Homemade Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Made completely from scratch, these moist chocolate cupcakes are delicious and a crowd favorite! They are super moist, pack tons of chocolate flavor and are so easy to make! Topped with a rich chocolate buttercream, these are amazing!

The Best Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes

There are certain recipes that every baker needs in their repertoire and an amazing chocolate cupcake is one of them. These cupcakes are insanely moist and so easy to make. They are the perfect starting point for any number of flavor combinations. I have used this chocolate cupcake recipe countless times and not only does it never let me down, it is always a hit.

These chocolate cupcakes are amazing in their cupcake form, but I’ve also shared them as my favorite layered Moist Chocolate Cake, in 6-Inch Chocolate Cake form, and many other ways. It’s easily adaptable and these are so good that after being asked many times for a vanilla version, I created these Moist Vanilla Cupcakes. So if you’re looking for an amazing oil-based vanilla cupcake, those are the way to go.

You may think you already have the perfect chocolate cupcake, but trust me. If you haven’t had these, you haven’t had perfection yet. It’s time to make them.

Moist chocolate cupcakes on a cake stand near a bowl of chocolate chips.

Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

So what sets these chocolate cupcakes apart from all the rest? You’ll see for yourself when you make them, but I’ll let you in on why I think they are so standout here.

  • So moist and tender. These are perhaps the moistest cupcake you’ll ever have. No cracked, dry cupcakes here. Just super tender chocolate goodness straight out of the oven.
  • Great to make ahead. These chocolate cupcakes are so moist that they do really well with making a day or two ahead.
  • Real chocolate frosting. I love that the frosting for these cupcakes uses real chocolate. The base of the frosting is made from semisweet chocolate chips that are melted and mixed into the butter. The real chocolate gives the frosting a fudge-y quality that makes it a chocolate lover’s dream.
  • A wonderfully simple recipe. No fancy mixing methods or complicated steps here. This recipe comes together quickly and is accessible to all skill levels. All you need is a couple bowls and a whisk!

What You’ll Need

Time to grab your ingredients and get started. Here’s what you’ll need to make these chocolate cupcakes from scratch. Have a look at the recipe card below for exact measurements.

Ingredients for moist chocolate cupcakes separated into bowls.

Chocolate cupcakes

  • All-purpose flour – Be sure to measure this properly to get the right result. I always recommend a food scale, but the spoon and level method is fine as well. A quality 1:1 gluten-free flour should work also.
  • Sugar – Regular granulated sugar is used in these.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – Regular unsweetened cocoa is used in these cupcakes. You can used Dutch cocoa, but they don’t rise quite as high, so you’d need to fill them a little more and you’d probably get one or two less cupcakes.
  • Baking soda – This leavening gives the cupcakes the most amazingly tender texture.
  • Salt – This enhances the flavors already present in the cupcakes. Without it, your cupcakes would be a bit bland.
  • Egg – Large size eggs, not medium or extra large.
  • Milk – You can use regular milk (whole or 2%) or buttermilk. They all work! Buttermilk will make the cupcakes even more tender, but they don’t need it. They are so darn moist and tender even without it.
  • Vegetable oil – The use of oil in this recipe makes these cupcakes extra moist. It also means we don’t need to cream any butter and therefore don’t need a mixer. Score!
  • Vanilla extract
  • Hot water – The hot water allows the cocoa to “bloom”, which brings out a richer chocolate flavor in the cake. Cooler water will work just fine but the cocoa flavor will not be as strong in the finished product. The water also adds moisture without adding more fat that would weigh the cupcakes down and make them more dense.

Chocolate frosting

  • Unsalted butter – The butter must be at room temperature otherwise you run the risk of a lumpy frosting.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – I used semi-sweet chocolate. It’s my favorite to use in recipes like this. It lends a richer chocolate flavor than milk chocolate but isn’t too bitter.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – Regular unsweetened cocoa is what I use, but feel free to use a darker version as well.
  • Powdered sugar – For volume and consistency. Feel free to reduce the amount to your preference, if needed.
  • Salt – You don’t have to add a touch of salt, but I do like the additional flavor it adds. Plus, it cuts down the sweetness a bit.

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes from Scratch

Here’s a quick look at how to make these moist chocolate cupcakes. For more detailed instructions, scroll to the recipe card below.

For the cupcakes

  • Prep. Preheat oven to 300°F and line a cupcake pan with liners.
  • Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together.
  • Combine the wet ingredients. Whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.
  • Put it all together. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  • Add hot water. Add the hot water to the batter. It will be very thin.
  • Bake. Fill the cupcake liners halfway and bake for 18-23 minutes.
  • Cool. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

For the frosting

  • Make the base. Beat the butter until smooth.
  • Add some chocolate. Mix in the melted chocolate followed by the cocoa powder.
  • Pull it all together. Mix in half of the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream followed by the remaining powdered sugar and salt. Add more heavy cream if your frosting is too thick.
  • Decorate the cupcakes. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.

Tips for Baking Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

You are about to experience the best homemade chocolate cupcakes you’ve ever tasted. Just follow these simple tips and tricks and you’ll see what I mean.

  • Don’t overmix. When mixing together the wet and dry ingredients, be careful not to overmix. This can cause the glutens in the flour to overdevelop, leaving you with a tough, dense cupcake.
  • Use hot water. Trust me. While you can use cooler water in the batter for this recipe, I highly suggest using hot water. It allows the cocoa to bloom, bringing out its full, rich, fudgy flavor.
  • Thin batter? Keep it that way. The cupcake batter should be very thin. They are loaded with moisture. Trust me. They will turn out just fine. Better than fine. Fluffy, moist, and delicious.
  • Bake at a low temperature. 300 degrees F to be exact. It is necessary to bake at a low temperature here because it gives the thin cupcake batter time to fluff up and cook evenly all the way through.
  • Let the cupcakes cool. Wait to frost the cupcakes until they have cooled completely. Otherwise, the frosting will slide right off!
A moist chocolate cupcake with a bite taken out of it alongside other chocolate cupcakes on a cake stand.

Serving Suggestions

Looking to add a little extra flair? Here are some fun ways to serve these moist chocolate cupcakes that will take them from amazing to heavenly.

How to Store Cupcakes

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before arranging them in a single layer in an airtight container (you can use an airtight cupcake carrier if you have one). Close the container and store the cupcakes at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Past that, store them in the refrigerator. They should be good for up to 5 days.

Moist chocolate cupcakes on a cake stand.

Can I Freeze These?

You can! Once cooled, arrange these moist chocolate cupcakes (frosted or unfrosted) in a single layer in an airtight container. Close the container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow the cupcakes to thaw in the refrigerator before frosting (if applicable) and serving.

More Chocolate Cupcake Recipes

I have done a lot of playing with chocolate cupcake recipes. This one is definitely my favorite and is used as the base of some of the ones below. But here are a variety of other chocolatey options.

Watch How to Make Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

Read Transcript

clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon
Pealing back the cupcake liner on a moist chocolate cupcake.

Homemade Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Author: Lindsay Conchar
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 14-16 Cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Made completely from scratch, these moist chocolate cupcakes are delicious and a crowd favorite! They are super moist, pack tons of chocolate flavor and are so easy to make! Topped with a rich chocolate buttercream, these are amazing!


Chocolate cupcakes

  • 1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 6 tbsp (43g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk or buttermilk*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) hot water*

Chocolate buttercream

  • 1 1/4 cups (280g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 3 tbsp (22g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 cups (575g) powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 24 tbsp heavy cream


For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to a large mixing bowl and combine. Set aside.
  3. Add the egg, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract to another medium sized bowl and whisk together to combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the water to the batter and mix until well combined. The batter will be very thin.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners about half way and bake for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Remove the cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

For the buttercream

  1. To make the frosting, beat the butter in a large mixer bowl until smooth.
  2. Add the melted chocolate and mix until well combined and smooth.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and mix until well combined and smooth.
  4. Add about half of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and mix until well combined and smooth.
  5. Add remaining powdered sugar and salt and mix until well combined and smooth.
  6. Add remaining heavy cream as needed to get the right consistency of frosting.
  7. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I used Ateco tip 847.
  8. Store cupcakes at room temperature for up to 24 hours, then refrigerate. Cupcakes are best served at room temperature. Best eaten within 4-5 days.


  • I have previously used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa powder for these cupcakes, but Hershey’s has changed it and it doesn’t work quite the same in these. They don’t rise as well. I recommend regular unsweetened cocoa powder, but you can technically use either.
  • This recipe calls for hot water. You don’t have to use hot water – the cake will still bake fine – but the hot water allows the cocoa to “bloom”, which brings out a richer chocolate flavor in the cake.
  • Milk and buttermilk both work great in these cupcakes. I don’t notice much difference between the two, other than that the buttermilk makes them even more tender (and they are already super tender).


  • Serving Size: 1 Cupcake
  • Calories: 520
  • Sugar: 55.8 g
  • Sodium: 168.3 mg
  • Fat: 29.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 65.6 g
  • Protein: 3.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 54.8 mg

Keywords: moist chocolate cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes from scratch, homemade chocolate cupcakes


Share a Comment

Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you and seeing what you made!

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

  1. Shayna

    Hi! Love this recipe. I want to make some tonight but I’m out of buttermilk. Can I use half & half or whole milk instead of buttermilk?

  2. Mia

    Absolutely delicious!! I made these for a party this weekend and they were a huge hit!! I will definitely be making these again!

  3. Whitney

    Hi! I just made these for my
    daughter’s birthday party tomorrow. Would you recommend refrigerating them overnight? I haven’t yet frosted them.

  4. Brenda Delgado

    Hi there is this the frosting that use to have shortening in it? I have make it to my boys and my husband its a family tradition

  5. Lauren

    Best chocolate cupcake recipe ever!!! These cupcakes are so moist and delicious. The frosting was tasty as well, but i only used 4 cups of sugar. It was also A LOT of frosting. It was enough for 24 cupcakes. Sucked wasting the other half of the frosting since i wont be using it any time soon, but at least i know for next time to cut it in half.

    1. Lindsay

      So glad you enjoyed them! The frosting makes enough to pile the frosting high, like you see in the photos. If you add less frosting, then yes you can definitely reduce it.

  6. Lisa

    Recipe did not work at all. The cupcakes completely collapsed and dented badly in the middle. We threw them out. They weren’t edible.

    1. Lindsay

      I can truly attest that these cupcakes are super reliable. I have made them countless times. If they sunk in the middle, you likely mis-measured an ingredient (possibly the baking soda) or your baking soda may not have been good. You may have also opened the oven too soon, which can cause them to sink. I hope you try them again!

      1. Cydney J

        Mine also completely sunk in the middle … but I’m also in high altitude, so I’m wondering if this is why they sunk in the middle. Super bummer as I also made these for my son’s bday party and I had to toss out the batch.
        Anything you recommend for high altitude?

    2. Debbi

      I have made this recipe so many times and have never had this happen! People absolutely RAVE about them every single time and beg me for the recipe. Wish I could take credit! If the cupcakes sank that was human error not the recipe.
      P.S. her vanilla cupcakes are also hands down the best.

  7. Amy K

    Hi. I have to make a large amount of cupcakes for a birthday party. Would I be able to make the batter ahead of time?

    1. Lindsay

      You could make the cupcakes ahead, but I wouldn’t make the batter too far ahead. The baking soda starts reacting prior to baking them and you’ll love some of the rise in the cupcakes if it sits for too long.

  8. Lisa

    This recipe was so quick and easy to make and the results were excellent! The cake itself is so light, fluffy, and moist. It was tough to get them out of the tin without squishing them while they were still cooling. They are very rich of course with the icing, but sometimes that’s what you want! I actually made a much smaller batch of icing, dividing by 4, and froze many of the cupcakes so I can try some other icing options at some point. We’ll see how they defrost. I also filled one with raspberry jam to cut through the chocolate a bit. mmm so good. Will definitely be a go to recipe when I need a really good chocolate cake or cupcake. I may try with hot coffee instead of water at some point as well. Also appreciate the included weight measurements, even if they do jump between g and oz. Thanks!

  9. Lori

    I have a chocolate cake recipe that calls for a cup of hot coffee and the cake turns out delicious! Can hot coffee be substituted for the water? Thank you!

  10. Karl von Heintz

    Great recipe…I made some minor modifications as we serve chocolate in Germany. Very simple and yet the best cupcake recipe I have ever found.

    FYI…If I had to work through Pinterest to get your information, I would rather be buried alive next to my mother-in-law. Thanks for the online information.

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29