{VIDEO} THE BEST Chocolate Cupcakes from Scratch

Ultra moist and fudgy cupcakes with a deep chocolatey flavor, topped with a chocolate frosting that melts in your mouth. Perfect for the ultimate chocolate lover.


These cupcakes are rich and fudgy but have a light fluffy texture when you bite into them. A few secret ingredients make these truly the best chocolate cupcakes that can be paired with any sort of frosting flavor combination ever.

They have a super moist, tender crumb from the sour cream. Best of all, they bake up nice and pretty with a perfect moist, shiny top that make them irresistible.

This recipe couldn't be more simple and it comes together with just a few steps! A hint of coffee brings out the depth in the cocoa, without lending any coffee taste in the baked cupcakes and some sour cream makes these ultra rich and tender.

Remember, the better quality ingredients you use, the better tasting cupcakes you will have. I like to use dutch processed cocoa powder for the cupcakes to give them that dark fudginess and natural cocoa for the frosting for the lighter color and less subtle chocolate flavor.

I like to top them with a simple chocolate buttercream for a true chocolate lovers cupcake, but feel free to check out my favorite Frosting Recipes to mix and match with your cupcakes, for your own custom, gourmet flavor combinations! 

I use this recipe as the base for most of my fun flavored cupcake combinations and pair it with my favorite simple buttercream FROSTING recipe for a batch of gourmet cupcakes in over 2 dozen flavor combinations!

Just look how moist and soft these cupcakes are!

And the best part is, they stay ultra moist and tender the next day, too!

These are one of my all time favorite cupcakes, but be sure to also check out my favorite vanilla cupcakes and my favorite funfetti cupcakes too!

THE BEST Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes 

  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules (may use 1/2 hot coffee instead)
  • 6 tablespoons (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder, dutch processed 
  • 1 cup (192g) granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, room temperature 
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (105g) all-purpose flour, weighed or spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/4oz) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (1/2lb) powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar), sifted
  • 3-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (sub half and half or milk if necessary)
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (dutch processed or natural)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.

Dissolve the instant coffee and cocoa powder into the boiling water and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, oil and egg on medium-high speed, for about 2 minutes, until smooth and pale in color. Beat in the vanilla and sour cream. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add flour mixture, on low speed, until just incorporated. In a steady stream, beat in the cocoa mixture until fully combine. Scrape down bottom and sides of bowl. Beat for about 20-30 seconds until smooth and thin.

Distribute the batter between the baking cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (About 10 minutes for mini cupcakes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

With an electric mixer, beat the softened butter on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in vanilla and salt. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, starting on on low and increasing to medium, until fully incorporated, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Add 1-2 tablespoons of cream, until smooth. Beat in cocoa powder, followed by remaining cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Scrape down bottom and sides of bowl. Increase to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 3-5 minutes until smooth, light and fluffy.

Frost completely cooled cupcakes.