My Best Chocolate Cupcakes

best chocolate cupcakes

First, who doesn’t like chocolate? Second, who can resist chocolate buttercream? Third, who can say no to a one-bowl cupcake recipe.

best chocolate cupcakes

I’ve tried some other quick chocolate cupcake or cake recipes before. Some of them are already superb. But then I found this recipe. And it takes these cupcakes to another level of superb. The major different between these two recipes is the use of vinegar versus sour cream. And I think this one has won my heart.

best chocolate cupcakes

And the simplicity of this buttercream. I wouldn’t mind to skip the process of melting chocolate for once. It won’t compromise the sinfully deliciousness. No. It won’t.

Ingredients (12 regular sized cupcakes):
Chocolate Cupcake
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
Chocolate Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkle

To prepare cupcake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin tin or line with muffin liners.
In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Crack in the egg, spoon in the sour cream, and pour in the oil and the vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.
Pour in the boiling water, and slowly mix until smooth and liquidy.
Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups, about halfway full. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely.
To prepare buttercream, beat butter for a few minutes in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and turn the mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter. Add vanilla, heavy cream and cocoa powder, beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy.
Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream and garnish with chocolate sprinkles.


  1. It’s fantastic! Not only tasty but so quick and easy to make.
    Very Nice Article…

  2. This is the best cupcake recipe EVER!!! Cupcakes are amazing, so moist and just perfect in every way! Thank you!

  3. These are the best. I’ve made them 3 times now. I put the frosted cupcakes in a freezer bag and get one out anytime I want one. They have kept fine for weeks and don’t get freezer burn.

  4. I made this for the first time on 4/29/16 to celebrate April birthdays at a church meeting. I doubled the recipe. It was truly the best chocolate cupcakes that I have ever made! It was so moist and with the perfect taste of chocolate. It was well received and I have been using this recipe ever since then when I make chocolate cupcakes.

  5. I planned on making these for a little girls birthday party and loved that it was a recipe for 12. I didn’t want to make 24 or 36 like my other favorite recipes. Well, I’ve made three batches today and each time they fall. I don’t get it.. and I’m a good baker! Argh!! But, on the bright side….THEY ARE DELICIOUS!

  6. I love the small batch, and they are perfect consistency, they are moist but peel away from the cupcake liner easily without crumbling. Thanks!

  7. Hi! Can I freeze these cupcakes after baked/ iced? They would only be in the freezer for a week. I need to make them in advance because of timing. Please let me know.

    1. Yes, Alyssa, you can freeze the iced cupcakes in an air-tight container for a week. Make sure you let the cupcakes thaw in the fridge the night before, then leave it at room temperature for at least an hour to soften buttercream.

  8. Hi there, I am new to baking. These are the first chocolate cupcakes I have made. I personally cannot eat them but I am being told they are too dense. What does this mean? what did I do wrong? Thank you

    1. Hi Jessica, hmmmm…..maybe over-mixed? It’s mostly the case when it comes to dense or tough texture. Hope it helps. :)

  9. This is my favorite chocolate cupcake and frosting recipe! I’ve got unusual questions though, I’m going to be baking a massive chocolate cake, 3 inches deep and 22 inches diameter. I’m replicating the cake from the movie Mathilda for my friend’s birthday. Any suggestions on how many batches it will take to fill the pan? Also, any idea how long to bake it and how to get it to bake evenly?

    1. Thanks, Amelia!
      For this massively huge cake, I would suggest to go for layers, so you will know how many batches it take for each layer. I would try at least 3 batches for each 1-inch layer. The golden rule is if the cake batter reaches 3/4 inch height from the bottom of the pan, then you will probably get at least an inch tall cake layer. For baking time, I would check after first 20 mins with a toothpick, then go every 5 minutes. Hope it helps. :)

  10. The cupcakes taste great, but are too moist. They have more of a brownie texture. This makes them super heavy for eating. I’ll probably add more flour next time.

  11. hi! just came across this recipe on Pinterest…looks divine! just a quick question…is it ok to use self raising flour and omit baking pwd and baking soda? cheers

    1. Hi Al, I guess you could use self raising flour. Just make sure you don’t overmix the batter. :)

  12. I just made these and they were magnificent! The only issue I had was that the cupcakes in my second batch collapsed in the center. Don’t leave the batter out too long before baking!

  13. Heyyy the cupcakes look yummmm! But when I taste them I find them a bit salty and they taste like I’ve added more baking soda. Could you please please tell me if I can skip the soda. I don’t think we get good quality soda in my place. I have a party tomorrow I’m gonna make these beauties but can you please help me with the baking soda!? Pleaseeeeee!

    1. Hi Humaira, you could skip the baking soda and add another 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder. So no baking soda at all, but one full teaspoon of baking powder in total. Hope it helps. :)

  14. the cupcakes look wonderful and tasty just had one question what kind of sour cream do u use. Can it be any sour cream

    1. Thanks, Edith. I use plain sour cream (14% M.F.). But I guess it’s fine to use light one too. :)

  15. I tested this recipe today. It was an absolute success! Wonderful moist chocolate cupcakes, my whole family enjoyed them. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely be keeping an eye on your blog for more tasty treats. :)

  16. Wow. These were absolutely amazing and perfect for my birthday celebration! Thank you! The best cupcakes I’ve ever made :)

    1. Hi Khassa, Happy Belated Birthday! I am so happy that you enjoyed the recipe and liked the cupcakes. :)

  17. These are the best cupcakes I have ever made. Trick is not to over fill the tins and not to overbake. Delicious and moist!

  18. Wow! Wow! Wow! Forgive my being crazy here. But your chocolate cupcake recipe is really amazing! I’ve never come across an simple recipe with such a great success. Love the simple steps and the addictively delicious flavor of it. All my friends and family are big fans of it! Thank you very much for sharing!

  19. Mixed cupcakes, placed in oven to bake. Opened door to check doneness with toothpick towards the end of bake time and found they had ran over a little bit which I thought I will just clean bottom of oven and move on. I shut door back and they instantly started to fall in the middle and became a mess!!! I cook frequently and normally do rather well but this recipe was a disappointment! Sorry to say…

  20. I made these last night on a whim when I was craving chocolate— only took about half an hour from prep to finish! SOOO easy, and they were a total hit. Delicious, moist, and the buttercream was to die for. I used greek yogurt because I didn’t have sour cream and almond milk instead of heavy cream and everything turned out wonderful. Thanks for the recipe!

  21. Hi Fanny, this is the best chocolcate cupcake recipe I’ve ever tried. Unbelivably easy and OMG very tasty! I made these cupcakes for my coworkers. They all loved them. Thank you for sharing.

  22. Oy. This is a nightmare recipe, sorry. Baked for 23 minutes- brand new leavenings, NOT overmixed, cups filled just under half full. I’m a former professional baker and have made a number of cakes that use the cocoa/boiling water structure. I was curious about the one-bowl concept, so I tried these.

    Only non-standard item was self-supporting paper cups rather than a cupcake tin, one dozen cups set on my insulated baking sheet.

    Cupcakes were raw inside although set to the touch/shake test on top. There simply isn’t enough flour in the recipe to create a stable matrix for the leavening to act on, so the cupcakes don’t rise enough to cook all the way through or develop a stable lofting.

  23. These look fabulous. If you were to make this as a two 6 inch cakes, what baking time would you suggest?

    1. Thanks, Eew. I would say at least 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test the doneness. And add another 3 minutes gradually.

  24. I absolutely LOVED these! I tried one without frosting and they were still so amazing without it! I added vanilla buttercream and they were absolutely delish. Everyone who tries them says they’re the best. Definitely the best chocolate cupcake I have ever had.

  25. Hi Fanny,
    I tried this recipe once again and filled the cups a little less than halfway –they turned out perfectly! Thank you so much for sharing. So so delicious and professional looking :)

  26. Just made 2 dozens of these cupcake for father’s day, and they were all gone within a split second. LOL! Not only my father, but all my family loved them!!!!!! The best chocolat cupcake I’ve ever made. Thank you for sharing!

  27. I’m really disappointed in the outcome of the results of this chocolate cupcake!! They turned out horrible… First they rise lopsided and the cupcakes don’t hold their shape and the bottom is crumbly when the cupcake liner is removed. I made them exactly following the recipe precisely!!
    I read Niki’s comment and your response to it before making the cupcakes: so I’m sure I didn’t overfill (I actually experimented and did 3 levels 1/4, 1/2, 3/4). The toothpick came out clean and I was cautious to not over mix. So I’m not sure what the problem is…. Just baffled by the weird outcome. Maybe there is something wrong with the recipe. Just wanna share with everyone and see if anybody has a solution. Thanks and best of luck to anybody making these. :)

    1. Hi Tab, I am very sorry about your experience. I’ve already shared my failure experience here before, and I wish I come come up with a solution for you. :(

  28. Hello

    I like very much your blog. I would like to do some receipt of cupcake and cake pops.

    I would like to put ask you if is it possible to use this receipt of cake to do cake pops?

    thanks in advance

    (you have a great family, congrats).



  29. Hi, I just made these cupcakes; however, when they finished baking they ended up lopsided and relatively bad looking. What did I do wrong?

    1. Hi Yanisa. Sorry to hear that. Now if your baking powder and baking soda were all fresh. Then maybe:
      – The tin was too filled up.
      – Overmixed. I normally tend to undermix a little in case I am not sure. Being lumpy doesn’t hurt.
      – Underbaked. This batter is very liquidy. If your tester doesn’t come out clean after baked, add another 2 to 3 minutes for baking.
      These are my failure experience. I hope it helps. :)

  30. Yummy!!!!! I just made these cupcakes and supersoft and yummy! Best chocolate cupcake recipe ever!!! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Seriously, Lorna, you’ve made my day by telling me this. I am sooooo happy that u liked the recipe and it turned out to be a great success for u. Cheers. :D

  31. I have nothing but amazing things to say bout this recipe it’s so easy, simple and best of all the result is fabulous … (I added a tbsp of coffee to the hot water) and the chocolatey flavour was just WOW … Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  32. First batch out of oven :) SOOOOO Delicious ~ Very moist, taste very yummy and that’s without icing!!! The only thing is I filled my cupcakes a little too much and they overflowed a bit. I am going to go easy on filling cupcakes next batch. I doubled recipe and it made about 32 cupcakes ;)
    Thank you for this delish recipe!!!! :) Can’t wait to try one with icing!!! LOL

  33. Hello ~ these look delish!! I’m going to make these for my son’s graduation. Can you tell me how many cupcakes this recipe makes (normal size cupcakes) ~ Thanks :)

    1. Hi, Franny. This recipe makes 12 standard-sized cupcakes. Hope your son will like them. :)

  34. Thanks for the tip, Fanny! Plain yogurt is much easier to source here.

    P.S. I just realised my mix-up (of your name) in my earlier post. I’m beyond mortified! LOL! (I promise you I’m not looney…)

  35. Hi Renee, your pictures are amazing and those cupcakes look yummy! I have a quick question on substitution: sour cream is hard to come by where I live and when available a 200ml pack costs abt $6! cab I sub the sour cream in this recipe with ‘homemade’ buttermilk (1 tbsp vinegar and whole milk)?

    1. Hi Niki, I would suggest you to use plain yogurt, because the batter itself is already liquidy, I wouldn’t put more liquid. Yogurt has the similar texture as sour cream, I think it will be the perfect substitution. Hope it helps. :)

  36. I have made these cupcakes four times. The first time they turned out perfect. The best chocolate cupcakes I have ever eaten. The last three times the cake fell in the middle, any idea what would cause that? I checked to make sure that my baking soda and baking powder where in date. Thanks!

    1. Hi Renee. If your baking powder and baking soda were all good. Then maybe:
      – The tin was too filled up.
      – Overmixed. I normally tend to undermix a little in case I am not sure. Being lumpy doesn’t hurt.
      – Underbaked. This batter is very liquidy. If your tester doesn’t come out clean after baked, add another 2 to 3 minutes for baking.
      These are my failure experience. I hope it helps. :)

  37. This is by far THE BEST chocolate cupcake I have ever had. Love Love Love it! I used a cream cheese frosting instead of the chocolate buttercream. The cream cheese frosting complemented it deliciously, and I can’t wait to try the chocolate buttercream frosting recipe. My taste buds thank you! =)

    1. Thanks, Renee! Cream cheese frosting sounds divine! I think the chocolate cake is too simple to make that you can focus all your energy on creating your best frosting to go with it! :)

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