If you're looking for the BEST easy chocolate cupcake recipe, this is it! Ready to bake in just 5 minutes and topped with a rich chocolate icing, these are an instant classic! Make these for a birthday party, or just because. Can be made with einkorn flour or any all-purpose wheat flour.
So, when my son asked me to whip up a batch of chocolate cupcakes this weekend, I happily obliged!
This recipe is so simple and fast to pull together that it's sure to be a heavy favorite after you try it!
3 Secrets to the Best Chocolate Cupcakes
After running a bakery with over 40,000 customers a month, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for making the best chocolate cupcakes, so I wanted to share them with you now.
- Use Butter - While this might be impossible, especially if your diet doesn't allow dairy, using butter is the best way to get a deep, rich flavor and an excellent crumb for your cupcakes.
- Scoop, Don't Spoon - Instead of using a spoon to portion out your batter, use a cookie scoop! This helps keep your baking space nice and tidy (no drips) and it also ensures an even distribution of batter into each cup. Having an even distribution will help the cupcakes bake evenly, so nothing gets dried out or undercooked!
- Don't Over Bake - While we often think that a completely dry toothpick is the goal when testing to see if a cake is done, that means that the cake is TOO dry! Instead, look for a slightly wet toothpick with some crumbs stuck (but no wet batter). This means the cupcakes are perfectly moist and ready to enjoy!
Next, let's take a look at what goes into this chocolate cupcake recipe, what ingredients can be substituted, and for what other options! Full measurements can be found in the printable recipe at the end of the post.
Note, the cupcakes are made to be less sweet, so that the icing helps balance it out! If you want to use the cupcake recipe for muffins without the icing, you may find that you want to add 1/4 cup more sugar to your batter.
- Flour - We use all-purpose einkorn, but any all-purpose flour can be used. Even a 1:1 gluten-free flour will work well in this recipe.
- Cacao - A fermented cacao gives an excellent flavor, but cocoa can also be used. Note that if you are using a dark cocoa (like Hershey's) the flavor will be very, very rich. If you are ok with that, the great! Otherwise, reduce the cocoa measurement by half and increase the flour by the amount of cocoa removed.
- Sugar - Granulated white sugar is typically used in cake recipes, however, we've also used panela in equal measurements with wonderful flavor and texture results! If using a liquid sweetener like maple syrup or honey, increase the flour measurement by 1/2 a cup.
- Baking Powder - This creates a wonderful rise in the cake! Do not use baking soda. If you are out of baking powder, but have baking soda on hand, use this recipe for homemade baking powder to make your own!
- Milk - Use any type of milk you can, it doesn't have to be animal milk! However, using milk instead of water creates a deeper flavor and yields a higher-quality finished product.
- Eggs - We use whole eggs, however, egg yolks only can be used if needed. If eggs cannot be used, substitute 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt instead. You may also need to increase the flour measurement by 1/2 a cup if the batter is too runny.
- Butter - We use salted butter, but if you use unsalted, just add 1/4 tsp of salt to the batter. Shortening can be used in place of butter, if needed.
- Vanilla - A flavor enhancer, don't skip!
For the icing:
- Cacao - Again, cocoa can be used here instead, but just note that the flavor will be very strong (and delicious) if a dark cocoa is used.
- Powdered Sugar - We use an organic powdered sugar that doesn't contain fillers, but any powdered sugar will work well! You can even make your own powdered sugar from maple syrup!
- Butter - You can also use shortening, if desired, but butter helps to create a very rich and sturdy icing.
- Vanilla - A flavor enhancer.
- Milk - Used to adjust the powdered sugar and cacao to the proper texture, you can also use water if needed.
Pulling this recipe together is so fast! If you have a stand or hand mixer, I highly recommend using it to whip the batter into a fluffy mixture. However, mixing by hand with a whisk or wooden spoon will also yield a lovely result.
- Prep - Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Cream - In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and mix again until smooth.
- Add First Half - Add half the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
- Blend - Add the milk and vanilla to the batter and mix well.
- Add Final Half - Finally, add the remaining dry ingredients and mix well. If using a mixer, beat on med-high for 1-3 minutes, or until the mixture changes color to a lighter shade and the volume has increased.
- Scoop - Line 12-18 cupcake cavities with cupcake liners (depending on how large you want the cupcakes to be) and evenly divide the batter among the liners.
- Bake - Bake for 16-20 minutes until a toothpick test yields a moist finish with no wet batter.
- Cool - Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before icing
- Make the Icing - In a medium mixing bowl, add butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix well and whip until the icing becomes fluffy and thick. Add more milk as needed if the icing is too thick.
- Ice the Cupcakes - Using a piping bag and 1M tip (or a Ziplock with the corner cut off) pipe the icing into the top of each cupcake.
Yes, you can bake the cupcakes up to 3 days in advance and store them in an airtight container. Frost them on the day of the event for the freshest results.
To prevent sinking, avoid overmixing the batter, use room temperature ingredients, and ensure the oven is properly preheated.
Yes, you can adapt the recipe for mini cupcakes. Reduce the baking time to 12-14 minutes and keep a close eye on them.
You can substitute vegetable oil for butter, but it may affect the flavor and texture. Butter provides a rich taste, though oil is less expensive.
Store any leftover cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-4 days. For longer storage, refrigerate them.
Even more delicious recipes
Looking for more ways to delight your tastebuds? Here are a few of our favorite desserts for you to try next!
Easy Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes
- 280 g flour (we use einkorn flour)
- 47 g cacao
- 3/4 cup cane sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup cacao
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and mix again until smooth.
- Add half the flour and all the baking powder to the bowl and mix well.
- Add the milk and vanilla to the batter and mix well.
- Finally, add the remaining flour and mix well. If using a mixer, beat on med-high for 1-3 minutes, or until the mixture changes color to a lighter shade and the volume has increased.
- Line 12-18 cupcake cavities with cupcake liners (depending on how large you want the cupcakes to be) and evenly divide the batter among the liners.
- Bake for 16-20 minutes until a toothpick test yields a moist finish with no wet batter.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before icing
- In a medium mixing bowl, add butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix well and whip until the icing becomes fluffy and thick. Add more milk as needed if the icing is too thick.
- Using a piping bag and 1M tip (or a Ziplock with the corner cut off) pipe the icing into the top of each cupcake.