These chocolate cupcakes are soft, velvety, moist, and decadent! They’re so easy to make, they’re practically foolproof and you don’t even need a mixer!
Nothing beats a classic chocolate cupcake, especially when there’s a luscious swirl of frosting on top! Who could possibly resist??!!??
This is a recipe that WORKS! You can whip these chocolate cupcakes up in no time, too! All you need is a whisk - NO MIXER!
And, in case you were wondering…
NO..., that’s NOT too much frosting! There is never too much frosting, right?!?!
These Classic Chocolate Cupcakes are …
- rich in chocolate flavor! (keep reading to find out my secret tip!)
- INSANELY moist! Forget dry, dense, and crumbly cupcakes!
- great for newbie bakers! This is a clear, easy-to-follow recipe and no mixer required, not even for the frosting!
- yummy on their own, but absolutely AMAZING with dark chocolate frosting that has a wonderful consistency for piping gorgeous swirls - perfect for parties or special occasions!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE CLASSIC CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES:
Just a few basic pantry ingredients are all you need!
- Flour: I use all-purpose flour.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: I use dutch-processed, but natural cocoa powder works fine, too.
- Coffee: I use a cup of strong brewed coffee.
- Bittersweet chocolate: I use dark couverture chocolate with 54% cocoa because it’s not overly sweet and it’s perfect for baking.
- Sugar: I use regular white sugar.
- Leaveners: I use baking powder and baking soda to help the cupcakes rise.
- Salt: I use a tiny amount to bring out all the flavors.
- Oil: I use a light vegetable oil.
- Egg: You only need one egg for this recipe.
- Buttermilk: I make my own buttermilk (included in the recipe card below) because I like the tang it gives.
MY SECRET TIP FOR THE BEST CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
I love using a technique called “blooming” because it really intensifies the flavor of the chocolate. Blooming basically refers to mixing unsweetened cocoa powder with a hot liquid and allowing it to sit for a few minutes. This enhances the chocolate and heightens its flavor, but don’t worry, you don’t taste the coffee in the cupcakes at all! I use this technique for my Sugar Free Whole Wheat Cupcakes and my Easy Vegan Fudge Brownies. I have made these cupcakes without blooming the cocoa, but I found that they weren't as chocolatey.
HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES:
After that, I like to pour the batter into a small pitcher and then pour it into the cupcake liners.
Then you just bake, cool, and frost!
DARK CHOCOLATE FROSTING
For this recipe, I’ve included an INCREDIBLE dark chocolate frosting! It’s low-sugar, but extremely rich in chocolate!
This frosting is not the classic buttercream frosting where you beat the butter with a lot of powdered sugar, and it’s not a classic ganache, either, since ganache is just chocolate and cream.
This dark chocolate frosting is somewhere between ganache, chocolate buttercream, and fudge!
I use dark couverture chocolate with 54% cocoa. The result is amazing! It’s not as sweet as the traditional buttercream frosting, and I think it’s perfect for these chocolate cupcakes. AND YOU DON’T NEED A MIXER TO MAKE IT!
If you decide to make this frosting, just keep in mind that it needs to firm up in the fridge for about 30-50 minutes, so make it first before making the cupcakes.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- Make sure you measure the flour properly for consistent results. Too much flour can make the cupcakes dry.
- I also suggest using the best quality cocoa powder you can get. If you’re not sure what kind of cocoa powder to use (dutch-processed or natural), check out this post for a more detailed explanation. Both dutch-process and natural cocoa powder work for this recipe.
- For light and fluffy cupcakes, don’t overmix the batter, as this will make them dense.
- For moist cupcakes, I use vegetable oil instead of butter. I think that together with the buttermilk, they really help the cupcakes stay moist longer.
- The batter for these cupcakes is different compared to my Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in that it’s thin and more liquidy. To make it easier to fill the cupcake liners, I like to pour the batter into a small pitcher and then pour it into the liners. That way I don’t drip the batter all over the place while I’m filling the liners.
- Fill the liners ½ to ¾ of the way full, otherwise the cupcakes will overflow. They'll still taste great, but they won't be that pretty.
- This recipe makes 14 cupcakes. Instead of lining another cupcake pan with just 2 liners, I use silicone cupcake liners and put them in the oven next to my cupcake pan. To make the silicone liners sturdier since they’re not placed in a pan, I use 2 liners for each cupcake. That way I avoid using another cupcake pan.
- The dark chocolate frosting can take up to an hour to thicken in the fridge. It will depend on the chocolate and the cream you use and how much fat they have. Check on it every 15 minutes or so until it’s thick enough to spread or pipe. If you leave it in the fridge for too long, though, it will be too thick to pipe.
- The frosting is enough for 14 cupcakes, but if you want to pipe large swirls on each cupcake, you’ll probably need to double the frosting recipe.
- The frosting on the cupcakes will firm up once refrigerated. To soften the frosting up, just let the cupcakes come to room temperature.
FREEZING & STORING OPTIONS
Frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.
These cupcakes freeze really well. If you want to freeze them, just wrap each one individually without any frosting and then put them in a freezer bag in a single flat row before popping them in the freezer. They can be frozen for up to 2 months. To thaw, just put them in the fridge overnight. You could also thaw them at room temperature, which takes a couple of hours.
Other Cupcake Topping Ideas
Like I said, these cupcakes are delicious plain, but a cupcake wouldn’t really be a cupcake without a delicious topping!
Sometimes, though, I like to switch things up a bit and try something other than dark chocolate frosting! Here are a few ideas you may want to try:
Vanilla buttercream - The all-time classic which is amazing with these chocolate cupcakes! I use vanilla buttercream for my classic vanilla cupcakes. Check out this post for the recipe. You could also adapt it and make chocolate buttercream frosting, too. Just follow the recipe and add ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
Powdered sugar - Dusting them with powdered sugar is great for those who aren’t crazy about frosting. You could use stencils to create designs, too, which would look great on chocolate cupcakes
Marshmallows - You could add a big marshmallow on top of the cupcakes while they’re in the oven one or two minutes before they’re done. The marshmallows will melt and create a luscious topping.
Peanut butter - Melt some peanut butter in the microwave and spoon it over cupcakes. Delish!
Chocolate sauce - You could drizzle some chocoalte suace on top and then add some chopped nuts.
Whipped cream - A dollop of whipped cream is all you need! You could dust some cocoa powder on top, too!
Nutella - Nutella is SO good with these cupcakes!
Dulce de leche - Spread some dulce de leche on top of the cupcake. Divine!
I hope you enjoy these classic chocolate cupcakes!
MORE CUPCAKE RECIPES!
Let me know how these classic chocolate cupcakes turn out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!
Classic Chocolate Cupcakes (No Mixer)
For the cupcakes
- ½ cup (50 g / 2 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup (250 ml / 8.5 fl oz) strong brewed coffee
- 1 cup + 6 tablespoons (175 g / 6 oz) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (200 g / 7 oz) sugar
- ½ cup (125 ml / 4 fl oz) buttermilk at room temperature (or see the NOTES below on how to make your own)
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 7 tablespoons (100 ml / 3.4 fl oz) light vegetable oil
For the dark chocolate frosting
- ¼ cup (28 g / 1 oz) powdered sugar
- ¼ cup (28 g / 1 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3.5 oz (100 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I use dark couverture chocolate with 54% cocoa)
- ½ stick (57 g / 2 oz) unsalted butter
- a pinch of salt
- 7 tablespoons (100 ml / 3.4 fl oz) heavy cream
Make the cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Line a 12-cup pan with cupcake liners and prepare 2 more liners (this recipe makes 14 cupcakes). Set aside.
- Whisk together the hot coffee and cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside.
- In another bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add the sugar and whisk until combined. Set aside.
- In another bowl, add the buttermilk, oil, and egg and whisk everything together until well combined.
- Add the coffee mixture to the oil mixture and whisk until it's just combined.
- Add the flour mixture and whisk until combined, but don't overmix.
- Pour the batter into the cupcake liners about ½ to ¾ of the way full (I like using a pitcher to fill the liners to avoid making a mess).
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool completely before frosting.
Make the dark chocolate frosting
- Sift the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder into a saucepan.
- Add all the remaining ingredients and stir continuously over low heat until everything melts.
- Pour into a bowl and let it cool for about 10 minutes at room temperature.
- Put it in the refrigerator for about 30-50 minutes, until it thickens and becomes spreadable. Check on it every 15 minutes or so.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes.