Chocolate cupcakes are the perfect treat for anyone who craves a deep, rich chocolate experience. Each cupcake is a mini masterpiece, combining the luxurious taste of chocolate cake with a smooth, fudgy frosting. Ideal for chocolate aficionados, these cupcakes are not just a dessert; they are an indulgent journey into the heart of chocolate bliss.

I am personally a choco-holic, I eat a bit of chocolate every single day, it brings me joy. This recipe is my way of sharing joy with all of you. The combination of moist cake and creamy frosting in each bite makes these cupcakes a decadent treat for any occasion, even just a daily chocolate dose.

Chocolate cupcakes on a platter

The Chemistry of Cupcakes

The secret of these cupcakes’ rich flavor and moist texture lies in the chemistry of the ingredients. The cocoa powder, with its natural bitterness, balances the sweetness of the sugar. The addition of hot water helps to ‘bloom’ the cocoa, enhancing its flavor. Baking soda and baking powder work together to create a light, airy structure, while the eggs, oil, and sour cream add moisture and richness.

How do I make my chocolate cupcakes moist?

Using sour cream and not over baking are key to moist cupcakes. Keep an eye on the cakes while they are in the oven. There are 3 tricks for knowing they are done. First, if the no longer look shiny but a bit dull, probably done. Second, if you tap the pan and they do not jiggle in the middle, most likely done. The sure tell test is sticking a fork in the middle of one, if it comes out with just a few moist crumbs, they are done. On the other side, if the fork comes out gooey, they need more baking time. If it comes out clean, they are already over done.

Can I substitute the oil in the recipe?

Yes, you can use applesauce or melted butter as substitutes.

Chocolate cupcakes on a platter

How long do these cupcakes last?

Stored properly, they can last up to a week in the refrigerator, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Can I make these cupcakes vegan?

Yes, by using a plant-based milk, vegan sour cream, and egg substitutes.

What is in chocolate cupcakes?

All-purpose Flour

Builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It’s exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Cocoa Powder

Provides a rich, sweet chocolate flavor. Creates a dark brown color in your treat. Absorbs water in your batter or dough at the same rate as flour. That means, if you add too much, you could end up with a dried, crumbly finished product.

Baking Powder

Puffs up your batter or dough instead of spreading it out. Baking powder contains a little bit of baking soda, an acid & cornstarch. Because of this, it only needs a liquid to react. It also consists of two different acids, so it’s double reacting. It reacts as soon as it’s mixed with a moisture and then again when it’s heated up.

Baking Soda

Elevates the pH level of your batter or dough. It increases the spread in your treat and encourages browning, which gives the crispy outside and soft inside texture that everyone loves. Baking soda needs both an acid and a liquid to react. Things that will activate your baking soda are: vinegar, fruit juice, molasses, brown sugar, tartar, buttermilk and sour cream. Baking soda only reacts once, which is right when it’s mixed into your batter or dough. The soda creates little air bubbles all throughout your treat. When the air bubbles get heated up in the oven, they expand.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Hot Water

Helps the cocoa powder bloom and become richer and more flavorful

Milk

Adds moisture to the batter or dough. Milk adds protein and sugar (lactose) to your treat. It encourages browning and adds a bit more sweetness to your baked treat.

Vegetable Oil

100% fat, contains no water and has a higher melting point. This means it will not melt down in your oven, resulting in thicker cookies or brownies. It doesn’t help leaven your treat like butter can, so it can make your treat flatter and greasier.

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

Sour Cream

Is a very fatty dairy product. The extra fat will make your treat more moist and rich. It also is acidic so it will help baking soda react, which helps your treat rise.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

Unsalted butter

Often the main ingredient of frosting, it adds structure to your buttercream. It also adds a smooth and velvety texture. Butter melts at body temperature, so it will make your frosting have a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

Chocolate Chips

Is a form of chocolate. Chocolate chips are not pure chocolate, they are typically made up of cocoa, sugar, emulsifier and vanilla.

Heavy Whipping Cream

Makes a softer, more spreadable frosting. When melted with chocolate it adds more fat and moisture to the mixture, resulting in a silkier blend.

Powdered Sugar

Is just finely ground granulated sugar. It will absorb moisture in your batter or dough. It dissolves easily, ensuring a smooth texture without grittiness. Because it is so fine, it can melt quickly in the oven and spread cookies out more. Powdered sugar also stabilizes and thickens the frosting, thanks to the small amount of cornstarch it contains.

Chocolate cupcakes on a platter

Storage Tips

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerate for extended freshness. These cupcakes can last up to a week in the refrigerator. Unfrosted, they can be frozen for 2-3 months, just thaw back to room temperature and frost before serving. Anyway you store them, room temperature, fridge or freezer, you need to keep them in an airtight container.

Making Ahead

Cupcakes can be made a day ahead. Store unfrosted in an airtight container and frost before serving. This will help break up the baking task and reduce stress if you are hosting a party or attending a potluck.

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Why make chocolate cupcakes?

Chocolate cupcakes are a versatile treat, perfect for birthdays, special occasions, or as a delightful surprise for a casual gathering.

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Chocolate cupcakes on a platter

Chocolate Cupcakes

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 24 cupcakes
This lush chocolate cake is rich and exquisite. Better yet, it is topped with fudgy chocolate frosting. A true winner of a dessert for all chocolate lovers.

Ingredients 

Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips 1 bag
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degress
  • In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, soda and salt
  • Add the hot water, whole milk and vegetable oil, Stir until combined
  • Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract. Stir until the batter is smooth
  • Spoon batter into a cupcake pan with 24 cupcakes lined with baking cups.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled, remove from the pan

Frosting

  • In a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate chips and cream
  • Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir the chocolate mixture. Repeat and then stir vigorously until all the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
  • In a standing mixer whip the butter until smooth
  • Add the powdered sugar and mix it until combined.
  • Pour the chocolate ganache mixture into the standing mixer and stir until combined.
  • Once combined, whip the frosting for 2 minutes until lighter in color and texture.
  • Frost cupcakes when cooled

Nutrition

Calories: 498kcal Carbohydrates: 66g Protein: 3g Fat: 27g Saturated Fat: 14g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 61mg Sodium: 205mg Potassium: 119mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 55g Vitamin A: 567IU Vitamin C: 0.1mg Calcium: 50mg Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

Chocolate cupcakes titled