Moist 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!
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

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
chocolate cupcake recipe

Moist 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!
4.94 from 48 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 18 mins
Serves: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 373kcal

blog Chocolate Cupcakes from Sugar Geek Show on Vimeo.


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 5 ounces (142 g) butter softened
  • 6 ounces (170 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces (113 g) brown sugar sifted
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (227 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces (57 g) 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 (284 g) buttermilk warm
  • 2 ounces (57 g) vegetable oil

For the chocolate frosting

  • 4 ounces (113 g) pasteurized egg whites
  • 16 ounces (454 g) powdered sugar
  • 3 ounces (85 g) cocoa powder sifted
  • 16 ounces (454 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt


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


  • 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 (19%) | Carbohydrates: 45g (15%) | Protein: 4g (8%) | Fat: 22g (34%) | Saturated Fat: 14g (70%) | Cholesterol: 72mg (24%) | Sodium: 196mg (8%) | Potassium: 161mg (5%) | Fiber: 2g (8%) | Sugar: 33g (37%) | Vitamin A: 706IU (14%) | Calcium: 44mg (4%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)
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25 comments on “Moist & Fluffy Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

  1. Hey love thanks for the recipe but do u use low fat buttermilk or whole because I can’t find while buttermilk anywhere!

  2. Can you use instant coffee instead of espresso powder?

  3. 5 stars
    Baking a cake for my niece for her bday but she is allergic to raw egg. whats the replacement for egg white in the chocolate buttercream. Please can u suggest. Thank u ?

    1. There isn’t a replacement for this recipe, you could make chocolate ganache or you could make American buttercream and add in 1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder

  4. 5 stars
    Best Chocolate Cupcakes…EVER. All of the other chocolate cupcake recipes I’ve tried have had such a sticky texture, but not these, which is EXACTLY what I was looking for. So light and fluffy, it was the perfect bakery cupcake. Your vanilla cupcakes were awesome, so I knew these would be too. Thanks so much!!!!!

  5. I LOVE these cupcakes! Best chocolate cupcakes ever!! I often get orders for a dozen, can I easily half this recipe and be safe?


  6. Oh, freezing them would be nice so they are on hand! Do you need to wrap the cupcakes individually in plastic wrap or anything to keep them moist? And how/when do you need to thaw them for use?

    1. I would wrap individually in plastic wrap and then into a freezer bag. No need to defrost in a certain way. Just take them out of the bag and leave at room temperature.

  7. 5 stars
    These cupcakes are so so good. Truly the BEST chocolate cupcakes ever. Thank you Liz.

  8. Hands down the best chocolate cupcakes! thank you for another good recipe.

  9. Can I substitute pasteurized egg whites for raw egg whites? Thanks.

  10. What can be used as an alternative to buttermilk ?

  11. Can I double the recipe to make double the serving? Or a different recipe for doubling / triple ?

  12. If I need to use this recipe to bake a cake how long should I bake it?

    1. I would recommend using my easy chocolate cake or death by chocolate cake recipe instead 🙂

    1. It’s very similar to my easy chocolate cake, so I’d use that recipe instead 🙂 Or check out my death by chocolate cake

  13. 5 stars
    These were incredible! For years I’d used an old one bowl recipe from Martha Stewart, but lately had found it to create sunken cupcakes almost half the time. I ended up shopping around and still wasn’t quite satisfied. I tried yours and will not be looking anywhere else. It’s easy to put together and creates such a fudgy and soft cupcake without the common crisp tops or sunken centers. Thanks Liz!

  14. 5 stars
    Wow! I made these for my husband’s work team. He and I ate a couple of cupcakes before I delivered them to his work . . . you know, to test and make sure everything turned out well. Oh my gosh, we almost decided to keep them all at home! They are so good! I went over the top and filled the cupcakes with fudge and iced them with vanilla buttercream. But the chocolate cake part itself really, ahem, takes the cake. I even had them refrigerated and they were still moist and yummy. I’ll be baking those again soon. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

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