Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

By Shiran

Like the title says, these are the ultimate chocolate cupcakes. They are perfectly moist and insanely chocolaty, topped with a supreme fudge chocolate frosting.

The ultimate chocolate cupcakes - perfectly moist and insanely chocolaty, topped with a supreme fudge chocolate frosting | prettysimplesweet.com

Looking for the perfect recipe can be exhausting because there are just so many out there. I’ve tried countless cupcakes over the years, but this is my top favorite recipe. I know we all have different preferences when it comes to our taste buds, but I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with this.

The cake itself is moist and tender, not too dense nor too light, with just the perfect crumb texture. This is the only cupcake batter I’ve used for years now. Sometimes I replace the ½ cup of milk in the recipe with an additional ½ cup hot water. I love both versions equally, so you can make the two of them and see which one you prefer. This recipe yields 16 cupcakes for me, but it might not be the same for you since each muffin tin brand is a bit different in its size capacity. Just fill the tins ¾ full with batter.

And then there’s the frosting. I’m talking deep, intense, chocolaty, fudge-consistency frosting. One that you’ll steal bites of from the bowl so many times that you’ll end up having nothing to frost your cupcakes with. The intense flavor comes from a combination of dark chocolate and cocoa powder. If you don’t want it too intense, add just a bit of cocoa powder at a time until you reach the desired taste. Then there’s some heavy cream and the other usual goodness such as butter and powdered sugar.

The ultimate chocolate cupcakes - perfectly moist and insanely chocolaty, topped with a supreme fudge chocolate frosting | prettysimplesweet.com

If you happen to have corn syrup, you can substitute some of the powdered sugar with it. This will make for an extra smooth frosting. Both natural unsweetened and Dutch-processed cocoa powder are ok, and either milk, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate can be used.

It’s very important to sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, or else the frosting will be grainy. Also, make sure to beat the butter, sugar, and cocoa for at least 3-4 minutes, until completely smooth. If the frosting is still somewhat grainy, switch to the whisk attachment.

If you’re aiming for death by chocolate cupcakes, then would you like to be my best friend? Please think about it. I suggest adding chocolate ganache (half of the recipe is enough) as a filling, or adding 1/2 cup chocolate chunks or chips to the batter itself. But do prepare to meet death—in a totally good way.

The ultimate chocolate cupcakes - perfectly moist and insanely chocolaty, topped with a supreme fudge chocolate frosting | prettysimplesweet.com

If you liked these cupcakes, then you’ll have to like:

This chocolate cake, which uses the same frosting but with even moister and more chocolatey cake!
These unbelievable Nutella cupcakes.
These chocolate cupcakes with the simplest 2-ingredient chocolate ganache frosting.
These brownies or this red wine chocolate cake. You have no idea.

 

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
Yields: 16 cupcakes
 

Like the title says, these are the ultimate chocolate cupcakes. They are perfectly moist and insanely chocolaty, topped with a supreme fudge chocolate frosting.
Ingredients
Chocolate cupcakes:
  • 1⅓ cups (185 g/6.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (50 g/1.7 oz) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick/113 g) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g/7 oz) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (120 ml) hot water
Chocolate Frosting:
  • ⅔ cup (1 and ⅓ sticks/150 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1⅓ cups (160 g/5.5 oz) powdered sugar, sifted (plus more as necessary)
  • ¼ cup (25 g/1 oz) cocoa powder (Dutch-processed or natural), sifted
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 115 g/4 oz dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. For the cupcakes: In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. On medium speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Then beat in milk, followed by the other half of the dry ingredients, beating slowly until combined. Add hot water and beat just until combined. Do not overmix—the less you mix, the lighter the cake will be. The batter should be liquid.
  5. Divide batter evenly between cups, filling them about ¾ full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Allow cupcakes to sit for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. For the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar in 2 additions and beat until smooth. Add cocoa powder and beat until completely creamy and smooth. Beat in vanilla extract, melted chocolate, and heavy cream, mixing until combined. Add powdered sugar as necessary until frosting is spreadable.
  7. Use frosting immediately to frost cupcakes, or store in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. Before using, bring to room temperature and whisk until smooth.
  8. Cupcakes are best the same day they’re made, but can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw, still covered, on the counter or overnight in the fridge.

 

The ultimate chocolate cupcakes - perfectly moist and insanely chocolaty, topped with a supreme fudge chocolate frosting | prettysimplesweet.com

57 Comments on Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Jess @ whatjessicabakednext
    July 31, 2015 at 4:27 pm (10 months ago)

    These cupcakes look divine, Shiran! Love chocolate cupcakes – super decadent and that frosting sounds so yummy! 😀

    Reply
    • Shiran
      August 1, 2015 at 6:55 am (10 months ago)

      Thank you, Jess! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Thalia @ butter and brioche
    August 1, 2015 at 11:35 pm (10 months ago)

    These cupcakes definitely do look like the ultimate chocolate cupcake.. they look so dark, moist and delicious. Perfect amount of frosting ratio too!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      August 3, 2015 at 1:12 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you so much Thalia! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Maya @ Treats and Eats
    August 2, 2015 at 4:29 pm (10 months ago)

    I kind of want to stuff my face with 10 of these cupcakes 🙂 They look absolutely delicious and that frosting looks so amazingly creamy!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      August 3, 2015 at 1:28 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you Maya! I’d like to do the same with your desserts! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Joan Hayes
    August 3, 2015 at 12:50 pm (10 months ago)

    Shiran, these are the most amazing looking chocolate cupcakes I’ve seen. Seriously, they look perfect. The only thing that’s wrong with them? I can’t eat one of them through my computer screen. ;p

    Reply
    • Shiran
      August 3, 2015 at 1:30 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you so much, Joan! They indeed taste as good as they look 🙂

      Reply
  5. Winnie
    August 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm (10 months ago)

    שירן הקאפקייקס שלך פשוט ניראים מדהיםםםםםםםםםםםםםם
    והתמונות גם כל כך חיות, שממש בא לי להושיט את היד ולחטוף, אחד

    Reply
    • Shiran
      August 5, 2015 at 3:34 am (10 months ago)

      Thanks Winnie!

      Reply
    • Shiran
      August 9, 2015 at 4:21 am (10 months ago)

      Thank you Tasha!

      Reply
  6. Anna
    September 25, 2015 at 9:36 pm (8 months ago)

    How many cupcakes does this make? And they look amazing!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      September 26, 2015 at 4:55 am (8 months ago)

      Hi Anna, this recipe yields 16 cupcakes, and you can find this information under the recipe title.

      Reply
  7. Rachel
    October 9, 2015 at 5:52 am (8 months ago)

    How can I make these dairy free?

    Reply
    • Shiran
      October 11, 2015 at 11:15 am (8 months ago)

      Hi Rachel, since this recipe includes butter both in the cupcakes and the frosting, there’s no substitution that would yield similar results. Try to look for a different recipe that’s dairy-free.

      Reply
      • Rachel
        October 11, 2015 at 11:49 am (8 months ago)

        Thank you, although I will give these a try as well 🙂

        Reply
        • Shiran
          October 11, 2015 at 2:54 pm (8 months ago)

          Sounds great 🙂

          Reply
  8. Liz Anderson
    October 16, 2015 at 3:20 pm (7 months ago)

    I have been looking for a new go-to chocolate cupcake recipe because my current one is just a pain. I tried this recipe last night and they are amazing — like velvet! My husband, who isn’t a huge fan of chocolate, ate 3 for breakfast this morning and proclaimed them the most amazing cupcake he has ever eaten! I love everything about these cupcakes, especially how simple and virtually fool proof they are. I added chocolate chips and that took these cupcakes to the next level. Any recipe that is husband and toddler approved, is a keeper in my book. 🙂

    Reply
    • Shiran
      October 17, 2015 at 9:04 am (7 months ago)

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Liz! It took me a long time until I found the perfect cupcake recipe so I’m really happy you enjoyed it 🙂

      Reply
  9. Marta
    October 31, 2015 at 8:15 pm (7 months ago)

    The cupcakes look amazing. One question, I see that it doesn’t call for baking powder. Is that correct?

    Reply
    • Shiran
      November 1, 2015 at 3:54 am (7 months ago)

      Thank you, Marta 🙂 Yes, the recipe calls for baking soda only.

      Reply
  10. Stella
    November 6, 2015 at 9:43 am (7 months ago)

    These look amazing, one quick question.. Can the APF be substituted with cake flour?
    Thank you
    Stella

    Reply
    • Shiran
      November 7, 2015 at 9:33 am (7 months ago)

      Hi Stella 🙂 I wouldn’t recommend doing it because the cupcakes would be too delicate. I suggest to stick to the recipe in this case.

      Reply
  11. Nola
    November 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm (6 months ago)

    OMG these look amazing going to try them out soon thanks for sharing Shiran.

    Reply
    • Shiran
      November 17, 2015 at 5:27 pm (6 months ago)

      Thank you, Nola 🙂

      Reply
  12. Kristina
    January 7, 2016 at 10:13 pm (5 months ago)

    These blew my mind. Thank you! Yum.

    Reply
    • Shiran
      January 8, 2016 at 7:12 am (5 months ago)

      Great! Thank you so much for your comment 🙂

      Reply
  13. jennifer
    January 15, 2016 at 9:25 pm (4 months ago)

    Making the cupcakes tonight for my daughters 3rd birthday tomorrow. Can I make the frosting tonight and store it overnight so I can frost the cupcakes right before the guests come over. What is the best way to store frosting?

    Reply
    • Shiran
      January 16, 2016 at 3:39 am (4 months ago)

      Hi Jennifer, you can store the frosting in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. Before using, bring it to room temperature and whisk until smooth. If it’s just for the night, you can also leave it on the counter at room temperature (in an airtight container), and use it in the morning to frost the cupcakes. Happy birthday! 🙂

      Reply
  14. Jessica
    January 19, 2016 at 9:09 pm (4 months ago)

    Made these today and they are absolutely Amazing!!!! The best chocolate cake ever and the frosting was great. I used the corn syrup with powdered sugar suggestion and couldn’t be happier! I’m trying out desserts for my daughter’s upcoming birthday party. Any recipes for white or another flavor?!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      January 21, 2016 at 5:09 am (4 months ago)

      Hi Jessica! I’m so glad you like the cupcakes 🙂 There are so many good recipes so it’s hard to choose one! Are you looking for cupcake or cake recipes? You can find all the recipes in the recipe index, but if you want me to recommend something specifically, let me know 🙂 All the cupcakes are amazing (vanilla, peanut butter, lemon) if that’s what you’re looking for. Happy birthday to your daughter!

      Reply
  15. Heather
    January 21, 2016 at 10:03 pm (4 months ago)

    What kind of dark chocolate should be used in the frosting? Would melted chocolate chips work? Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      January 22, 2016 at 5:50 pm (4 months ago)

      Hi Heather 🙂 I usually use chocolate bars and not chocolate chips because the two can be a little different depending on the brand (in short – the reason for this is that chocolate chips need to keep their shape when heated, which is good for chocolate chip cookies for example). Usually the best thing to do is to taste the chocolate – if you like it, you can use it in the recipe. It’s just a matter of taste.

      Reply
  16. Susanna
    February 8, 2016 at 1:29 pm (4 months ago)

    I just recently made these and they came out really good. I didn’t have actual chocolate for the frosting, so I made a chocolate paste with cocoa powder and vegetable oil instead and it still came out good.

    Reply
    • Shiran
      February 8, 2016 at 4:38 pm (4 months ago)

      Thank you so much for your comment, Susanna! 🙂

      Reply
  17. Erin
    February 8, 2016 at 8:35 pm (4 months ago)

    I made these for my husband’s birthday this weekend and they were a huge hit! I did make two changes that you might want to try sometime – first, I replaced both the milk and hot water in the cupcake batter with 1 cup of hot brewed coffee (I love coffee in chocolate cake batter). Then, out of necessity because I inexplicably didn’t have any dark chocolate, I used 2 oz. of melted unsweetened baking chocolate in the frosting. The result was delicious, but I’m sure it would have been just as good if I’d been able to follow the recipe as written! Also, as others have said, your recipe makes the perfect amount of frosting for the cupcakes. Thanks for a great dessert!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      February 10, 2016 at 10:20 am (4 months ago)

      I’ve tried these cupcakes using water, milk, and coffee. All options are great but you’re right, coffee does bring out the chocolate flavor and I add it to chocolate desserts often. Thank you for your comment Erin, and I wish your husband a happy birthday! 🙂

      Reply
  18. Pam
    February 23, 2016 at 11:33 am (3 months ago)

    I made the cupcakes last night. I added a teaspoon of cinnamon. I’m looking for a decadent cupcake for a 3rd birthday party. I think we found a winner!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      February 24, 2016 at 8:57 am (3 months ago)

      Thank you Pam! I hope you like it! 🙂

      Reply
  19. Liz
    February 23, 2016 at 10:19 pm (3 months ago)

    These look great! You said you sometimes swap between using only water or milk. What are the differences to the taste and texture between the two? Just curious and wanting to give it a try!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      February 24, 2016 at 8:56 am (3 months ago)

      Thank you, Liz! It’s a matter of personal preference so I suggest to try and see because both versions are delicious. Milk adds flavor and the extra fat makes the cake more moist, but with the water it would be lighter. Also, in some chocolate cake recipes hot water is mixed with cocoa powder usually because it enhances the chocolate flavor (and you can try it in this recipe, too).

      Reply
  20. naseerah
    March 3, 2016 at 4:21 pm (3 months ago)

    Hi Shiran!

    Quick question; this recipe calls for natural cocoa but your cupcakes are so dark! How are they so dark?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      March 6, 2016 at 3:35 pm (3 months ago)

      Hi Naseerah! These cupcakes turn out quite dark even when using natural cocoa powder. If you want them to be very dark, you can substitute the natural cocoa with dutch-process, and the baking soda with 2 teaspoons of baking powder.

      Reply
  21. Danielle
    March 7, 2016 at 11:10 pm (3 months ago)

    Just made these. I followed the recipe to a T. My batter was not as liquid as boxed cake mix is. It was more creamy. The cupcakes turned out kind of dry.

    Reply
    • Shiran
      March 8, 2016 at 1:51 am (3 months ago)

      Hi Danielle! Cakes made from scratch are usually different than a cake mix, especially in texture. The cupcakes shouldn’t be dry at all. There are 2 reasons why they might have turned dry – either over-baking them, or over-mixing the batter (mix as little as possible once the flour is added).

      Reply
  22. Sierra
    March 30, 2016 at 12:46 am (2 months ago)

    I made these for a customer’s birthday today and they were a huge hit….Thank you so much for the recipe

    Reply
    • Shiran
      March 30, 2016 at 4:55 am (2 months ago)

      Thanks you so much for your comment, Sierra! 🙂

      Reply
  23. Stacey J
    March 31, 2016 at 2:07 pm (2 months ago)

    5 STARS!
    These cupcakes are absolutely delicious! I added 1 tsp Perro to the hot water. And because I didn’t have enough butter for the icing, and I didn’t want to go to the store, I improvised with whatever coconut oil and shortening I had. Oh! and I put a few drops of almond extract in with the vanilla. They were great and loved by all! Thank you for this recipe. It is a keeper =)

    Reply
    • Shiran
      April 2, 2016 at 12:22 pm (2 months ago)

      Sounds delicious! Thank you so much for your comment, Stacey! 🙂

      Reply
  24. Sharon
    April 1, 2016 at 2:03 am (2 months ago)

    Made these a couple of weeks ago and everyone loved them! I want to make them again but I’m having a hard time finding heavy cream. What can I use as a substitude?

    Reply
    • Shiran
      April 2, 2016 at 12:20 pm (2 months ago)

      Hi Sharon 🙂 You can use milk instead (maybe a bit less because its consistency is thinner than heavy cream). You can also just omit it if you want.

      Reply
      • Sharon
        April 3, 2016 at 11:40 pm (2 months ago)

        Thank you! I’ll try with milk 🙂

        Reply
  25. Madison
    April 8, 2016 at 9:41 pm (2 months ago)

    Is there any way to substitute the dark chocolate. Or is dark chocolate the route to go?

    Reply
    • Shiran
      April 9, 2016 at 9:17 am (2 months ago)

      Hi Madison, it’s possible to make the frosting using only cocoa powder without dark chocolate, but in that case, you won’t only need to increase the amount of cocoa powder, but probably also the powdered sugar and heavy cream. Using dark chocolate (bittersweet or semisweet) yield the best result.

      Reply
  26. veronica
    May 8, 2016 at 10:49 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Hi Shiran,

    Id love to make these cakes but I am in Australia and we have pain flour self raising cornflour etc. Can you tell me how to make “all purpose four? I notice many recipes have this.

    Veronica

    Reply
    • Shiran
      May 9, 2016 at 9:08 am (3 weeks ago)

      Hi Veronica! Whenever you see all-purpose flour, just use plain white flour (and not self-rising flour that contains baking powder).

      Reply

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