Deep, Dark and Delicious Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Deep Dark and Delicious Chocolate Cupcakes

I made these chocolate cupcakes as a Valentine’s Day treat.  They’re very moist and a favorite of ours.

I’ve experimented with numerous recipes for the perfect chocolate cupcake (or cake).  There is much debate with using oil vs. butter.  What I found is that chocolate cakes made with butter are not as moist, and tend to have a mild chocolate flavor.  While I love to bake with butter, there are some cakes that taste better made with oil.  In my opinion, these would be chocolate and carrot cakes.

There is a science behind this, but I’ll be brief.  Butter gives a lighter and firmer crumb because it contains some water and it develops the gluten in the flour. Oil has no water so it gives a moist and oily texture with larger crumbs.

I posted a recipe last year for Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes which were amazing, and the cupcakes were made with butter, but I find these cupcakes are way easier to make.

Another tip is to use fresh brewed coffee or instant coffee added to boiling water as a liquid ingredient.  Coffee adds a real depth of flavor to chocolate.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1¾ cups unbleached flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder (Dutch-processed preferred)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (you can use Canola oil)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water (I used fresh brewed coffee)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or line cupcake pans with liners (see below)
  3. Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large mixing bowl
  4. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes
  5. Stir in boiling water on low speed (batter will be thin).  Be sure to scrape down the bottom of your bowl
  6. Pour batter into prepared pans
  7. Bake according to your variation listed below
  8. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks
  9. Cool completely


  • ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely
  • THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely
  • BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely
  • CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 18 to 22 minutes. Cool completely

Makes 2 cups


  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup cocoa (Dutch-processed preferred)
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used 5% half and half)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add to a stand mixer
  2. Add cocoa powder and beat on low speed until combined
  3. Alternately add icing sugar and milk, starting slowly, then increase speed and beat until light and fluffy
  4. Add small amount of additional milk, if needed
  5. Add vanilla extract

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3 thoughts on “Deep, Dark and Delicious Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

  1. Happy Valentine’s Day | CRAVINGTHIS February 14, 2013 at 6:02 am Reply

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  2. CranberryJamFB (@DangiraVS) February 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm Reply

    I don’t know somehow myself I prefer butter 🙂 but it doesnt really matter when cupcakes look so delicious and nice like yours.

    • cravingthis February 13, 2013 at 8:52 pm Reply

      Hi CranberryJamFB ~ I think everything tastes better with butter ….lol
      Butter and oil cakes definitely taste different. Thank you for your lovely comment and taking the time to stop by 🙂

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