really want to make this recipe but I wanna know if I can substitute olive oil for canola oil and is there any substitute for using coffee? Thanks!🙏

    Reply

    • Ayni
      May 12, 2021

      That’s not buttermilk because I don’t have that.

      Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 12, 2021

      HI Ayni, canola oil will work too. Don’t worry, you can’t taste the coffee in the final product, but it really amplifies the flavor of chocolate. Feel free to substitute with decaf coffee if you prefer.

      Reply

  • Nicaela
    May 11, 2021

    I made this a week ago and it was superb! From the list of the ingredients down the after baking result! and that 6-minute frosting!!! Hmmm nyumnyum! Thanks a lot Natasha for sharing your recipes for free!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 12, 2021

      You’re very welcome! I’m already happy that you enjoyed it, thanks for sharing!

      Reply

  • K
    May 8, 2021

    These look delicious! I was wondering if I could use brown sugar instead of white granulated sugar. Also for the coffee, is it okay if I use espresso coffee?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 9, 2021

      Hi K, I haven’t tried those substitutions yet to advise. If you do an experiment, please share with us how it goes.

      Reply

  • Hable
    May 7, 2021

    This recipe looks soooo good! I was wondering if I could halve this recipe to make 6 cupcakes. Will it work that way? Or should I store the remaining batter for a different time? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 7, 2021

      Hi Hable, halving the recipe will work. Simply halve all the ingredients. I recommend clicking “Jump to recipe” at the top of the post, it will take you to our printable recipe where you’ll have the option to change the number of servings. Hover over the number of servings highlighted in red and slide it to how many servings you would like to make. I hope that helps!

      Reply

  • Jennifer
    May 7, 2021

    Hi! How many tablespoons of coffee did you put? And what is the number of your ice cream scooper?

    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 7, 2021

      Hi Jennifer, I used my coffee maker. I would suggest making it according to the package instructions to make a normal strong cup of coffee. Here is the ice cream scoop we used for portioning.

      Reply

  • Asha Jose
    May 6, 2021

    Baked these a few days ago. Love love love love it!!!
    So moist n fluffy n the cake itself isn’t very sweet. The frosting takes care of that.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 6, 2021

      Hello Asha, thanks for your great review and feedback. I’m glad you loved the recipe!

      Reply

  • Rashmi Gaikwad
    May 6, 2021

    Is there any substitute for eggs??

    Reply

  • Tanuja
    May 6, 2021

    Can I use icing sugar for cream frosting?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 6, 2021

      Hi Tanuja! I haven’t tested that to advise.

      Reply

  • Holly Haywood
    May 5, 2021

    thanks for this amazing recipe. I baked this yesterday and the taste was extremely amazing. The cake is not overly sweet like other recipes I have tried.
    This is the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve baked. Very moist and fluffy vanilla chocolatey.
    I halved the recipe and got about 15 cupcakes.
    This should be the only chocolate recipe one should ever have.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 5, 2021

      Hi Holly, That’s so great! It sounds like you have a new favorite!

      Reply

  • Lora
    May 3, 2021

    I couldn’t stop eating these…meant to give some away, lol.
    Natasha, I love your recipes because you address the questions I would probably have ahead of time, like freezing, substitutions, etc. Please keep the great recipes coming!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 4, 2021

      Thanks for your great feedback, Lora. I will always do my best!

      Reply

  • Rita
    May 3, 2021

    I messed up the recipe. The cupcakes were lumpy, dry and
    Tasted like coffee. I also
    Made this with my 5 year old so I am sure it was something we did. We will try again.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 3, 2021

      Hi Rita, the process is pretty fail-proof, but make sure to measure ingredients correctly. This article on measuring should help. Also, make sure to try the recipe exactly as written before making substitutions or modifications.

      Reply

  • Sharon
    May 3, 2021

    Hi I can’t seem to find the two ingredients to make the vanilla please help thanks

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 3, 2021

      Hi Sharon, we have them linked in this recipe HERE.

      Reply

  • Mehak Seth
    May 3, 2021

    Hello dear ,
    Love you recipes and more than that I like you alot …you are very energetic and beautiful..
    May I suggest something try your hand on indian punjabi cuisine as well ,I am sure you are gonna rock that too.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 3, 2021

      Thank you so much for that wonderful compliment and suggestion!

      Reply

  • Becky Sloan
    May 3, 2021

    Before making the Chocolate Cupcakes I’m wondering if being in a higher elevation changes the oven temp and/or time cooking. We’re at 3400′ elevation. Love all of your recipes! Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 3, 2021

      Hi Becky, I haven’t tried making this at a high altitude yet, but you can use this High Altitude Baking guide if you need it. I’m baking at 2700 altitude.

      Reply

  • Anya
    May 2, 2021

    Can I substitute the distilled white vinegar for pure white vinegar?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 3, 2021

      Hi Anya, I imagine that would work but we always use distilled vinegar. Another one of our readers substituted it with line juice. Here’s what they said “”I just made these today and woww🤤🤤🤤🤤they were the best chocolate cup cakes ever definitely gonna try again and also i used lime juice instead of white distilled vinegar and still it was soo good. Thank you soo much natasha for thus recipe ❤””

      Reply

  • Cynthia Leek
    May 2, 2021

    What would be the best adjustment for high altitude?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 3, 2021

      Hi Cynthia, I haven’t tried making this at a high altitude yet, but you can use this High Altitude Baking guide if you need it.

      Reply

  • Sendini Perera
    May 2, 2021

    I just made these today and woww🤤🤤🤤🤤they were the best chocolate cup cakes ever definitely gonna try again and also i used lime juice instead of white distilled vinegar and still it was soo good. Thank you soo much natasha for thus recipe ❤

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 3, 2021

      That’s just aweosme! I’m happy you enjoyed this recipe, Sendini! Thank you for sharing this great review!

      Reply

  • Jenn
    May 2, 2021

    Hi Natasha! I can’t wait to try these. I was thinking about adding some carrot or zucchini just to sneak some vegetables into my kids. Do you have any recommendations for how to add this to your recipe and how much.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 3, 2021

      Hi Jenn, I have not tried making this a chocolate zucchini or chocolate carrot cake, but I love that idea!

      Reply

  • Shifa
    May 1, 2021

    Hi
    Having trouble with incorporating sugar?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 3, 2021

      Hi Shifa, I recommend watching the video but also making sure you’re using the same sugar we are.

      Reply

  • Marta Venturini
    May 1, 2021

    Hi Natasha! I really really dislike coffee so I’m worried that these will taste like coffee. Can I sub the coffee with something else? Thanks in advance. I *love* your recipes!

    Reply

    • Marta Venturini
      May 1, 2021

      Sorry, just saw a note of yours that said that we can sub the coffee with buttermilk, but there isn’t buttermilk for sale at the supermarkets here in Portugal, so I would have to make some at home (with milk and vinegar). Would that work?

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        May 1, 2021

        Hi Marta, I havne’t tried that with vinegar, but it milk and lemon make buttermilk!

        Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 3, 2021

      Hi Marta, the coffee is the secret ingredient here and makes these intensely chocolatey and gives the cupcakes a deeper color. You can’t really taste the coffee in these and you probably wouldn’t know it’s there if you didn’t read the recipe, but it really makes the chocolate flavor shine. But also, please see the section in the recipe titled: “Can I Substitute the Coffee?”

      Reply

  • Donna
    May 1, 2021

    Would the batter be enough for two 7-inch cake pans?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 1, 2021

      Hi Donna, I haven’t tested that. I would double for 2 9-inch cake pans. They might be a little short, but I think you could make that work.

      Reply

  • Cathy
    May 1, 2021

    Hi Natasha! I use your vanilla birthday cake recipe often but I did request a good chocolate cake recipe and you posted one. Ever since I seen your chocolate cake recipe, it’s the only one I use. Last week I made your chocolate cake recipe with a peanut butter filling I found online and your chocolate buttercream frosting. It was absolutely delicious! Your recipes never disappoint. Thank you for always sharing. I want to share a photo but I don’t see the option.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 1, 2021

      That sounds amazing! I want to know more about the peanut butter filling. Peanut butter and chocolate are a delicious combination.

      Reply

  • Neth
    May 1, 2021

    Can I use dutch processed cocoa?. I just looove your recipes and your jolly personality. Thank you ♥️ from the Philippines

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 1, 2021

      Hi Neth, please see the “Common Questions” section where we mention the type of cocoa we recommend. We do not recommend Dutch process cocoa here because it is usually used with baking powder natural cocoa is used in combination with baking soda.

      Reply

  • Julie
    May 1, 2021

    Hi there I love all your cakes
    Do you have to put vinegar in the chocolate cup cakes. X

    Reply

  • MONIKA
    April 30, 2021

    Hi! Love your blog…but mostly I love your joy. Two questions:
    1) Do you use fine salt or bigger grain salt? I ask because it will change the proportion depending on the grain size; and
    2) Do the nutritional facts include the frosting or just the cake?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 1, 2021

      Hi Monika, I use fine sea salt. The nutritional facts are only for the cupcakes since the frosting is a separate recipe. I usually have the nutrition label reflect the ingredients listed in the recipe card and this one is just the cupcake.

      Reply

  • Annah
    April 30, 2021

    Will it be bitter without milk?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 30, 2021

      Hi Annah, it won’t be bitter. I have tested this with buttermilk and the taste wasn’t sweeter, but it was less chocolaty and lighter in color with buttermilk.

      Reply

  • Betsy
    April 30, 2021

    These cupcakes are so moist! So delicious! Love the coffee flavor! Perfect with a nice cup of cold milk.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 30, 2021

      The perfect treat! I’m s glad you enjoyed these cupcakes, Betsy!

      Reply

  • Amirah
    April 30, 2021

    This recipe looks amazing! I most definitely cannot and will not wait to make it! Also, I have a few suggestion recipes which are: chocolate Reese’s stuffed cupcakes, turtle brownies, caramel stuffed chocolates, and rocky road ice cream. Thanks so much for the recipes! Keep it up! 🙂

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 30, 2021

      Great ideas! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Beth
    April 30, 2021

    I have two chocolate lovers here and these are perfect for dessert tonight! Definitely going to be a big hit here!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 30, 2021

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review!

      Reply

  • Shivana Toolsie Sanchez
    April 30, 2021

    Omg cant wait to try it all your recipes are a family favorite

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 30, 2021

      I hope you love this recipe! We look forward to your feedback!

      Reply

  • Sendini Perera
    April 30, 2021

    Hi Natasha!!!! I love your recipes. Literally they all taste amazing. but I just have this little question. Can we substitute vinegar with something else or does it really have to be white distilled vinegar.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 30, 2021

      Hi Sendini, I haven’t tested anything besides vinegar but vinegar does help to activate the baking soda and the reaction helps to darken the color of the cupcake as well.

      Reply

      • Sendini Perera
        April 30, 2021

        Thank you natashas I will definetely try these out😊

        Reply

      • Sendini Perera
        April 30, 2021

        Btw can I use coconut water vinegar instead white distilled vinegar😅

        Reply

  • Jessica Burgess
    April 30, 2021

    These WERE the best cupcakes! I say “were” because they’re already gone… we ate them all. Haha! So good!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 30, 2021

      Thank you so much for that amazing review. That makes my day. I hope you tried them with the chocolate buttercream. So good!

      Reply

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