Chocolate cupcakes

(513 ratings)
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  • Serves: 12

  • Prep time:

  • Cooking time:

  • Costs: Mid-price

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Make in advance

This classic chocolate cupcake recipe is easy to follow and makes perfectly delicious chocolate cupcakes every time. This recipe not only shows you how to make soft, chocolate sponge cakes, it also shows you how to make a rich chocolate buttercream to pipe on top. This is the ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe and regularly voted into the top cake recipes on GoodtoKnow. You can learn how to make perfect chocolate buttercream and rich chocolate sponges with this easy chocolate cupcake recipe. This recipe makes 12 delicious cupcakes and takes 50 mins to prepare and bake. Tried, tested and guaranteed by you! Decorate with chocolate curls, sprinkles or your favourite sweets before serving. These cupcakes are great for sharing, and would be perfect for kids parties or family gatherings. Yum!

Decorate your chocolate cucpakes with fresh fruit including blueberries, strawberries or raspberries.


For the chocolate cupcakes:
  • 100g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 40g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • tsp of vanilla extract

For the chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • 600g icing sugar sifted
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 80g cocoa powder
  • 80ml whole milk


  1. To make this cupcake recipe, preheat the oven to 170C (325F) gas 3.
  2. Put flour, cocoa, sugar and baking powder, salt and butter in a free-standing mixer with paddle attachment. Mix together until you have a sandy consistency.
  3. Whisk milk, egg and vanilla in a jug. Slowly pour half into the mixture, beat to combine and then turn the mixer up to high speed to get rid of any lumps.
  4. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and pour in the remaining mixture. Continue to mix for a couple of mins. Do not over mix.
  5. Spoon mixture into the 12 cases and cook for 20 mins.
  6. For the chocolate buttercream: Beat icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder together in a free-standing mixer on a medium speed. Turn down to a low speed and add milk gradually, once mixed turn up to a high speed again and beat for approx 5 mins and mixture is light and fluffy.
  7. Use a piping bag and metal nozzle to pipe onto top of cooled cupcakes.
  8. Decorate with blueberries, edible gold stars and glitter. You could also try decorating these chocolate cupcakes with regal iced cut outs or lustre spray.

Looking for a basic cupcake recipe? We've got it here!

Nutritional information

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

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  • 4
(513 ratings)

Your comments

Louise Thomas

These not only look amazing but I can tell you all they taste amazing as Libbie made these for my last day at work before starting my maternity leave. A fabulous start, thank you Libbie!!! x o x o

Diane Walters

These look absolutely gorgeous and I bet they tasted it too!

Nicola kirby

These look amazing. Can't wait to try them!

siberian tiger

Have just finished making these - i do not have a free standing mixer so used an electric hand whisk, i had some clearing up to do after lol but was worth it - made them for my niece as an extra birthday present so hoping she loves them. Kept 3 for myself, husband and wee monster, cannot wait to try them later after dinner. The buttercream icing i had left over was used to sandwich plain biscuits.


Amazing Super perfect yummy scrummy and moist just how a choc cupcake should be :D


Really awesome!!! Thanks for sharing.


Perfection! I have tried lots of different recipes and this is by far the best one!I loved them as did everyone else. I used big muffin cases and weighed each one (40g) so they all cameout identical in size! I made 10 in total.


I love this recipe, the cupcakes are moist and chocolately without being too rich. I do find perhaps its a little much butter icing, i tend to add a little less butter and more icing and a splash of milk otherwise its too rich. I decorate mine with silver balls or little stars and sometimes switch up the colour of the icing - they are always a hit. Thanks Libbie :)


I made this recipe using small foil cases & all turned out well. I wanted to make some in bigger cases for my daughter's 40th. On the 'dummy run' I filled the cases 2/3rds full as this is recommended in my books. The cupcakes overflowed & looked like mushrooms. They ate ok but not suitable for a special birthday. I made another batch & filled them slightly below 1/2 the cases. This time they appeared ok but I took them out after the 20 mins to check if cooked-not only were they not done but they then sank in the middle on some. I did cook at 160c as I have a fan oven. I was very careful with my measuring etc. What went wrong, any advice welcome. :-(


These are absolutely delicious, but found they needed an extra 10 minutes in the oven as my first batch shrank and separated from the paper cases (in a brand new oven). Will definitely use this recipie again :)

Keira Campbell

I love this recipe. I have made them twice now and they have been perfect both times. The recipe makes a really moist, rich cupcake. Both times I have only got 10 cupcakes out of the recipe. The buttercream recipe makes about twice the amount you need. When making the buttercream, instead of using milk, I mixed the cocoa powder with 80ml of warm water to make a paste, and then mixed it in with butter and sugar. This gives a really even, rich colour to the buttercream.


I made these and they were fantastic, this is my all time favourit now. My kids and husband can't get enough of these!

Jolene goodtoknow Editor

Libbie - we were wondering when you were going to post some more pictures of your beautiful cakes! Remember, everyone, you can send your pics here: or add them to our Facebook page: - if we pick you to go in Goodtoknow Recipes magazine, you'll get £25.

toni ludgate

made these as a birthday cupcake collection went down a storm lol but mine went really misshaped and wonky to one side i even left them to settle before putting them in the oven what did i do wrong :(


They look so nice i will be having a go.


These cupcakes are lovely!! made them tonight and recipe is perfect, found no tweeking nessessary, will make again!!


a great recipe that turns out as good as the picture thank you


these are great and taste great too. i only put in half of the icing sugar for the frosting. made it really rich but tasted great.


Hi Lisa, Yes you can do the mixing by hand. It will take a bit longer, but as long as your batter is light and fluffy your cakes will be just as good. Give them a go and let us know how you get on! Jolene

Lisa Forde

Can the mixing be done by hand, would the same results be achieved, hope so would love to try this recipe,they look gorgeous!!

xx lucy xx

im going to make these with my little sister on saturday! wish me luck


made them last week...they were fab. had none left within an hour


Wow. Love the toppings!


These look absolutely gorgeous and I bet they tasted it too. Forgot to leave stars on last comment!Oops.



Sandra Tingle

Stunning, bet they take delicious.

Ruby Au

Prefect match!! These look great even not taste yet!


This is absolutely amazing!!!


i absolutely love these i made then for people and they adored them too.

Cerys Derrick

this recipe is fab and was wondering if libbie has any more recipes to try


This cake recipie is wonderful, rich chocolate cakes without any chocolate only cocoa powder


amy - semi skimmed milk doesn't make much difference to the recipes - i always use semi skimmed even when recipes ask for whole (all hummingbird cakes) and they turn out fine. This is a really simple and fail safe recipe! perfect to bake with your kids & fun to decorate.


Have made these cupcakes a couple time and think they are fantastic!


600 g of icing sugar, are you sure? I gave 200g and it still was too sweet


Hello... This might be a silly question, but can you use hot chocolate powder instead of cocoa powder? Thank you


But the cakes turn out lovely really enjoyable and great for a treat.


Very good, but slightly annoying..... not everyone has a electric mixer!


Can I use butter instead of oil? If so, how much?


Amaaaaaaaazinggg!! <3


I found if you swapped out 20ml of milk for Bailleys in the cake mix it makes an interesting twist and a rather grown up yummy cake :)


does anyone know if using semi-skinned milk instead of whole milk for the frosting will make a difference?


Great recipe! I'm gonna do them very often! :) yummy!

Jeffrey S. Hunt

This is really easy to follow cupcake recipe! Love to try this one out!

Neil Hudson

These are delicious, but same as lianlovescooking, I would half the buttercream icing.

Penelope Griffiths

These cakes are wonderful. I was wondering if you would be able to make them in advance and freeze untill needed? Does anyone know if this is possible? Thanks x

Dilon Fisherman

Thanx for this recipe its a keeper, the cupcakes were so easy to make and the instructions very helpful. Couple of things though I filled the cases to 1/2 full only, and made some wells to stop them rising to a peak in the middle. when they were semi cooled I placed a book on top and that flattened them so more so I could pipe on more icing. Also mixing the icing for a full 5 minutes deffo makes the icing nice and fluffy easy to pipe. One last thing I kept the icing in the fridge for about 30 mins to harden up a bit again making it loads easier to pipe. Great recipe though ;-))

Katy goodtoknow Recipes

Hi Siobhan - don't panic, it's a very common problem, it's certainly happened to me before! It happens when the cake is too moist, so the wrappers start peeling away. To stop it happening, try filling each cupcake case at least 2/3 full, and turn them out of the pan onto the wire rack to cool as soon as they come out of the oven, which will stop the cases getting too soggy.

Siobhan Flynn

I have made these twice now and the cakes are fabulous, really moist. But I have one problem which has happened this time.... All of the cases came away from the cakes??? Has this happened to anyone else?

recipes at random

These look really lovely. Check out the chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate frosting I made today today


Really loved the main cupcake recipe, really light and fluffy but I would at least half the buttercream quantities. I used muffin cases which made 8 and I wasn't stingy with the buttercream but even making half quantities I still had a good dollop leftover! x


I also found when filling the cases 2/3rds full they overflow. Now I only fill them half way and they turn out just right. For this recipe 170 degrees is for fan assisted ovens so follow it as is. Hummingbird recipes are cooked at 190 degrees which you then have to reduce by 20 degrees.


If you are thinking of making cupcakes again, mix the flour, cocoa, sugar and baking powder, salt and butter in the bowl by hand first. It help to bind the dry ingredients with the butter to reduce the mess caused by the electric mixer. Try it...


Libbie - This recipe is pure geneous!!! I made it for my son's 2nd birthday last week and boy did everyone who ate them love them. The cupcakes were so good people thought I'd bought them. It made my little angel's birthday. Thank you for sharing it....


agreed with comments about the amount of ingredients for the frosting way to much even halving had some left over

Deanne Worsencroft

to cool*

Deanne Worsencroft

made these cupcakes but i didn't want 12. so i halved all the ingredients and it made 4 generous sized cupcakes. I agree with the comments that the icing measurement is too much... even when i was halving it to 300g (instead of 600) i could see this was too much so i did 200g icing sugar, 100g of butter and a splash of whole milk and its perfect yum! Waiting for them to cook to ice but they appear light and bouncy. definitely only fill case by half as mine rose quite a bit!


I did not think this recipe was a good one. The batter was too much so I divided it between the 12 cakes because that was what it said but then it just overflowed! Then, the cakes actually didn't taste very nice and were not a success. My tip would be to tell the bakers about the batter and say you might want to make a few more and change the recipe (not sure if the taste was just a fault but my family did not like them).


What is unsalted sugar? I found that 1/4 of the icing worked fine so just divide all ingredients by 4. Although I only used 15ml of milk as found it too runny with 20ml


These were super easy to make even with the help of my 3 year old twins. The mixture came out very runny and I thought they would be heavy but they were the lightest cupcakes I have ever made. Perfect. I was doing them for every day so I used 1/4 of the icing and that was plenty to do half of them covered and half of them with a generous swirl in the middle. If you were doing them for a special occasion then I still think half the icing would be enough otherwise they could be sickly. I used semi skimmed milk for the frosting too and it was fine but a little too runny so I used 15ml instead of 20ml and that worked better.. Making them a second time and I think that I used Self Raising Flour last time by accident (went to the plain flour and it was unopened!). Could explain why they were super light!! I have tried half plain and half SR this time and they were good.

Earth's Wonders

can i use 150 or 100 grams of unsalted sugar for the icing


This recipe makes way too much icing I thought it seemed like a lot but wanted to stick to the recipe. Next time I will half the measurements. Nice cup cake overall.


Made this recipe with gluten -and wheat free flour and dairy free butter and it tasted alright. We only got 11 cupcakes even though I filled the cases only half full. I made the butter cream icing and 1/4 the recipe and that was more than enough frosting for the cakes!! I agree with one of the reviewer's comment about it being quite a lot of icing and therefore very sweet, so don't think you need too much frosting on, but it makes the cakes look nice, though. I also added chocolate drops in the recipe and a touch of cinnamon.

Hells Bells

I'm going to make these tomorrow - just a quick question though - I know it says 12 cupcake cases, but roughly how full do I fill them? I don't want to use too much in the first few and have none left for the last :)

Paige Weatherall

It wont make that much of a difference the taste maybe slightly different but the consistency wont be any different I use the semi-skimmed and it still tastes amazing :)

Gail Ward

these were lovely, my girls made them and they enjoyed eating them too




cool resipe


it molly u know amy no it dosin't


always sift it first because hot chocolate powder has sugar in it too.


Are you sure you need to use that much icing sugar?!


I gave only 300g for the icing sugar on the topping because 600g seemed like way too much. I just basically halved it.

d pastry chef

the BAKING POWDER should be the ingredient responsible for making the cupcakes rise. the use of the electric whisk has nothing to do with it. check the EXPIRY DATE of your baking powder. maybe it's NOT good anymore.

d pastry chef

certainly! :) here is a TEST that you may do to see if cake is done: the TOOTHPICK test: insert a toothpick in the middle most part of the cake. if it comes out clean then cake is done.

Cerys Derrick

Hi can you use this recipe to do a big cake but alter the cooking time????


Well I just finished baking them (I used the electric whisk) and they didn't rise :(


Hi, I don't have a standing mixer but I do have an electric hand whisk and food processor but no paddle attachment, which should I use? I don't want to over-beat the mixture :( Thanks for any advice given.

d pastry chef

you don't really need an electric mixer to make this cake or any cake recipe for that matter. a wire whisk will do. it might just be a little bit tiring to do on your part. :)

d pastry chef

YES you can bake cupcakes in advance & freeze them! After baking the cupcakes let them totally cool down & wrap them individually with cling-wrap then with foil before putting them in the freezer. When you are ready to use them, let them thaw for 30 minutes to an hour remained wrapped at room temperature. You can then serve them or frost them.

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