Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

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This mouthwatering moist chocolate cupcake recipe is a homemade chocolate cupcake topped with a silky chocolate cream cheese frosting. The chocolate cupcake just melts in your mouth, it’s a light and fluffy cake that stays moist for days. This will be your new go-to chocolate cupcake recipe.

A dark chocolate cupcake is unwrapped sitting on a white board surrounded by sprinkles

Everyone needs a go-to chocolate cupcake, one that makes your mouth water, one that you inhale so fast you hardly stop to take a breath.

Look no further my friends. These Moist Chocolate Cupcakes are seriously insane. They are light and fluffy and stay moist for days. Seriously you guys, no other cupcake recipe can compare.

This homemade cupcake recipe is easy to follow. It’s an oil-based chocolate cupcake, so it’s also very quick to put together. There’s no waiting for butter to soften and no creaming butter and sugar together either.

A close up shot of a chocolate cupcake with a silky chocolate frosting

I’ve tested this recipe numerous times before I chose on the final recipe. The first time I made it, I thought it was absolutely perfect, and I thought that I’d try a few other variations just to be sure I had the right one.

I could not stop thinking about how much I loved that first version.  It reminds me of my favorite doctored cake mix. The chocolate flavors isn’t overly sweet or intense, which is kinda of nice because once you add the frosting, it’s the perfect balance.

Speaking of the frosting. Do you remember the Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting I shared recently? Yeah, we’re doing that again.

A big bite is taken out of a chocolate cupcake showing all the air bubbles inside

If you don’t love cream cheese frosting (I mean really though), then you might try my chocolate fudge frosting or my best chocolate frosting. All good contenders, but the chocolate cream cheese frosting is by far my favorite.

It light, and airy and whipped to absolute perfection.

Let me share a few tips with you.

A gorgeous double chocolate cupcake with chocolate sprinkles

How to make these Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

  • First mix together the granulated sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract.
  • Next, the recipe calls for sour cream, specifically I use light sour cream. It helps maintain the moisture in the cupcakes without making it overly dense. It cannot be omitted, however is can be substituted with non-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Then comes the dry ingredients. I recommend sifting the flour and cocoa powder at the very least. I use a sieve instead of my sifted, just something to break up the clumps of flour and cocoa powder.
  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl including the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then we are going to alternate half the dry ingredients with half of the wet ingredients which allows the dry ingredients to combine in the batter without over mixing.

A piping bag fitted with a large piping tip is frosting a dark chocolate cupcake

  • For the wet ingredients, we’re using brewed coffee. No, your cake will not taste like coffee. The coffee flavor simply enhances the chocolate flavor of this cake.
  • If you absolutely cannot use coffee, then I would recommend milk.
  • Once all your ingredients are combine, use a large cookie scoop to divide the batter between your cupcake liners. The batter will be quite thin, but try your best not to overfill them.
  • You might also find it helpful to remix the batter when you get towards the bottom where the extra oil and eggs like to hang out.

Three chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting on a white rimmed plate

This recipe for Moist Chocolate Cupcakes makes a solid 24 cupcakes. If you’re more interested in a traditional 9×13-inch cake, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. My Super Moist Chocolate Cake recipe is the same recipe, just with a reduced amount of frosting.

I hope you make these Moist Chocolate Cupcakes and you love them as much as I do!

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Three chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting on a white rimmed plate

Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes


This mouthwatering moist chocolate cupcake recipe is a homemade chocolate cupcake topped with a silky chocolate cream cheese frosting.


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 ½ cups (285g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118 ml) light sour cream
  • 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (55 g) natural cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon (5g) espresso powder (optional)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (9 g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cup (355 ml) brewed coffee

For the frosting:

  • ¾ cups (6 oz) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup +2 tablespoons (69g) cocoa powder
  • 6 cups (780 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk or heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) pure vanilla extract


  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color.
  3. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Then add half the dry ingredients followed by half of the coffee and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
  5. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the remaining coffee and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  6. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.
  8. For the frosting: Cut the butter into 1-inch blocks. Beat the butter for 1-2 minutes until it is slightly softened.
  9. Then add the cream cheese and cream together for 2-3 minutes until they are fluffy and free of lumps, scape down the bowl occasionally.
  10. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla extract and beat until well combined,
  11. Next, add the confectionary sugar 2 cups at a time, followed by one tablespoon of heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract and beat for 60-90 seconds until completely smooth.
  12. Add the remaining powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream and beat until desired consistency, at least 2 minutes.
  13. In a large piping bag fitted with a large open star pipping tip, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Keep in an airtight container.


  • Sour cream: If you need to substitute the sour cream, use nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • Coffee: If you need to substitute the coffee, use milk
  • To make this as a single layer cake you’ll want to see my Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe
  • To make this as a layer cake, you’ll want to see my Chocolate Cake Recipe
  • Make Ahead of time: These can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container. You can freeze the prepared cupcakes, stored in an airtight container, thaw overnight in the fridge, then bring to room temperature before frosting. I recommend frosting the day you’re serving.
  • Frosting options: If you don’t like cream cheese frosting, you can top these with vanilla frosting, or my chocolate buttercream.
Nutrition Information:
1 cupcake
  • Category: Cupcake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Chocolate Cupcake Recipe, Cupcake Recipe, cupcake recipe without butter, Easy Cupcake Recipe, Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, Cream Cheese Frosting

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37 Responses
  1. Danica

    I LOOOOOOVED IT agaiiiiin! I made these and put a Giotto into each muffin form hole and the moist strong chocolate taste together with the Giotto surprise was an absolute hit!

    I used the vanilla frosting instead, as I wanted to try colouring my frosting. Btw, is there a trick to colour chocolate frosting?

    Thank you a thousand times for sharing the recipe!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Danica- YEAH! So glad you liked these! For the chocolate frosting, what color are you looking to achieve. Usually I only add brown or black food coloring if I am trying to get a black frosting. Otherwise the color naturally comes from the cocoa powder.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Rita, yes I have tested these will melted butter and it does bake fine, the consistency of the cake is a little different. I prefer the oil, it makes for a more delicate crumb.

  2. Melissa Deen

    Just made this recipe. Cake was moist and delicious. My only issue was the coffee gave a slightly bitter aftertaste. Can I opt the coffee and use something else?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Melissa, I am not sure it was the coffee as much as the cocoa powder you used perhaps. I recommend hot water or milk, or a combination of the two. Milk will produce a denser cupcake and not quite as fluffy

  3. Faith

    Great post! I just came across your page and I have to get some baking done. I don’t have light sour cream only the original one would it affect my cake and if yes how do I tweak it so I can bake and get the same results you got? Thank you

  4. Marta @ Foodaciously

    Hi Julianne, thanks for sharing this recipe! I usually use just cocoa in the batter and this was the first time I made them also with coffee; they were so delicious 😀 I will definitely bake more soon. Thanks!

  5. Cyndi

    Hello I made your chocolate cake and homemade cream cheese frosting . First the Cake was extremely thick and dense and not light and fluffy like you suggested. Therefore I tweaked you’re recipe and omitted the egg yolks and only used the egg whites . Complete perfection after I made that little change . I highly recommend everyone to omit egg yolks when baking a cake . If you’re looking for a very light fluffy and airy cake this is the way to go I promise you

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Cyndi, I can’t imagine this cake as dense and thick, is it perhaps over mixing of the batter or over baking? You are correct that egg whites will make the ultimate light and airy cake such as a white cake or angle food. I have not prepared this recipe with egg whites only but I am glad it worked out for you!

  6. Evelynmaria

    Instead of Hot Coffee, can I swap it out for hot chocolate? I have never tried this but I saw a post from, The cake blog and they did a Hot chocolate cake and used hot chocolate instead of water or coffee. Do you think this would dry out the cake, and if I can should I do it with water or Milk????

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Personally I prefer 24 for the BEST results, but for 12 cupcake, you can half the ingredients and use 2 eggs and 2/3 cup of milk. It makes about 14 cupcakes.

  7. Anne Marie

    I’m really looking forward to making this and will surely update once I do. Just curious though (and trying to save myself a trip to the grocery), can I substitute regular sour cream for light sour cream or will this adversely affect the overall results?

  8. Kakeladi

    Thanks for this recipe. I can’t wait to try it. I don’t have a coffee maker. Will the old fashioned way of making coffee…. boiling water work for the recipe?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Yep! I actually don’t have a coffee maker either, I use a French press, This will be fine. You can also purchase cold brew or already prepared coffee as well.

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