Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream Recipe

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream by sugar and sparrow

Oh, chocolate. It’s made me weak in the knees since I was a kid sneaking it into the cart when my mom wasn’t looking. Some people prefer fruity desserts but I tend to lean toward the decadence of something chocolatey. If you’re in the same boat, then this recipe is for you: melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream that has been described by a friend as “the kind you need to put in the sink and fill the bowl with water because you can’t stop eating it.”

chocolate buttercream recipe by sugar and sparrow

This is a classic flavor pairing that will satisfy any chocolate lover in your life, and I’m a firm believer that every cake maker should have a good chocolate cake and chocolate buttercream recipe up their sleeve. Whether you pair them together or use them separately to pair with other flavors, these are some great recipe staples. I’ve paired the chocolate buttercream with yellow cake and have paired the chocolate cake with tons of different buttercream recipes, some of my very favorites being almond, coconut, and raspberry buttercream

This cupcake recipe calls for natural, unsweetened Cocoa Powder, which differs from Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder mainly because of (you guessed it!) the process by which it’s made. Natural Cocoa Powder is made by simply roasting cocoa beans and grinding them into a fine powder, while Dutch-Process beans are first washed with potassium to neutralize the acidity before the grinding process. The potassium solution causes the Dutch-Process Cocoa to react differently in recipes that use baking soda (like this one!), and although there are some recipes where Dutch-Process is the way to go, this one is better with the natural stuff. I use Hershey’s, but you can use any brand that doesn’t have the Dutch-Process label.

chocolate cupcakes by sugar and sparrow

chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream

I’ve kept the decoration simple with these babies by piping a swirl of chocolate buttercream with my Wilton 1M tip, but feel free to get creative with the design. They’re made even more beautiful with these pretty sprinkles from Fancy Sprinkles in the Birthday Balloons mix. I just love the pops of color and texture they add! 

fancy sprinkles chocolate cupcakes sugar and sparrow

Side Note: One of my favorite birthday presents this year was this tiny glass cupcake stand you’re seeing in the photo above! Isn’t it the cutest thing ever? I’m a bit obsessed.

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream by sugar and sparrow
5 from 2 votes

Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream

Rich and moist chocolate cupcakes topped with decadent chocolate buttercream.

Servings 18 cupcakes


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 1/3 cups (184g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (63g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-Process)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) boiling water

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups (420g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (42g) natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt


Make The Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Place the sifted dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar to the mixture and mix at low speed until blended. Add the vegetable oil and continue to mix until the mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute.

  2. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract until blended. With the mixer at low speed, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix for two minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle as necessary.

  3. Slowly add the boiling water and mix until just blended and the batter is smooth, scraping down the bowl and paddle to ensure uniform consistency. Pour the batter evenly amongst cupcake liners, about ⅔ full each. Bake the cupcakes for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool thoroughly before frosting.

Make The Chocolate Buttercream

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip butter on medium speed until creamy and light in color, about four minutes. Scrape down the bowl and paddle and turn the mixer to low, then add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk, salt, and vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high and beat for three minutes. 


  1. Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly before frosting with chocolate buttercream. In the images above, I've used Wilton tip 1M to pipe a swirl with the buttercream before adding sprinkles. 

Recipe Notes

Make Ahead Tips: The cupcakes can be made ahead and stored at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap, for up to two days. Alternatively, they can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two months. 

The buttercream recipe can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it, re-whip with your stand mixer.


  1. Question- after the cupcakes are made and decorated how do you store them and for how long?

    • Hi Megan! If they’re for an order, I usually frost and deliver them the same day (or night before at the earliest and leave them in a cupcake box at room temp overnight). If they’re for eating, I often leave them out at room temp for 1-3 days and they last just fine. The frosting covers the cake enough to keep it moist/fluffy and the high sugar content in the frosting preserves the dairy and keeps it from going bad. Hope that helps!

  2. Hi Whitney, I love your blogs and cake creations! They’re very inspiring and reading your blog gets me excited all the time!

    Am looking for a decadent moist chocolate cake recipe. Would this cupcake recipe work for 6″ 3 layered cake?

    Would throwing in some dark chocolate bits make it more fudgy? Thanks!!

    • Hi Janice! Thanks so much for the kind words about my cakes and blog posts! To turn this recipe into a cake recipe, I add 1/3 cup more white granulated sugar per batch. For a 6″ 3-layer cake, I would double the recipe and add an additional 2/3 cup sugar total. I’ve never tried adding anything like chocolate bits to it but I think that sounds delicious! Try it and let me know how it turns out!

      • Thank you so much! Maybe this is a silly question, how does the additional sugar transform the batter from cupcake to cake?

        I made your vanilla cupcakes last week, and they were the BEST cupcakes I had ever had (retail or homemade). You’re a star!! The details in your blog is just stellar! Can’t wait to see more, and watch all your tutorials.

        • That’s not a silly question at all! The additional sugar helps make the cake more moist and tender. When you spread batter over a wider surface (like a cake pan vs. a cupcake tin) I have found that in this recipe in particular, adding a little extra sugar helps yields a softer cake.

          I’m so happy to hear you loved the vanilla cupcakes!! Thanks so much and let me know how the chocolate cake turns out!

        • Hi Whitney, can this recipe be transformed to a vegan recipe? I know we can directly replace the butter and milk with other alternatives, but what about the eggs?

          • Hi there! I have never made vegan cake before (someday!), so I don’t know all the substitution rules, nor do I know how my recipes will turn out when made with vegan ingredients. There’s a lot of science to baking and for now I can only recommend finding a chocolate cupcake recipe that’s already vegan. I hope to make some vegan versions of these recipes someday though (after lots of research and testing!) and I’ll let you know when I do!

  3. Hi Whitney, I’m making a Halloween cake this year for a party and I want to make the chocolate buttercream black. How much black food coloring would you recommend I use? And should I use liquid or gel food coloring? Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Whitney! I just made this cupcake recipe today and they are really good! I have tried A TON of recipes, looking for the one that I can consider my “go to”, and this one may be it!! Question (and I may already know the answer)…in the place of boiling water, can I use hot coffee like I always do for chocolate cake? The coffee isn’t boiling, but freshly made and very hot. Thanks very much. And….I did post a comment a while back on an Instagram post of yours. You are very skilled at presentation and instruction. Your photos are the bomb, as well as your designs!!! Very happy to have found you.

    • Thanks so much, Paula! I’m so happy to hear that this recipe has become your go-to! Yes, you can totally use hot coffee in place of the boiling water for an even richer result 🙂

  5. Caitlin Perales

    5 stars
    I made these tonight with my two girls. They are amazing!!! So perfect. I’m not sure I will make them any other way… no more boxed recipes for us!

  6. Hi, thank you so much, I too tried your vanilla cupcake recipe and it is perfect. So you are my favourite recipe person now and I am keen to try this recipe.
    This might sound crazy but I have to smash out 50 cupcakes, can you triple this recipe? Or would you recommend just making them batch by batch?

    • Hi Fleur! So happy you enjoyed my vanilla cupcake recipe and thank you so much for the kind words! You can certainly triple this recipe instead of baking them batch by batch. Enjoy!

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