These moist chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream are heaven on earth. They are rich, indulgent and absolutely irresistible. One bite and you'll be hooked. The best part? They are incredible easy and quick to make.
These cupcakes are the perfect addition to any party, or a great treat to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea. They are easy to make and can be decorated according to the occasion. So go ahead, treat yourself, and your taste buds will thank you.
Ingredients in Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
- Plain flour / all-purpose flour
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: I use Hershey's (US) or Nestle (AUS/UK) brand. Do NOT use hot cocoa powder or raw 'cacao powder.'
- Baking powder: NOT baking soda. Make sure it is in-date to ensure you get fluffy cupcakes!
- Caster sugar / superfine sugar: this finer form of sugar dissolves more easily into the batter and gives you a fluffier cupcake.
- Salt: brings out the chocolate flavour in the cupcake.
- Buttermilk: or make your own by combing ½ cup milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice.
- Canola oil: or any other flavourless vegetable oil.
- Boiling coffee or water: coffee enhances the chocolate flavour - you won't be able to taste it in the cupcakes.
How to make Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
- Sift and whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Make faux buttermilk by combining the milk and vinegar.
- Whisk in the canola oil and eggs.
- Add the oil mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until well mixed.
- Add boiling coffee and whisk until batter is combined. It will be fairly thin.
- Bake and cool then top with buttercream!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make these cupcakes gluten-free?
Yes, substitute wheat flour for an equal amount of gluten-free flour.
Can I use white sugar instead of caster / superfine sugar?
Yes, although it may make the cupcakes slightly denser and cakier.
Why are my cupcakes not rising?
Check that your baking powder is in-date. Also make sure that your oven is at the correct temperature. If your oven is older or temperamental, you may need to use an oven thermometer to ensure it's accurate.
It may also be that you are opening the oven during cooking too often or too early. This will cause the cupcakes to collapse and not allow them to rise.
Can I use this recipe to make a chocolate cake?
You can store the frosted cupcakes unrefrigerated for up to 3 days (they will stay moist).
If you want to try something different, you can top your cupcakes with any of the following:
- Chocolate ganache: This is a rich and decadent topping that is made with chocolate and cream. It can be used as a frosting or a glaze.
- Cream cheese frosting: This is a tangy and creamy frosting that is made with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Vanilla buttercream frosting: for something simple and delicious, try vanilla buttercream.
- Whipped cream frosting: This is a light and fluffy frosting that is made with heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. It can be flavoured with different extracts or cocoa powder.
- Chocolate chips: You can also top your chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chips, it adds a nice crunchy texture
- Chocolate shavings: You can also top your chocolate cupcakes with chocolate shavings, it adds a nice visual touch
- Fresh fruits: You can also top your chocolate cupcakes with fresh fruits like berries or cherries, it adds a nice sweetness and freshness
For the Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1 cup (150 g) plain flour / all purpose flour
- ½ cup (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon (16 g) baking powder
- 1 cup (240 g) caster sugar / superfine sugar
- ½ teaspoon (3 g) salt
- ½ cup (125 mL) buttermilk (see notes for alternative)
- ½ cup (125 mL) canola oil (or any vegetable oil)
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup (63 mL) boiling coffee OR boiling water
For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (large quantity, see notes)
- 250 g (9 oz / 1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups (280 g) icing sugar / powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ cup (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- ¼ cup (63 mL) milk
For the Chocolate Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F (fan-forced/convection) or 180°C / 355°F (standard). Line a 12-hole standard muffin tin with paper cases.
- Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in caster sugar and salt until well combined.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk and vinegar. Stand for 5-10 minutes or until thick and curdled. Whisk in canola oil and eggs until well combined.
- Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk together until well combined. Whisk in hot coffee/water. The batter will thin out.
- Distribute the batter evenly among the paper cases. Do not fill more than half-full. Overfilling the cases will cause the batter to spill over when baking. Depending on how you measured your ingredients, you may have enough batter for an extra 1-2 cupcakes.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the cocoa powder and milk. Beat on a very low speed for 1 minute, then increase speed to high and beat for another 2 minutes until pale, fluffy and well combined.
- For swirls: ensure cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting. Fit a piping tip with a star-tip nozzle. Fill the piping bag ¾ full with frosting and twist the top to secure. Pipe a small mound of icing in the centre of a cupcake. In one fluid motion, pipe a ring around the mound then continue to pipe in a circular motion towards the centre of the cupcake to create a hi-top swirl.
- Please note that my recipes are measured in metric cups and spoons which are larger than US cups and spoons. Most recipes will be fine if measured in US cups and spoons, but please use the weight (grams) measurement for the most accurate result.
- You can store the frosted cupcakes unrefrigerated for up to 3 days (they will stay moist).
Substitutions & Tips
- Buttermilk substitute: combine ½ cup milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
- Half quantity of chocolate buttercream frosting: the frosting recipe makes enough for large swirls on each cupcake. If you just want to spread a bit of frosting on the top of each cupcake instead of swirls, halve the frosting recipe as follows: Beat together 125 g (4.5 oz / ½ cup) of softened butter with 1 cup of sifted icing sugar until fluffy. Add ¼ cup of sifted unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 tablespoon of whole dairy milk. Beat until pale and fluffy.
- Coffee: coffee helps bring out the chocolate flavour in the cupcakes. You won't be able to taste the coffee flavour. I use combine ½ teaspoon of instant coffee granules with ¼ cup of boiling water. You can also brew strong coffee in a French press and use that.
- Measuring the cupcake batter: I use a ¼ cup measurement to scoop the batter. This will fill a standard paper case half full (take care as sizes differ).
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1 Cupcake with Frosting
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 454Total Fat: 28.4gSaturated Fat: 12.2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5.9gCholesterol: 75.6mgSodium: 331.6mgCarbohydrates: 51.4gFiber: 2.9gSugar: 38.8gProtein: 4.2g