These chocolate cupcakes are going to be the BEST cupcakes you’ve ever had! They have a rich, deep chocolate flavor, they are not too sweet, and they have an incredibly moist and soft crumb, all in a well tested, foolproof, one bowl recipe. You won’t be able to stop at one, guaranteed!
These one bowl chocolate cupcakes are easy to make, foolproof and absolutely delicious!
These are my favorite chocolate cupcakes to eat. Hands down. I’ve tried many chocolate cupcakes and recipes over the years, but these are easily the best.
I’ve gotten lots of great feedback from you, my lovely readers, on my perfect vanilla cupcakes, so I decided to share their chocolate version too. I’ve spent months fine-tuning this recipe, to make sure that it’s not only simple, but also foolproof for anyone to try.
I adapted this recipe from my devil’s food cake (a rich, layered chocolate cake recipe). So I’m not surprised at how much I love these, and how often I make them! I guarantee you will love these too.
Why you should try this recipe
- This is a one bowl chocolate cupcake recipe. So there’s very little clean up afterwards.
- Use a scale, so that you don’t have to bother with measuring cups to measure out each ingredient. Simply ‘tare’ the scale between each ingredient, and measure everything directly into the same mixing bowl.
- Foolproof chocolate cupcake recipe. I’ve tested this recipe in many different ways to find out what works best. I’ve tweaked the ingredients to make sure they are not only easy to make, but you get perfect results every time too.
- These cupcakes are light and moist. Never dry!
- A rich, deep chocolate flavor, and they are not too sweet at all.
Ingredients and substitutions to make these chocolate cupcakes
Important ingredient for making chocolate cupcakes, obviously. I use Callebaut cocoa powder that has a very deep chocolate flavor. It’s also dutch processed. HOWEVER, you can use natural cocoa OR dutch processed cocoa powder instead.
If the cocoa powder you’re using is clumpy, and you’re using volume measurements, then make sure to sift the cocoa powder BEFORE measuring it. If you end up adding too much cocoa powder, the result will be dry cupcakes.
Substitute the cocoa powder with black cocoa powder to make these black cupcakes for Halloween.
Hot water to bloom the cocoa powder
I use hot water to bloom the cocoa powder. Blooming is the process of dissolving the cocoa powder in a hot liquid and letting it sit for a few minutes. The blooming process allows the cocoa particles to expand within the liquid (and thicken the liquid) and release more of the oils and flavor in the cocoa powder. It also minimizes lumps.
For this recipe I used hot water, but you can use hot coffee instead as well.
I add the melted and slightly cooled butter to the bloomed cocoa powder. This way it’s easier to mix it into the batter. Butter adds flavor to the cupcakes too.
You can substitute the butter with oil, in a pinch. You can also use margarine or coconut oil.
Using oil also reduces the cleaning up you have to do, because you can directly measure it into the bowl that you’re using for the chocolate cupcake batter.
I use both white sugar and brown sugar. The brown sugar adds moisture. To avoid adding too much moisture, I add a combination of white and brown sugar.
Sour cream (straight from the fridge), not only helps the mixture cool down to room temperature, it also helps keep the cupcakes moist. The acidity in the sour cream reacts with baking soda, making it more active.
If you don’t have sour cream, you can use unsweetened greek yogurt as well, but avoid 0% fat yogurt. You can also use buttermilk. You can also substitute it with a vegan coconut yogurt (not non-fat).
Large eggs were used in this recipe. Each large egg weighs about 2 oz / 56 g.
I used all purpose flour, but you can use cake flour as well. Do NOT use self raising flour, because self raising flour has salt and raising agents added to it.
If you absolutely have to substitute with self raising flour, then you’d have to do some trial and error to figure out how to optimize the baking powder and soda amounts in the recipe. If you do try it, let me know!
Baking powder and baking soda
These are the two chemical leaveners needed for these chocolate cupcakes. Baking powder come with its own acid, so it can activate on its own.
Baking soda can be active on its own too. However, the presence of an acid will make it even more active. This is why I add sour cream, as mentioned above.
Making the chocolate cupcakes
These are one bowl cupcakes. All the mixing is done in one bowl, so that you have minimum clean up afterwards.
Here’s how to make the process of making one bowl chocolate cupcakes as easy as possible.
- As mentioned above, if you use a scale, you can simply “tare” between each ingredient addition.
- I give you weight measurements, not only for accuracy, but for convenience too.
- Use a 3 tbsp cookie scoop to measure out the batter equally between the cupcake liners.
- If you don’t have a cookie scoop, you can use a jug/container and pour just enough batter to fill each regular-sized cupcake liner about 2/3 of the way up.
- You don’t need a hand mixer or a stand mixer, and will only need a manual whisk. I often double the recipe and still only use a manual whisk.
How I mix the chocolate cupcake batter
You only need a bowl and a whisk to mix this one bowl chocolate cupcake batter.
In a large jug or bowl, place the hot water or hot coffee. Add the cocoa powder and mix it well until you have a smooth paste. Let it sit for a few minutes to cool down.
Add the melted butter or oil, and vanilla, followed by the sour cream, and whisk until you have a smooth mixture. The cold sour cream will also help cool down the batter and bring it to room temperature before adding the eggs.
Add the white and brown sugar and mix it well until the mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps.
Whisk the eggs into the batter. Whisk only until the eggs are mixed in well. Don’t over-mix the batter.
Finally, sift the flour over the batter, followed by the baking soda and baking powder. You could also mix these three ingredients separately in a different bowl before adding it to the base.
Use a whisk to mix these ingredients into the wet batter until smooth. Only mix until the batter is smooth, so as to avoid over-mixing the batter and over-working the gluten.
If you’re doubling this recipe, weigh the flour and baking powder and baking soda separately, and add it in 2 additions to avoid over-working the cake batter.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and divide the cake batter into your muffin pan. Having liners will make clean up much easier. This recipe will make about 14 cupcakes.
Bake for about 15 – 17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, and your cupcakes have a slightly springy top.
Let them cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Frosting the cupcakes
You can use any type of buttercream for these one bowl cupcakes. The ones in the photos in this post are frosted with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream.
Chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream – This is my favorite option. It’s made with egg whites, sugar and chocolate (you can also use chocolate chips instead). Very buttery, soft, and has a lovely chocolate flavor that is not too sweet.
Vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream – Another buttery, soft buttercream option that isn’t too sweet. A nice flavor contrast to the chocolate cupcakes.
Vanilla American buttercream – This vanilla buttercream is sweeter (but less sweet than other American buttercreams). Made with butter and powdered sugar – it’s easier to make compared to Swiss meringue buttercream. This is an easy option.
Chocolate American buttercream – Made with cocoa powder, powdered sugar and butter. Has a deep chocolate flavor, and is a touch sweeter than chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. This is also an easy option.
How much frosting do I need?
That depends entirely on how you plan to frost these easy chocolate cupcakes.
If you want nice, big swirls on top, you will need about 30 g of frosting per cupcake. This is about 3 – 4 tbsp of frosting per cupcake. This comes up to about 2.75 – 3.5 cups of frosting for one batch of this chocolate cupcakes recipe (i.e. 14 cupcakes). When in doubt, make more and freeze the excess for later.
For less frosting per cupcake, then go for about 2 tbsp per cupcake. This comes up to about 1.75 – 2 cups of frosting for one batch of this recipe.
How to store the cupcakes for later
When the cupcakes have cooled to room temperature, store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days (I’ve kept them for up to 3 days as well). This goes for frosted or unfrosted cupcakes.
They will keep in the fridge for about 1 week (in an air-tight container), unfrosted.
Or you can freeze them to keep them for longer. Make sure to avoid freezer burn. To do this, wrap the unfrosted cupcakes individually to minimize exposure to air in the freezer. They will keep for about 3 months this way in the freezer.
Cold and frozen chocolate cupcakes can be thawed out at room temperature, frosted and served again. They will taste just as delicious as fresh cupcakes! 🙂
These cupcakes are easily the best I’ve ever had, because they aren’t too sweet, allowing that deep chocolate flavor to stand out even more.
And they are super soft and moist too. These are hands down the best, ultra moist chocolate cupcakes you’ll ever have! 🙂 Perfect for special occasions like birthdays and weddings too. But because these chocolate cupcakes are made in ONE bowl, they are easy enough and quick to make, to satisfy your every day chocolate cravings too.
Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes (Easy, one bowl recipe)
- ⅓ cup hot water or hot coffee
- 1.5 oz Dutch cocoa powder about 5 - 6 tbsp, do not pack the cocoa into the spoon
- ¼ tsp salt use ½ tsp, if you don’t mind a slight salted flavor in your chocolate cupcakes
- 1 stick unsalted butter ½ cup / 4 oz, melted and cooled. You can also substitute with an equal amount of oil
- ¼ cup sour cream straight from the fridge
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup of AP flour spoon and leveled
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners (12 cavities). You can also line 2 - 3 extra muffin pan cavities with liners, in a second pan (for a total of 14 - 15 cupcakes). Set aside.
- In a large heat-proof bowl, add the hot water and cocoa powder. Whisk the two together until you have a smooth paste. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the cocoa to bloom and for the mixture to cool down a little.
- Add the salt, melted butter, sour cream, and mix to combine.
- Add both sugars, and whisk to break up and mix the sugars into the batter.
- The batter should not be too warm at this stage. If it is, let it sit for a few minutes to cool down a little.
- Add both eggs and vanilla extract, and whisk to combine.
- Add the flour, baking powder and soda. Gently whisk, just until the flour is mixed through the batter with no lumps. (You can also whisk the flour with the baking soda and baking powder in a separate bowl, and add this to the batter.)
- Evenly divide the batter into the cupcake liners (about 3 tbsp, which should be about ⅔ of the way up the cupcake liners). If you have extra cupcake batter, cover it with plastic wrap and keep it in a cool place until the first batch of cupcakes is done and cooling.
- Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for about 16 - 17 minutes, rotating the pan at the 10 minute mark (if needed). The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean, and the tops are slightly springy to the touch.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool slightly for a couple of minutes. Then carefully remove them from the muffin pan, and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, these can be frosted using one of the following recipes.