Moist & Fluffy Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Moist and fluffy chocolate cupcake recipes frosted with easy chocolate buttercream

This chocolate cupcake recipe is super moist and fluffy with tons of rich chocolate flavor thanks to buttermilk, brown sugar and a touch of oil. These chocolate cupcakes bake up with a nice little dome that’s perfect for a nice swirl of chocolate buttercream frosting!

chocolate cupcake recipe

How do you make a chocolate cupcake recipe moist?

No one likes a dry chocolate cupcake. These are some key things to keeping your chocolate cupcakes moist

Oil – Cocoa powder is very drying so to make your chocolate cupcakes moist, you will need oil. Some recipes use butter (like mine) for added flavor and texture but oil really helps keep your chocolate cupcakes moist. 

Warm Buttermilk – Not only does the warm buttermilk help bloom the cocoa powder, it also makes the cupcakes super tender and moist. 

Brown Sugar – Did you know that white sugar is just brown sugar with the moisture removed? That moisture is called molasses. If you want to add moisture to a recipe, replace half the white sugar with brown sugar. The brown sugar also adds a depth of flavor that is delicious. Make sure you sift the brown sugar to remove any hard lumps. 

chocolate cupcake recipe with chocolate buttercream frosting

How to make a chocolate cupcake recipe fluffy?

If you want to make sure your cupcakes are very fluffy, you want to cream the butter and sugar together really well. I have had a lot of really delicious cupcake recipes that come together in one bowl with no creaming required but the texture is more fudgy than fluffy. 

creaming butter and sugar together is important for fluffy cupcakes

How do you make a chocolate cupcake recipe with a dome? 

Have you ever had this happen to you? I know I have way too many times. The dreaded overflowing cupcakes. 


chocolate cupcakes that have overflowed and collapsed during baking

I used to think it was a problem with the recipe that I was using but the secret to a perfectly domed cupcake is actually how full you fill the cupcake liner. 

I used to think that the fuller the cupcake liner, the taller the cupcake would be. Nope! 

You only need to fill the cupcake liner 1/2 full. If you over-fill then your batter will rise up and then collapse over the edge. 

cupcake pan with white liners filled halfway with chocolate cupcake batter

You can use a medium cookie scoop to get your batter in your liners or you can even put your pan on a scale and pipe your batter into the liners for the ultimate accuracy!

chocolate cupcakes in white liners

All that’s left to do is frost your cupcakes with your favorite chocolate buttercream, ganache or vanilla frosting

Check out my vanilla buttermilk cupcake recipe


Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

chocolate cupcake recipe
The best moist chocolate cupcake recipe with tons of rich chocolate flavor thanks to buttermilk, brown sugar and a touch of oil. These chocolate cupcakes bake up with a nice little dome that's perfect for a nice swirl of chocolate buttercream frosting!

blog Chocolate Cupcakes from Sugar Geek Show on Vimeo.

Servings: 24 cupcakes


  • Mixer with whisk and paddle attachment (stand or handheld)


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 5 ounces butter softened
  • 6 ounces granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces brown sugar sifted
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces cocoa powder dutched or natural
  • 1 Tablespoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces buttermilk warm
  • 2 ounces vegetable oil

For the chocolate frosting

  • 4 ounces pasteurized egg whites
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar
  • 3 ounces cocoa powder sifted
  • 16 ounces unsalted butter softened
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat your oven to 350ºF and prepare your muffin tin with paper liners

For the chocolate cupcakes

  • Warm buttermilk in the microwave (roughly 100ºF) and combine with oil and vanilla. Set aside
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sifted cocoa powder and espresso powder. Set aside.
  • Cream together the butter, white sugar, sifted brown sugar and salt with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one. *see notes*
  • Add in the eggs one at a time while mixing on low. Letting the first one mix in before adding the second.
  • Scrape the bowl to be sure that everything is mixed well.
  • While mixing on low, add in 1/3 of your flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of your buttermilk mixture. Alternate two more times until just combined.
  • Fill your cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full and bake for 18-20 minutes until set. Do not overbake.
  • Let cool completely before frosting

For the chocolate buttercream

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip together egg whites, powdered sugar, and sifted cocoa powder until combined. Then turn up to high
  • Add in softened butter in small chunks and continue whipping until light and fluffy. Add in your vanilla and salt. Give it a taste, if it still tastes like butter, keep whipping.
  • Frost cupcakes as desired. I used a 2F piping tip for mine


If you don't have a paddle attachment, continue mixing by hand with a spatula to avoid overmixing. 
If you don't have buttermilk you can substitute with regular milk plus two tablespoons of white vinegar


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 373kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 161mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 706IU | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, cupcake
Calories: 373kcal
Author: Elizabeth Marek