Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Sweet enough for kids yet also intensely chocolate enough for grown-ups, these are my go-to chocolate cupcakes.

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting

When my kids were babies, I started a home-based baking business specializing in special occasion cakes and cupcakes, mostly for children’s birthday parties. Before I opened, I spent weeks testing every vanilla and chocolate cake recipe under the sun, often baking into the wee hours of the night while my family was sleeping. My husband would wake up in the morning to find the countertops (and, oftentimes, the trash can) littered with cakes and cupcakes. He thought I’d lost my mind — little did he know I was just discovering my passion for finding and creating great recipes that work, which was the impetus for this blog!

Most of the cake recipes I tried were either dry, so-so or just inconsistent but, eventually, I created a few recipes that I loved and could rely on. This is the chocolate one (for the vanilla recipe, click here). The cake portion of the recipe is modestly adapted from Magnolia Bakery in NYC and the frosting comes from Cook’s Illustrated. Together, they make an old-fashioned chocolate cupcake that is sweet enough for kids yet also intensely chocolate enough for grown-ups.

What you’ll need to make Chocolate Cupcakes


How To Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Begin by making the cupcakes. Melt the unsweetened chocolate in the microwave in 20-second blasts, stirring in between, to prevent the chocolate from scorching.


When it’s about 3/4 of the way melted, take it out and stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the remaining chocolate. Set aside to cool.


Next, whisk together the flour, baking soda, instant coffee and salt. (The coffee is optional; it enhances the chocolate flavor.)


Cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy.


Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.


Mix in the vanilla and lukewarm melted chocolate.


Then mix in the dry ingredients in three separate additions, alternating with the buttermilk.


Spoon the batter into muffin tins.


And bake for 20-25 minutes.


While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting.

Ingredients For The Chocolate FrostingIngredients for the Frosting

How To Make The Chocolate Frosting

Begin by melting the milk chocolate in the microwave.


Next, combine the butter, Confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor.


Blitz for about 30 seconds until well combined, then add the corn syrup and the vanilla.


Process until smooth, then add the lukewarm melted milk chocolate.


Process quickly, until the frosting is creamy, silky and shiny.


When the cupcakes are completely cool, spread the frosting over top.

Chocolate-Cupcakes-with-Rich-Chocolate-FrostingYou may also like



Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Sweet enough for kids yet also intensely chocolate enough for grown-ups, these are my go-to chocolate cupcakes.

Servings: 24 cupcakes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour


For the Cupcakes

  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules (optional, to enhance chocolate flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the Frosting

  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, broken into small pieces (substitute semi-sweet chocolate for darker, more intense chocolate flavor)
  • 2-1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 cup Confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey's
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the Cupcakes

  1. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and cook in the microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until about 3/4 of the way melted. Stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the remaining chocolate completely. (If necessary, place the chocolate back in microwave for a few seconds.) Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners and lightly grease the top of the muffin tins with butter (this prevents the cupcake tops from sticking to the pan).
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, instant coffee (if using), baking soda and salt until well combined.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lukewarm chocolate.
  5. Add the dry ingredients in three separate additions, alternating with the buttermilk.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups until about 3/4 full (I think it's easiest to use an ice cream scooper with a wire scraper). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops look dry and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean (note that one pan may finish cooking before the other). Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting

  1. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and cook in the microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until about 3/4 of the way melted. Stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the remaining chocolate completely. (If necessary, place the chocolate back in microwave for a few seconds.) Set aside to cool.
  2. In a food processor, process the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the lukewarm chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 seconds. Do not overmix.
  3. Note: The cupcakes are best served on the day they are made. However, they can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for a day or two; just be sure to bring them to room temperature before serving. The frosting can be used immediately or held at room temperature for about 3 hours. For longer storage, cover and refrigerate, but be sure to bring it to room temperature before using.
  4. Note: The frosting is pretty foolproof, but if it "breaks" for any reason, try adding a teaspoon or two of warm water and mixing again.

Nutrition Information

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  • Serving size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 415
  • Fat: 25 g
  • Saturated fat: 16 g
  • Carbohydrates: 45 g
  • Sugar: 33 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 165 g
  • Cholesterol: 80 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • is it ok to make this using cake flour?

    • — Pete on November 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Pete, I’d recommend sticking to all-purpose flour for the best results. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on November 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi,

    We are going to make the chocolate cake recipe from your cookbook. Can we use dutch processed cocoa powder instead of natural?


    • — Bry on October 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Bry, I’d recommend sticking with natural cocoa powder for the cake. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on October 5, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Love this recipe. I now have made 28 cupcakes from this, and have lots of frosting leftover. Please let me know the best way to store this extra frosting. Also, what’s the best way to handle leftover cupcakes – fridge? freezer?

    Thank you!

    • — Tara M on September 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Tara, Glad you liked the cupcakes! I’ve never frozen frosting so I can’t say from experience, but just googled it and it looks like you can. See some tips here. If you have leftover cupcakes that you plan to eat relatively soon, I’d store them in the fridge. Just let them come to room temperature before you eat them.

      • — Jenn on September 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • Do you think a white frosting would go good with these chocolate cupcakes instead of chocolate frosting? Would the frosting from the recipe from the Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting work with these?
    Or would the frosting from the recipe Vanilla Birthday Cake with Old-Fashioned Vanilla Buttercream work?
    What is your advice? Thank you!

    • — Heather on June 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Heather, Sure, vanilla frosting would be just fine with these cupcakes. Either would work, but if I had to choose, I’d go with the frosting from the vanilla birthday cake (it’s less cream cheesy which I think would go better with chocolate). Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 19, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    I just sat down with your cookbook and read through the recipe for chocolate lover’s birthday cake, this will be perfect for my son’s birthday. Thank you so much

    • — Carol on June 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hope you enjoy it, Carol! I make it for my son, too. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Would this Chocolate Frosting recipe cover two 9-inch cakes?

    • — Carol Browne on June 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, Yes, it’s enough for one 9-inch layer cake.

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen!
    I am planning on making your chocolate cake recipe from your cookbook for a birthday soon. In this chocolate cupcake recipe (which I have tried and do love!) you add a tablespoon of instant coffee to enhance the chocolate flavour. Since your cake recipe only has the coco powder and not melted chocolate in the batter could I add a tablespoon of instant coffee to enhance the chocolate flavour? Would it mess up the recipe?

    • — Bry on May 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure Bry, I think that would. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 12, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hello!

    Would this recipe work as a 9 x 13 sheet cake?

    Thank you!

    • — Solmaz on May 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, that will work. Bake time may be a tiny bit longer; just keep a close eye on it. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 6, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn can I use bittersweet chocolate instead of unsweetened in cupcakes? Thanks

    • — Kiran on February 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Kiran, for the best results, I’d use unsweetened chocolate, but if that’s not possible, reduce the white sugar by 2-3 tablespoons. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 15, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Can I ask what does the corn syrup do for the frosting? I have made the chocolate cupcakes but used your cream cheese frosting with it and it turned out incredibley delicious, moist and rich in chocolate flavour – everyone loved them! I would like to try the chocolate icing for the next batch but we don’t use corn syrup (allergies) and I am wondering if there is somethinge else I can use as replacement or can I leave it out completely? Thanks so much!

    • — Trish on January 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Trish, Unfortunately, you really need to corn syrup as it stabilizes the frosting. I would just use a basic chocolate buttercream, like this one. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 24, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can this recipe be successfully cut in half?

    • — Cindy on November 5, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 6, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I would like to make the cupcakes and frosting the day before and put it all together the next day (to make your owl cupcakes) for a party.
    Will the frosting still be easy to work with after being in the refrigerator? Or are there additional steps I need to take after taking it out of the refrigerator?

    • — GiGi on October 26, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi GiGi, that will work. Just make sure you bring the frosting to room temperature; otherwise, it will be difficult to spread. Hope the party is fun!

      • — Jenn on October 28, 2019
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jenn! Will it be ok to have the cupcakes be a room temperature during the day or do I need to refrigerate them? I plan to put it together in the morning and the party is in the evening.

        • — GiGi on October 28, 2019
        • Reply
        • Hi GiGi, I’d stick them in the fridge and just remove them about an hour before your party so you can bring everything to room temperature and then frost them.

          • — Jenn on October 28, 2019
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn — I just made the chocolate lovers cake from your book. DELISH!!

    Should I store this in the fridge? I would like to prolong it’s life…

    Thank you!

    • — Eve on September 18, 2019
    • Reply
    • So glad you liked it, Eve! It will keep well for several days at room temperature but you can keep it in the fridge for longer storage; just be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.

      • — Jenn on September 19, 2019
      • Reply
      • Thanks! I had the same question. I want to make this tonight (Thursday) as a birthday cake for Saturday. Would it be better to frost it tonight or Saturday?

        Also, I have made this cake once before and fell in love. Personally, I prefer the buttercream frosting, but the actual cake part is the best I have ever made.

        • — Carly F on September 19, 2019
        • Reply
        • Hi Carly, It’s fine to frost it today. Just store the finished cake under a cake dome. Hope everyone enjoys!

          • — Jenn on September 19, 2019
          • Reply
  • Hi Jen, can i use this recipe for a layer cake? Thanks

    • — Hanna on July 30, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Hanna, Yes, you can use this recipe for a layer cake but I have one from my cookbook that I think is perfect for a layer cake. If you have the cookbook, it’s on page 275. If you don’t have a cookbook, email me at [email protected] and I’d be happy to send it.

      • — Jenn on July 30, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi I’m making these cupcakes for the 4th of July and I just wanted to know if I HAVE to use an electric mixer for the cupcake batter? Also I bought semi-sweet chocolate so would I have to change the amount of sugar added?

    • — Morgan on June 30, 2019
    • Reply
    • Morgan, do you have a hand mixer? If so, you could use that. If not, I think that you could get away with doing it by hand — I’ve never done it this way as I think creaming the butter and sugar will be challenging by hand. I think it can be done it will just take some time and elbow grease! And regarding the chocolate, I would try to find the right chocolate for the best results, but if that’s not possible reduce the white sugar by 2-3 tablespoons.

      • — Jenn on July 2, 2019
      • Reply
  • Do you have a video?

    • — Amy Cornelius on June 4, 2019
    • Reply
    • Not for this recipe – sorry!

      • — Jenn on June 4, 2019
      • Reply
  • I haven’t made these yet. I was thinking of doing a chocolate raspberry cupcake. Do you think a jam swirl would affect the texture/baking too much? Would it be better to wait until after they’re baked and do a filling instead? Thanks.

    • — Mistie on May 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Mistie, I haven’t tried these with a jam swirl in them. While it sounds delicious, I worry that it may throw off the ratio of wet to dry ingredients. For the most predictable results, I’d suggest adding a filling after baking them. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 13, 2019
      • Reply
      • Okay, thanks for the advice!

        • — Mistie on May 19, 2019
        • Reply
  • Can melted chocolate chips be used for the chocolate in the frosting, and/or can melted Hershey milk chocolate bars be used?

    • — Lauri on April 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Lauri, I wouldn’t recommend chocolate chips for the frosting as they don’t melt as well (they have stabilizers in them to help them hold their shape) and regarding the Hershey Bars, I think they’d be too sweet – I’d suggest sticking with the unsweetened chocolate. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 14, 2019
      • Reply
      • Hi, I don’t see a list of the measured ingredients for the cupcakes. I see the ingredients in the photo but somehow my iPhone 8 is not showing the amount of each ingredient. Maybe I’m missing it! The reviews are coming on right after the photo of the completed cupcakes. If you can respond, that would be great!

        • — Terry on June 20, 2019
        • Reply
        • Hi Terry, It sounds like your iPhone is defaulting to the setting where the comments show up right under the pictures instead of the recipe displaying. At the very top of the page, to the right of the recipe name, you’ll see an icon that looks like a notepad – if you click on that, it will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that clarifies!

          • — Jenn on June 21, 2019
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    This is the best chocolate cupcake and frosting recipe ever. Big hit with my family. In fact, all your recipes so far have been a hit. Whenever I’m looking for something new or a change in recipe, you’re my “go to”! Can this recipe also be used for a chocolate layer cake? Thank you for sharing all these great recipes and ideas. Your explanations are so helpful.

    • — Margie on March 10, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Margie, so glad you enjoyed the cupcakes! You could use this recipe for a layer cake but I have one from my cookbook that I think is perfect for a layer cake. If you’d like the recipe, email me at [email protected] and I’d be happy to send it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 10, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Wondering how long to cook for mini cupcakes and also, can I make the batter ahead of time?

    • — Danielle Angelson on February 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Danielle, I’d start checking the minis at about 12 minutes. And, I wouldn’t recommend making the batter ahead of time; it will impact how they rise when you go to bake them. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 14, 2019
      • Reply
  • Your blog is wonderful. These chocolate cupcakes were so good! I had frosting left over but next time I think I’ll just pile it all on. The frosting was phenomenal. Followed your excellent directions and had no problems. This was only my 2nd recipe made from your site. The first was Jasmine Rice for which the technique was spot on. Thank you for being such a great resource. There are many food bloggers out there and you stand apart. I’ll definitely be back to try more of your tested recipes.

    • ☺️ So glad they turned out well, Jeanne!

  • Hi Jenn, I have baked the cupcakes and plan to turn them into owls with Oreos tomorrow for Halloween. I am wondering though if there is a lighter version of the frosting that would work than the one listed here. I’d go without frosting entirely but those Oreos need to stick somehow. Also, can I use maple syrup instead of corn syrup? Many thanks! Your blog is amazing.

    • Hi Olga, So sorry about the delayed response!! If you choose to do these again, I would just suggest buying some store-bought frosting and just using a dab to stick each Oreo to the cupcakes.

  • Hi Jenn, what’s the difference of adding buttermilk and adding regular milk?

    • Hi Serena, Buttermilk helps to keep baked goods moist and also helps with the “rise” when used in conjunction with baking soda. Hope that clarifies!

  • Hi Jenn! Absolutely adore your website 🙂 Thanks for all that you do!

    I want to make these into mini-cupcakes for my husband’s birthday this weekend. Any modifications needed other than the cooking time? Also – do you use unsweetened cocoa powder in the icing?

    Thank you!

    • So glad you like the site, Katherine! No changes necessary for mini cupcakes (other than cook time) and yes on the unsweetened cocoa powder. 🙂

  • could you use Cake Flour for this recipe

    • Hi Luchetti, for best results, I’d suggest sticking to the all-purpose flour.

  • Ok, I just bought your cookbook a couple hours ago because I am craving chocolate cake and your recipes are the best! However, I noticed that the frosting requires a food processor, which I do not have and do not want to purchase. Is there another way to make this frosting, such as with a blender or hand mixer? I have an excellent Blendtec blender and my roommate has a Ninja with the cup attachment that might be easier for scooping icing out of…

    • Unfortunately, you need a food processor for this – it keeps the frosting from separating and getting greasy. (This type of frosting is quite finicky.) Instead, you could try a basic chocolate buttercream. It won’t be as deeply chocolate but it will still be delicious. Here’s a recipe to consider.

  • Hi Jenn,
    My niece wants marble cupcakes for her wedding. I’m considering being the baker. Could I use your vanilla cupcake and chocolate cupcake recipes to make marble cupcakes?
    I use your recipes all the time. Makes me seem like a super star cook/ baker. Thanks!!

    • I think that’d work, Christine…but I’d definitely do a test batch first!

  • Hi Jenn,
    I have been enjoying the recipes on your blog for many years. Thank you for all of your hard work.
    I just made the chocolate lovers birthday cake from your cookbook. It came out delicious! I was already familiar with the yummy frosting because I have made your chocolate cupcakes on the website in the past. I noticed that there is a slight difference between the 2 frosting recipes. The chocolate frosting in the cake recipe calls for more confectioners’ sugar and less cocoa powder than the frosting recipe for your chocolate cupcakes on the website. Is there a particular reason for this change.
    Thanks so much.

    • Hi Grace, Yes, the cake has much a darker chocolate flavor than the cupcakes, so I made the frosting a tiny bit sweeter to balance it all out. So glad you enjoyed! 🙂

  • Hi Jenn, Do you have chocolate HOT FUDGE recipe? I want to make white chocolate fudge for the top of the cake. Thanks

    • Hi Fanny, I don’t have a proven hot fudge recipe to share – sorry! This one looks good and simple though if you want to give it a try. (Please keep in mind that I haven’t tried it myself.)

  • I Jenn
    Thanks for your answers.
    I have another question. Can I used blender instead of food processor to make frosting.I don’t have food processor.
    Thanks again.

    • Hi Fanny, You really need a food processor for this; it keeps the frosting from separating and getting greasy. (This type of chocolate frosting is quite finicky.) Instead, you could try a basic chocolate buttercream. It won’t be as deeply chocolate but it will still be delicious. Here’s a recipe.

  • Hi Jenn
    I want to make the lovers chocolate cake that one is in your book.
    But I want to put on top curly o chopped chocolate for garnish. What kind of chocolate do you recommend?

    • Hi Fanny, I love that idea! I’d use semi-sweet or milk chocolate.

  • The cupcakes are pretty good, but my family and I prefer I a darker chocolate cupcake. Will continue to make recipes from this website. It is one of the best recipe blogs out there!

  • Hi jenn!
    I’m keen to make a semi naked chocolate cake with baileys smbc. The cakes for semi naked decoration need to be dense and not crumbly. Would the Cupcake recipe made as a cake fit the bill? If so… What size of pan would this require for a 3 layer cake?
    I totally love ur recipes 🙂 they are always spot on. Thanks so much for sharing these…

    • Hi Vanita, Glad you like the recipes! I think you might have better luck with the chocolate cake recipe from my cookbook. If you’d like, email me at [email protected] and I’ll send it to you. 🙂

  • Hi Jenn—I’m following up on a previous comment. Is your chocolate lover’s birthday cake in your cookbook? I made a chocolate cake yesterday that came out so disappointing that neither of my kids could finish their slice. I also had made your vanilla birthday cake (half with sprinkles, half covered with coconut) and it was a huge hit. I pre-ordered your cookbook but if your chocolate cake isn’t there, will you please post it on your blog? Thank you for doing what you do!

    • Hi JinAh, So happy the vanilla cake was a success…and, yes, the chocolate cake is in the book! 🙂

  • Hi Jenn,
    I am wondering if you would share your Chocolate Lover’s Birthday cake recipe with me? I am making your Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake (which I have made before) for my mom for her birthday. I was considering the chocolate cupcakes just as a second choice but after reading the reviews would love to try the cake.
    Thank you,

    PS – I have already preordered your cookbook and can”t wait for it to come out!

    • Sure Holly, I’ll send it through email. (And thanks for purchasing the cookbook!)

  • Hi Jennifer,
    I’ve enjoyed making many of your recipes. I wanted to know if it would be okay to use unsweetened cacao instead of unsweetened chocolate for the cake, and if I could use cake flour instead of all purpose flour. Do I need to change the amount? I want to make a chocolate cake in two 9 inch round pans. Any tips for making it extra moist? Thak you

    • Hi Heysol, based on the changes you’d like to make, I’d suggest the Chocolate Lover’s Birthday Cake that is in my upcoming cookbook. I will email it to you.

      • Thank you so much! You’re the best. I look forward to getting your email.

  • Hi Jenn,

    I made this as a layer cake (while making 1.5x batch of the frosting, as per a previous reviewer) when I was hosting very picky foodies and they were nuts for it. It looked absolutely gorgeous — a total show stopper — and the everybody was commenting that the frosting was “everything”. The only thing I felt could improve on was the moistness of the layers, as it was a tad dry. Could this have had anything to do with my baking them for 35 minutes? (I checked at 30 minutes they were underdone). Would you suggest pouring some sort of a syrup over the layers after they are baked to moisten them up?

    And BTW, every time I go to NYC, I go to Magnolia bakery specifically for the chocolate frosting. This frosting tastes the same, except better !

    Thank you for an amazing recipe !

    • — Malak Abu Shakra
    • Reply
    • Hi Malak, Yes a simple syrup would work well – or if you’d like, email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you a wonderful chocolate layer cake recipe from my upcoming cookbook.

  • Hi Jenn,
    I’d like to make his recipe this weekend, however I’d like to make mini cupcakes. Should I change the temperature and/or cooking time?

    • Hi Kelly, I’d keep the temperature the same but reduce the cooking time. I’d start checking them around 12 min. Enjoy!

  • Ok I am not American so I do prefer darker chocolate, less sugar decadent deserts. I just made those cupcakes and I am in heaven…..

    • I’m making a 12×16 cake for my son’s birthday. Do you think I’ll need to double or triple the recipie? I’m not sure if I should layer it either.

  • This is the BEST chocolate frosting. It’s definitely my go to favorite.

  • This recipe is AMAZING!! I thought it might be too sweet with all the sugar but it was not too sweet and the chocolate flavor was so rich. The texture was deliciously moist and the buttercream frosting paired so well with the cake. It was so worth the cost of the ingredients!
    I needed to make a birthday cake so I used a 9″ springform cake pan and baked for about 80 minutes in a convection oven. (It may have been ok at 70 minutes as the edges came out a little dry.). There was more than enough frosting and I could have added frosting in the middle. The next time I make this as a cake, I will probably split the batter into two round cake pans instead of one pan….or maybe just go with cupcakes.
    I used gluten-free flour (Namaste brand) and it came out just fine.
    Thanks Jenn for yet another recipe that makes me look like I know what I am doing in the kitchen!

  • What adjustments would you make if baking these at 5,500 ft elevation?

    • Hi Steve, I don’t have any experience with baking at high altitudes, but these tips may be helpful. Hope you enjoy the cupcakes!

  • Hi Jenn,
    Love your recipes! I’m going to make the cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday party on Saturday. I would like to add colored sprinkles to the batter, so the sprinkles are visible once bitten into. Any advice on adjusting temperature or cooking time, even sugar?

    • Hi Bronwyn, glad to hear you like the recipes! I think it would be fine to add sprinkles to the batter with no other adjustments necessary. Happy birthday to your daughter! 🙂

  • Can I substitute dark brown sugar for the light brown sugar in your recipe? Thanks

    • Yes Yaritza, that should be fine. Enjoy the cupcakes!

  • Hi Jen,
    Do these need to be refrigerated if serving the next day? You do say to do so in your recipe, but I am worried about the muffins drying out. Does the icing go bad if not refrigerated?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Debbie, You don’t need to refrigerate if serving the very next day. Enjoy!

  • Hi Jenn, if I’d like to bake this cake in 10 cup bunt pan, how long should I bake it for? And do you think this portion is good to fill it?

    • Hi Serena, Yes, I think the batter would fit nicely in a bundt pan and it’s likely to take about 70 minutes give or take, but keep an eye on it. LMK how it turns out!

      • So I baked it in the 10 cup bundt pan the other day, it needs a bigger bundt pan cus I got a small eruption inside the oven ?

        70 mins also is too much, I took it out at 65 mins and the top was burnt and the outer layer is dry. I think 50 to 55 mins might be good. I crumbled up the center and made them into cakepops!

  • Hi! For the frosting, what will be the alternative if I don’t have a food processor? So excited to try this recipe.

    • Hi Chris, You really need a food processor for this; it keeps the frosting from separating and getting greasy. (This type of chocolate frosting is quite finicky.) Instead, you could try a basic chocolate buttercream. It won’t be as deeply chocolate but it will still be delicious. Here’s a recipe.

      • Will a blender work instead of a food processsor? I am so happy I discovered your wesbite! The first recipe I tried was the blueberry muffins and my family loved it! Thanks, Jenn!

        • Hi Chris, I’m afraid the blender wouldn’t get the job done and achieve the right texture. I’d hate to see you waste the ingredients (which are on the pricier side) on something that’s not perfect. Sorry!

  • Hi,
    I don’t have a microwave. Can I melt the chocolate on the stove? I also don’t have a double boiler…so what should I do to ensure it doesn’t burn? Thanks so much! I LOVE your recipes and you are my go-to site for baking 🙂

    • Hi Laura, You can jerry-rig your own double boiler. Fill a small saucepan with an inch of water and bring it to a simmer. Then stack a metal or glass bowl on top of the pan, making sure the bowl fits snugly. Just be sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water – the steam from the simmering water should heat the bowl gently. And so happy you’re enjoying the site!

      • I melt chocolate on the stove ALL the time. Just make sure the temperature is on the lowest setting and watch and stir with a wooden spoon a few times

  • Sorry for posting questions in pieces. I would like to know if icing sugar is the same as confectioners sugar. Thanks.

  • Can I use unsweetened chocolate chips instead of a chocolate bar? In my city, we get slabs of what is called ‘chocolate compound’. Can that be used in this recipe? Else please suggest a brand of the unsweetened chocolate.


    • I wouldn’t recommend the chocolate chips as they don’t melt as well (they have stabilizers in them to help them hold their shape). I’m not familiar with chocolate compound, but if it melts well, I think it would be okay to use.

  • Hi Jenn, the vanilla buttermilk cupcake recipe has 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour while this recipe has only 2 cups of flour. I observed that the other ingredients are more or less the same. So just wanted to cross check if it is 2 cups for this recipe. I plan to make this cake for my daughter’s birthday party.

    • Hi Deepa, Yes, the 2 cups of flour is correct here. Hope you enjoy the cupcakes (and happy birthday to your daughter :)!

      • Thanks for the super quick reply , Jenn ! My daughter is turning 1 and I am really excited to make the cake for her 🙂

        Your blog is always my go-to place! I have tried many recipes and they are all super delicious ! So I am confident of making this cake for the first time for an important occasion ! Appreciate the effort and love you put into your work !

  • I made these cupcakes for the first time today. I have had great success with her muffin recipes but these cupcakes did not turn out like I thought they should. The batter was really light and fluffy, like a mousse. Her picture shows it more fudgy, I think. I used Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate, and took our 3 Tbsp of sugar per her suggestion. Also, my cupcakes turned out HUGE and they didn’t taste that chocolatey. I’m not sure I will try this recipe again.

  • I’ve prepared these cupcakes twice and the frosting once. The frosting is rich and easy to work with, and I’ll use it again, perhaps adding instant coffee next time. The cakes were rather dry and I found them average in flavor. I don’t love the chocoholic muffin either. Both recipes call for low-fat buttermilk. I get moister, tastier cakes and muffins with recipes using (whole) milk.

  • I made the chocolate frosting here and it was heavenly. Easy and just mouth watering. Everyone that tried it including my husband raved about it. I didn’t make the actual cake recipe here because I had a box mix that I needed to use up since it’s been in my pantry for 3 years! My review is just on the frosting – amazing!!! You could put that on anything and it will taste great.

  • Can you freeze the cupcakes with the icing on them? I want to make chocolate mini cupcakes for my Break the Fast and need to do all of my baking ahead of time. Thanks!

    • Hi Becca, You can definitely freeze these. I do think they are best if frosted after removing them from the freezer, but another reader commented that she has frozen them with the icing and had good results.

  • this is a silly question but your cupcakes are so even!!! what spoon do you use to scoop the batter and/or batter amount to achieve it? Thank you

    • Not a silly question! I use an ice cream scooper with a wire scraper. Hope you enjoy the cupcakes!

  • The cupcake was amazing. So moist. I have found my go to cupcake recipe. I didn’t make the frosting just because I like peanut butter cream cheese frosting

  • Would a single batch of frosting be enough to generously fill and frost a 9″ round layer cake or would it be best to make 1.5 times the recipe?

    • Hi Sadie, I think a single batch of frosting should work just fine here. Enjoy!

      • I didn’t make the cupcakes so can only review the frosting, which was EXCELLENT! It has a firm, fudgy texture and lovely sheen similar to a ganache, but I thought it was easier to work with and piped better than a ganache. I used bittersweet and dark chocolates so my frosting was darker in color than the one pictured. If you’re using the frosting for a layer cake, it took 1.5X the recipe for the filling, crumb and finish coats, and top and bottom borders on an 8″ cake, with just a bit left over. I made the frosting the day before but found that it was too firm to spread after being in the fridge overnight, even though I let it sit at room temp for 3 hours to soften. Had to soften it in the MW. The cake kept well at room temp for a few days so I don’t think the frosting would need refrigeration unless it’s hot in the house. This is a great recipe if you like to have frosted cupcakes ready to go in the freezer. I did a test sample and they were perfect!

  • I have searched high and low for the perfect chocolate cake/cupcake recipe and finally found it here at “Once Upon a Chef”. I paired it with an old Peanut Butter Buttercream recipe (because that’s what the birthday girl requested) and it was absolutely fabulous!!
    I love your site Jenn and can not wait to try more of your perfected recipes!! ~Kimberly

  • Hi! I came across your blog through a random search. As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. I halved the recipe to make 12 cupcakes and seriously everybody just loved them even without the frosting. I couldn’t make the frosting alongside cupcakes because I did not have light corn syrup on hand. My hubby devoured the cupcakes so I’m planning to make frosting with the next batch. In short, this recipe is definitely a keeper.

  • Hi Jenn – What changes would I make to this recipe if I wanted to use it to bake a two-layer cake? And how long should I bake it in two 8.5″ round pans? Thank you!

    • Karen, Yes, you could definitely make a layer cake with this recipe. I think the cooking time should be around 30 minutes, but keep your eye on them!

  • Hi, would really like to give this recipe a go. Could I bother you for the ingredients in grams? Thanks!

    • Hi Jessica, I’ve updated the recipe with metric measurements. (There is a button in the top right corner of the recipe that allows you to select metric or cup measures.) Hope that helps!

  • Hi Jenn, I’d love to make this yummy cupcake, but if I am using semi-sweet chocolate for the cake, how much sugar should I reduce?

    • Hi Serena, I would try to find the right chocolate for the best results, but if that’s not possible reduce the white sugar by 2-3 tablespoons.

  • I am looking forward to making these cupcakes for my son’s birthday this weekend but need to make them the day before. Is it better to frost them the day before and refrigerate or make each component separately the day before, bring to room temperature the morning of the party and frost then. Apologies if this is a silly question…cupcake novice here!

    • Hi Maggie, I would definitely make the cupcakes with the frosting the day before, then bring to room temperature before serving. They will still be delicious 🙂

  • Is there a big difference in using buttermilk or a substitute, such as milk and lemon juice or vinegar? I don’t buy buttermilk at the store for 1 recipe but often wonder if I should. Thanks a bunch,

    • No difference at all, Jamie — I often make my own 🙂

  • I’d like to try making this cake but want to avoid using refined sugar. Could you tell me if I could use honey or maple syrup or even coconut sugar in its place? And if so, how much? I also want to bake it as a 9×13 cake. What would the cooking time be on that? Love your recipes by the way! It’s clear you put a lot of effort into making sure they are tested and true (and delicious)!

    • LDS – I’m so sorry, I can’t recommend those substitutions. I’ve never tried them in this recipe and, in the past, I haven’t had much luck replacing sugar with honey or maple syrup — it typically causes the cakes to brown too quickly. Unfortunately, I’ve never baked with coconut sugar so I can’t be of any help there. Sorry!

  • These were amazing! So light and fluffy and the frosting was a very rich chocolate! I did not have corn syrup for the frosting so made my own with 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup hot water – worked just fine!

  • I love this cupcake recipe – it is my go-to for chocolate cupcakes! The frosting isn’t super sweet which I like.

  • I love chocolate! For the frosting I just used nutella and cream cheese. Yummy!

  • I’m making this as a cake instead of cupcakes and am using a spring form instead of two pans. How long should I bake it?
    Thanks for the help! We can’t wait to taste this highly rated recipe.

    • Hi Karen, For best results, I would definitely suggest using two 9-inch pans (cook for 30-35 min) but if you’re using a springform pan, I’m guessing cook time will be 45 min- 1 hour. Good luck!

  • Hi ,
    i wanted to know if i can use maple syrup instead of corn syrup..thank you.
    PS your recipes are Fantastic and makes me look like a real chef ..thank you for sharing

    • Hi Nathalie, So glad you are enjoying the recipes! I would stick with the corn syrup on this one — chocolate frosting is finicky and can “break.”

      • Hi jenn, about corn syrup. Can I skip this on the frosting?thanks in advance

        • — Kemala on March 17, 2019
        • Reply
        • Hi Kemala, I would stick with the corn syrup on this one — chocolate frosting is finicky and can “break.” If you’d prefer not to use corn syrup, you could make a different frosting entirely though. This one is good. Hope that helps! 🙂

          • — Jenn on March 17, 2019
          • Reply
  • I want to make a vanilla cake with chocolate icing – What do you think about using this icing with your “Vanilla Birthday Cake?|”? Are there any adjustments that you think might enhance that combination? Thank you!!

    • Hi Carol, It will work just fine — no adjustments necessary 🙂

  • I made these chocolate cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting from the Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe for my son’s 21st birthday. Absolutely wonderful! Perhaps my favorite cupcakes ever. These recipes are definitely keepers. I even printed them out which I rarely do anymore so I can be sure to have them. Our family doesn’t like oodles of frosting so I did have about 2 cups left over after frosting 22 cupcakes but the frosting is so good I didn’t scrape it off the cupcakes like I usually do when I eat them.

  • Hi Jen,
    I would like to swap the frostings from your chocolate cupcakes onto your buttermilk cupcakes and the frosting from your buttermilk cupcakes onto your chocolate cupcakes. But before I do this I would like to know if the flavors would suit or should I just do as per your recipe?
    Thank you

    • Hi Mandy, Go for it – it’s really just personal preference 🙂 Please come back and lmk how they turn out.

  • This cupcake recipe is to die for!

  • I live at an elevation of 6900 feet. What would you suggest as a high elevation adjustment for this recipe?

  • Hi Jenn,
    Can I split the recipe in half to make 12 cupcakes?

    • Hi Olena, Yes, that’s fine.

  • If I wanted to make this as a cake…instead of a cupcake…what size pan would I use?

    • Hi Don, I would use two 9-inch rounds.

  • Would this convert well to a layer cake??

    • Hi Edi, Yes, I think it would convert very well.

  • I like each and every one of your recipes.
    I have not tried them all yet though, but I am working on it. I like cooking and baking with my 11-year-old daughter, she teaches me so much! She made the cup cakes, they are fabulous, very good recipe. The only change she made: she piped the icing into the cup cake with a tip and covered it with a dot on the top. Great surprise for dad! Thank you for your recipes.
    -Maria in Princeton

  • OMG this recipe is devine! I have made it 3 times now and my gorgeous & skinny sister ate two cupcakes and asked for the recipe. Very happy to have this recipe up my sleeve… thank you Jenn!

  • Hi Jenn, I don’t have corn syrup, what can I use instead?

  • Can I freeze these cupcakes? I want to make these and the vanilla for my daughter’s pasta party for 26 girls. This way all I need to do is frost them the day of.


    Kathy Vinci

    • Hi Kathy, Yes, it’s fine to freeze the cupcakes.

  • For the frosting, can you use an electric mixer instead of a food processor?

    • Hi Mary, You really need a food processor for this recipe; it prevents the frosting from separating and turning greasy. This type of chocolate frosting is very finicky. If you don’t have a mixer, you could try a basic chocolate buttercream. It won’t be as deeply chocolate but it will still be delicious. Here’s a recipe:

      • Just a note – I have used my standmixer to make this frosting and it worked perfectly for me! So fluffy and delicious!

  • These are amazing!!!! My new favorite chocolate fix that I crave waaaay too often! I love that they’re not too sweet, but perfect. Completely rich and decadent! I don’t think I’ve had a more delicious chocolate cupcake.

  • These look divine. And after reading Jeff’s comments above, I will DEFINITELY be giving these a try!!

  • I know that a cupcake is a fun, sweet confection that is rooted in the joys of childhood. But if a cupcake could be considered “serious”, this would be the one. Last night I finally got to try one (well actually 1 1/2) The texture, moistness, and flavor were all I needed to confirm that I am no longer on a hunt for the ultimate chocolate on chocolate cupcake experience. This is it. Now, just crossing fingers here, that they will freeze like a dream, as I have 3 remaining. Now, on to your millionaire’s shortbread….isn’t life great?

    • — Jeff Winett-again
    • Reply
  • Wow, what an honor to post the first review for this evidently awesome recipe. I use the word “evidently”, as hubs and I won’t be trying them until tonight while watching Seinfeld re-runs in bed. So how do I know these are incredible? I prepared this recipe to the letter this morning as a gift to someone who is recovering from a painful knee surgery. Jon is a foodie and baker, par excellence. He was sleeping when I dropped the cupcakes off, and if there were any way that I could include the voice message that was waiting for us, when we got home, I would be doing so. I have never heard him rave about anything, such as he did for these cupcakes. It was bordering on embarrassing, but I loved every second of this 🙂 Anyway, very psyched for dessert tonight. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Jeff, That is so nice to read! I hope you enjoyed them as much as your friend Jon did 🙂

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