These easy chocolate cupcakes are light, fluffy, and so much more moist and flavorful than anything you could get out of a box. Made quickly and easily in just one bowl, these from-scratch easy chocolate cupcakes can be out of the oven in under 30 minutes, then ice them with an equally easy, fudgy, chocolate buttercream frosting.
I’m going back to the basics today with an incredibly easy and oh-so-perfect chocolate cupcake recipe. Light, fluffy, moist, chocolaty and so much better than ANY box mix, these are the perfect chocolate cupcakes.
While I have a good number of chocolate cake recipes on my blog (all appropriately and carefully designed for their specific recipe and flavor combinations), this one cannot be beaten in terms of ease.
Only one bowl required, easy ingredients, phenomenal results; try these perfect chocolate cupcakes out and I guarantee you (and this is not a guarantee I make lightly) you’ll never look at another cupcake recipe again.
If you follow me on Instagram, you saw the faux-mushroom decorated chocolate cake that I made for Zach’s birthday celebration this past weekend. Since I was up to my ears in baking and recipe-testing this weekend, I kept his cake simple and used this same cupcake recipe to make his 8-inch, 2-layer cake, too, and it will definitely be my go-to in the future when I need cupcakes or cake in a pinch (or, probably, not even in a pinch).
This recipe is a versatile one, so use it for cake or cupcake alike (increased baking time for cake, I’ve included notes on this in the recipe below). It lacks nothing in terms of texture or flavor (or just general deliciousness).
You’ll note that the recipe calls for hot water or coffee. It is very important that you use a hot liquid (the hotter the better, but be careful not to splash yourself with it while mixing) as this reacts with the cocoa powder, causing it to “bloom” and therefore fully develop the rich chocolaty flavor of the cocoa.
If you choose to use coffee, your cupcakes will not taste mocha-esque, rather the coffee helps to enhance the rich chocolate flavors of the cocoa powder and I recommend you use it if possible.
Don’t be tempted to replace the oil with butter, please. Despite the fact that I am a butter fiend (as is my dog) using oil is what makes these cupcakes so moist without weighing them down. The cocoa powder (when bloomed by the hot water/coffee) provides plenty of flavor, so butter is unnecessary (never would have thought I would type those words!) and actually yields a less-desirable cupcake.
Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the frosting! Another easy, classic recipe, fudgy (though you can make it as thick or light and creamy as you’d like, depending on how much milk you add) and it is the perfect crowning glory for these cupcakes.
The frosting can also be made in just one bowl (just, uh, not the same bowl, please) and is ready in a matter of minutes.
15 minutes… one bowl… best cupcakes ever… what are you waiting for!?
Make these cupcakes and tag them #sugarspunrun on Instagram so I can see what you’ve made!
(Full printable recipe just below the video)
Easy Chocolate Cupcakes
- 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
- 1 ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (235g)
- ¾ cups natural unsweetened cocoa powder (75g)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅔ cup canola oil vegetable oil would also be fine (157ml)
- 1 cup milk (236ml)
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten (preferably room temperature)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot water (or hot coffee or 1 tsp instant coffee dissolved into 1 cup hot water) (236ml)
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup salted butter softened to room temperature, 2 sticks (226g)
- 4 cups powdered sugar (500g)
- ½ cup cocoa powder (50g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3-5 Tbsp milk
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line muffin tin with cupcake liners (or lightly grease and flour).
- In large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Stir in canola oil and milk, stirring until combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- Add hot water and stir until the mixture is evenly combined (it will be a thin batter. When you first add the water the batter will separate a bit, stir until it is even in texture. Be careful with the hot water as it may splatter as it is stirred). Batter will be very thin, don't panic!
- Fill prepared muffin tin cavities just over ⅔ of the way full* and bake at 350F (175C) for 18-22 minutes (use the toothpick test to check).
- Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- In electric mixer cream butter
- Add sugar, one cup at a time until completely combined
- Stir in cocoa powder and then vanilla extract. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add milk, 1 Tbsp at a time and beating on medium-high speed after each addition for about 15 seconds until desired icing consistency is reached (the less milk you use, the stiffer the frosting will be).
- Pipe icing on completely cooled cupcakes and add sprinkles (if desired).
- Serve and enjoy.
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