Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes - The best moist chocolate cupcakes recipe made from scratch! | browneyedbaker.com

[This recipe was originally shared in August 2013.]

This is the 35th cupcake recipe I’ve shared on this site, and can you believe it’s the first chocolate-chocolate version?! I’ve had some chocolate cupcake bases, but those were topped with things like peanut butter frosting, espresso buttercream and salted caramel frosting… then there were the faux Hostess cupcakes, the black-bottom cupcakes and the vegan chocolate cupcakes. They are all fabulous cupcakes, but I felt it was high time that I find a chocolate cupcake and frosting combo that could be “the one” – my go-to when I needed something fabulously rich and overflowing with chocolate flavor. I wanted a from-scratch chocolate cupcake recipe that was supremely moist, as well. Chocolate can tend to be dry and I wanted to avoid that at all cost.Β These ultimate chocolate cupcakes absolutely live up to their name; I have no need to search for another chocolate cupcake recipe!

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes - The best moist chocolate cupcakes recipe made from scratch! | browneyedbaker.com

First things first – the cake part of these cupcakes is phenomenal. It’s often times hard to find a cupcake recipe that not only domes perfectly when baked, but is also moist and tender inside (not dry and crumbly). These are all of that and more; they totally melt in your mouth. To enhance the flavor and the moist texture, a dollop of chocolate ganache is placed on top of the cupcake batter before they are baked. It’s an optional step and you can make the cupcakes with out it, but I highly, highly recommend it. It’s the perfect segue from the cake to the frosting.

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes - The best moist chocolate cupcakes recipe made from scratch! | browneyedbaker.com

Oh, that frosting. It’s almost beyond words. Satiny smooth, buttery, just sweet enough and oh-so-chocolatey. I could (and did!) eat it with a spoon. Piled high on those cupcakes, it’s the perfect frosting-to-cupcake ratio for me. I just can’t get enough frosting. (Of course, if you like less frosting, you can use less and you’ll have some leftover.)

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes - The best moist chocolate cupcakes recipe made from scratch! | browneyedbaker.com

I don’t believe I’ll ever search for another chocolate-chocolate cupcake recipe ever again. I’m sold on these cupcakes and frosting, plus I love that ganache filling. While I knew I couldn’t have a dozen cupcakes sitting around the house, the day after I had sent the leftovers on their way with my mom, I immediately regretted my decision. That’s a sure sign that I found a winner!

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes - The best moist chocolate cupcakes recipe made from scratch! | browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Fresh Orange Sherbet
Two years ago: Pepperoni Pizza
Three years ago: Salted Caramel Brownies
Four years ago: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Five years ago: Zebra Cake

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 17-19 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

These cupcakes are a chocolate-lover's dream!


For the Ganache Filling:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

For the Cupcakes:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
β…“ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup hot coffee
¾ cup bread flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
1¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
¾ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces chocolate (milk, semisweet or dark), melted and cooled


1. Make the Ganache Filling: Place the chopped chocolate, heavy cream and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave on high power until the mixture is warm to the touch, 20 to 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth, then refrigerate until just barely chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.

2. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.

4. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon of ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

6. Make the Frosting: In a food processor, process the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla extract and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 one-second pulses. Frost the cupcakes as desired. The frosted cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


  • The ganache filling can be omitted it if you'd like a more traditional chocolate cupcake.
  • The frosting can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 hours before using, or refrigerated for up to 3 days. If refrigerated, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
  • I used the Ateco #823 decorating tip for piping the frosting.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)


554 Responses to “Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes”

Comment Pages 1 2 3 7
  1. Renee @ Awesome on $20 on August 19, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Wow!!! Congratulations!!! I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years, so I almost feel like a friend just got secret hitched. I can’t wait for you to share more of the story. These cupcakes look amazing, and that frosting is just ridiculous. Congratulations again. Wishing you a life of aloha.


  2. Linsey W on August 19, 2013 at 12:40 am

    ?Could I sub the bread flour with white whole wheat or AP flour? I really want to try these because the vanilla cupcake and frosting recipe you shared was amazing.


    • Michelle on August 19th, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Linsey, I don’t recommend substituting something else for the bread flour – it helps with the gluten development and final structure/texture of the cupcakes.


      • Maria on August 23rd, 2013 at 12:41 pm

        Hi Michelle congratulations on being a newlywed!
        Regarding the bread flour we don’t have that in Ecuador, what would you advise to do???


        • Jess on December 14th, 2013 at 7:02 pm

          Maria and Linsey, I rarely/never have bread flour on hand, and I always use AP flour. Sure, they might not always have that PERFECT texture, but I never notice a huge difference and always get loads of compliments! :) So in my opinion, while bread flour would be the best, subbing AP flour for bread flour won’t ruin recipes.


          • Theresa on March 5th, 2015 at 5:55 pm

            Good to know! Thanks Jess!


    • Vicki C. on August 26th, 2013 at 5:32 am

      I just made these using regular white flour. I couldn’t find bread flour in Australia. They turned out amazing!


      • Rachel Reed on October 22nd, 2013 at 2:11 am

        You used regular ap flour? Did you do the gardenache filling?


      • Becky on January 30th, 2014 at 11:44 am

        If it’s the same in Oz as in the UK it’s just “Strong Flour”.


    • Denise Aziz on September 1st, 2013 at 11:07 am

      What is bread flour? I regular flour, cake flour and self-rising flour. None of these will work?


      • Michelle on September 5th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

        Hi Denise, Bread flour is a flour with a higher protein content. In the U.S. you can find it in virtually any grocery store.


      • Jess on December 14th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

        Denise, I always use regular AP flour, and I never notice too much of a difference. You can definitely use regular flour, or maybe even cake flour – I have never used cake flour but seeing as this is a cake recipe it only makes sense that you could use it :)


        • Bill Doyle,CEC on February 1st, 2014 at 10:07 am

          I would not sub “cake” flour as is on the opposite end of the protein spectrum as Bread flour-hence it’s use to bring about a delicate crumb structure in pastries!


  3. Marcie on August 19, 2013 at 12:56 am

    These look so decadent and chocolatey – just gorgeous cupcakes! Congrats on being a newlywed and hope your wedding and honeymoon were just perfect.


  4. GB on August 19, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Congratulations! Hope you had a great day, and are enjoying married life so far!
    These cupcakes look fantastic – I’ll try them soon!


  5. Sarah on August 19, 2013 at 1:16 am

    THAT FROSTING LOOKS AMAZING. Like, the perfect chocolate frosting.


  6. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on August 19, 2013 at 1:45 am

    These look like perfection, love the chocolate on chocolate! Congrats on your wedding!


  7. Averie @ Averie Cooks on August 19, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Congrats, first of all!!!!!!!!!! You had the least amount of pre-wedding mentions of anyone I’ve ever known in blog world and of avidly reading blogs for 6+ years Ive seen my fair share of bloggers get married. I hope you share a few pics with us from your special day if you’re comfortable with it. I would love to see them!

    Next, the cupcakes. Some of your most beautiful photos to date. Just stunning. And the flavor. They sound just incredible. From the moistness to the ganache pre-baking to the beautiful sky-high mounds of frosting. I need to make these. Pinned for sure!


  8. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious on August 19, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Congrats! I can’t wait to hear more about it!

    And man oh man. These cupcakes are absolutely heavenly. And that glossy frosting? Swoon!


  9. Wendy on August 19, 2013 at 3:16 am

    Congratulations! Can’t wait to hear about the wedding! I think he’s a lucky guy! You’ve been missed!


  10. Pieliekamais on August 19, 2013 at 3:27 am

    Congratulations on your first post as Mrs.Chief Culinary Consultant :) !
    The cupcakes look amazing.


  11. Radhika on August 19, 2013 at 3:32 am

    Dear Michelle,

    I need to say “congratulations!!!!” Even before I finish reading your post! Wonderful news. All the best to you both.



  12. Maxine on August 19, 2013 at 3:40 am

    Yum, these cupcakes look to-die-for! I’m gonna need to find an occasion to make these for! Also…congratulations! From all your postings, you come off as I very sweet person, I sincerely wish you and your new husband the very best life has to offer…here’s to a sweet life πŸ˜‰


  13. ThisBakerGirlBlogs on August 19, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Death by chocolate (cupcakes) … a gorgeous one, too! Looks delicious :)


  14. Becca @ Crumbs on August 19, 2013 at 4:57 am

    Congratulations!! I can’t wait to hear about your wedding. These look like a perfect way to celebrate!


  15. Ellen on August 19, 2013 at 5:26 am

    My usual complaint about cupcakes is too much cake to frosting-this solves that perfectly. And congratulations on the wedding!


  16. Norma @ Allspice and Nutmeg on August 19, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Congratulations!! Looking forward to seeing some pictures.
    The cupcakes look incredible! Pinned them.


  17. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on August 19, 2013 at 6:43 am

    The frosting on these cupcakes looks fab!! Yum!


  18. Lori on August 19, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Best wishes on marrying your CCC. The cupcakes look amazing. Hope we get to see a few pics of the beautiful bride.


  19. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on August 19, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Oh my…these cupcakes look SO amazing! Lots of chocolate…I love it!


  20. nancy k on August 19, 2013 at 7:55 am

    These cupcakes look amazing. Can’t wait ti have an excuse to make them.
    Congratulations and welcom home. I am looking forward to any pics of your wedding that you feel you want to share. You mentioned renting a house so I am wondering if Einstein made the trip with you and attended the wedding too.


    • Michelle on August 19th, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Thank you, Nancy! Einstein did not make the trip; it was a long drive and I was worried about leaving him in an unfamiliar place alone when we all went out to dinner or to do other things.


  21. Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts on August 19, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Yeah, this definitely look insanely good!!!
    Congratulations on getting married!


  22. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on August 19, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Oh dear heavens, I had to whip the drool form my mouth. These cupcakes, oh these cupcakes look amazing, amazing, amazing!!! I just want to spoon that frosting!!


  23. Lisa on August 19, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Hi! First of all, congrats on your marriage! Your cupcakes looks sinfully delicious! May I know how many teaspoon of coffee powder went into your 3/4 cup of hot coffee? Thanks!


    • Michelle on August 19th, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      Hi Lisa, I have a Keurig, so I just brewed a cup, measured out ¾ cup and that was it. Usually I make coffee by dividing however many cups I’m making by 2 and adding 1… so, if you make 6 cups of coffee, I would use 4 scoops (6/2 = 3 + 1 = 4).


  24. Sue on August 19, 2013 at 8:15 am

    No need for a special occasion to make theses cupcakes…I’m just making them! Congrats on your marriage!!


  25. marie @ little kitchie on August 19, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Congratulations!!! So happy for you!


  26. Heather on August 19, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Congratulations on the wedding!
    Neither my husband or I drink coffee so I don’t have any in the house. Any suggestions on a substitute?


    • Michelle on August 19th, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      Hi Heather, I really do recommend using the coffee, as you can’t taste it but it adds tremendous depth to the flavor and really brings out the chocolate. I would run over to Starbucks or McDonalds and get a cup for the recipe!


      • Elisabeth on February 12th, 2014 at 7:39 pm

        My husband and I are Mormons; realizing that we will be sacrificing something, any recommendations? Water would obviously *work*, but would additional cocoa, or chocolate, or vanilla help? Or should I try one of those coffee-like drink substitutes?


        • Michelle on February 12th, 2014 at 10:21 pm

          Hi Elisabeth, You really don’t want to use hot chocolate or flavored coffee drinks because of the extra sugar they will add to the cupcakes. I think your best bet here would be water, unfortunately.


          • swetha_13 on May 24th, 2014 at 7:39 am

            should you use black coffee? or coffe with milk?


            • Michelle on May 26th, 2014 at 11:31 am

              Yes, black coffee, do not add milk or sweeteners.

        • Nova on October 9th, 2014 at 9:53 pm

          Hi Elisabeth I’m a mormon too and I’ve made these cupcakes with hot water instead of the coffee and they are fantastic. If you want a bigger chocolate hit then use more cocoa or chocolate but I think they’re fine as they are. I find with baking anything it’s always about personal taste and many recipes are tweaked anyway. Thanks for sharing Michelle :)


  27. Cate @ Chez CateyLou on August 19, 2013 at 8:38 am

    These look heavenly!! I can seriously taste the chocolate by looking at your pictures!! Also, Congratulations!


  28. David at From Ballparks to BBQ on August 19, 2013 at 8:42 am

    That chocolate icing looks incredible.


  29. Tieghan on August 19, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Congrats!! So happy for you!!

    These cupcakes are incredible!


  30. Terry on August 19, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Best Wishes to the new bride!!!!!!!


  31. Tracey on August 19, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Yay, congratulations – so happy for you Michelle! And glad you’re back :) This is one of my favorite chocolate cupcake recipes too, and your photos of them are gorgeous!


  32. Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent on August 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Congrats! Enjoy married life… The cupcakes also look amazing. Death by chocolate :)


  33. Sharon on August 19, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Hi Michelle,
    First off, congratulations and much happiness!
    Have you ever tried this frosting recipe with a regular hand beater?
    CI recommends the food processor too….problem is, I don’t have one big enough.
    Thank you


    • Michelle on August 19th, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      Hi Sharon, Thank you!! I have not tried this with a hand beater. While the consistency may not be exactly the same, I think you could do it. Enjoy!


      • AndreaL on August 29th, 2013 at 9:32 am

        I don’t have a food processor so I made the frosting with my stand mixer last night and it turned out great. I just creamed the butter well before slowly adding the sugar & cocoa & salt. Just make sure that you scrape the bowl as you go. Beautiful shine & taste.


        • Raj on October 16th, 2013 at 8:41 am

          Hi AndreaL,
          What attachment did you use? I made the frosting in my stand mixer with the plastic paddle attachment and everything separated. The butter part went paler but the chocolate bits were little flecks. I put it all in a saucepan over a very low heat and that brought it all together. Perhaps I should use the whisk attachment next time.


          • Rachel on March 16th, 2014 at 2:36 pm

            Raj- I used my mixers standard paddle attachment when making the frosting and it worked great. My best guess for yours separating like that was maybe the butter wasn’t soft enough? Make sure it is room temp all the way through it, like no resistance when you put a knife in it and cream it well before adding the rest. Sometimes my kithcen is very cold and if the mixing bowl feels cold I will run a towel under hot water, ring it out and hold it against the bowl to add some warmth.I also sifted the cocoa powder salt and sugar together so there were no clumps of any of it when it went into the butter. Also, when you add the melted chocolate make sure it has cooled off enough to not melt the butter but not so much that it has started to harden, or those bits will stay hard.


            • Ami on June 2nd, 2014 at 2:56 pm

              Would a VitaMix work?

  34. Emily on August 19, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Congrats on marriage!! And those cupcakes are to die for!!


  35. Bev on August 19, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Congratulations, and wishing you all the best! Pictures?


  36. Tracy {pale yellow} on August 19, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Congratulations on the wedding, can’t wait to see more! Love the idea of chocolate ganache on top before baking, so much easier than cutting and filling cupcakes after they have cooled. This looks like a serious chocolate cupcake!


  37. Sara on August 19, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Congrats on your marriage! These cupcakes look divine!


  38. Martha in KS on August 19, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Congrats Mrs. CCC! (or is he Mr. BEB?) I’m excited to add this chocolate-chocolate cupcake to my list of BEB cupcake recipes. Thanks. Can’t wait to see wedding photos.


  39. Angela on August 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Congrats!!! WE WANT PICTURES!!
    These cupcakes look great! Can’t wait to try them!


  40. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on August 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

    These look absolutely wonderful!! Chocolate Chocolate is a great combination!


  41. Becca from ItsYummi.com on August 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Woot! Congrats to you, Mrs. C.C. Consultant! :)

    I LOVE the idea of adding a layer of chocolate ganache to these cupcakes! Actually, who am I kidding? I’d add ganache to just about anything if given the chance! Your piping is gorgeous, by the way <3


  42. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction on August 19, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Congratulations!! How exciting!

    That frosting looks incredible!


  43. Nancy in NJ on August 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Be still my beating heart! If anyone tries this, I’d really like to know if the ganache filling stays soft. Normally it hardens up and I’d love to find one that is soft and creamy.


  44. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on August 19, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I don’t even know how to describe my feelings about these cupcakes. That frosting looks like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I can’t get over it. I want to make it and out it on all the things.


  45. Monica on August 19, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Many congratulations on your wedding! : )
    I have this Cooks Illustrated recipe tagged on my (long list) of recipes to try. It sounded amazing but let me tell you, your gorgeous pictures have convinced me to make it much sooner rather than later. They looks absolutely perfect. Thank you!


  46. Anthea Turner on August 19, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Congratulations on your wedding!! I truly wish you all the best :) Re. the recipe – I have my birthday coming up soon and this shall be my own present to myself. Thank you so much! Your hubby is really lucy.


  47. Ana on August 19, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Many Congrats on getting Married! Can’t wait for you to share the pics!

    These cupcakes look delicious, I am so… gonna make these! I want to make a thank you gift for the Aurora Police Department, Division 1, who found my stolen vehicle. These will be perfect! Thanks!

    You always have the bestest recipes ever!


  48. Heather P @The Owl with the Goblet on August 19, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Thank you for sharing! My husband is the world’s biggest chocoholic and I just may have to make these… sooner than later!


  49. Gayle on August 19, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Hope your wedding day and honeymoon were as heavenly as these cupcakes look! Congratulations & Best Wishes for a lifetime of happiness!


  50. nicole on August 19, 2013 at 11:14 am


    In your opinion, is this chocolate cake recipe better than the devils food cake recipe you posted previously?


    • Michelle on August 19th, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      Hi Nicole, I’m not sure which devil’s food cake recipe you’re referring to?


      • nicole on August 19th, 2013 at 11:53 pm

        Sorry!! I should have been more clear. I was referring to the dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting πŸ˜€


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