Easy Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

My go-to recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes which are easy, economical and absolutely delicious! The batter is made in one step in the food processor! These cupcakes are perfect for birthdays and bake sales, and they are great with this quick and easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. Full recipe with step-by-step photos, plus tips on baking large batches of cupcakes.

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting on marble table

Easy Chocolate Cupcakes

If you need a chocolate cupcake recipe which is easy, no frills, no fuss, this is the only chocolate cupcake recipe you need!

These are the chocolate cupcakes which I make for birthday parties, school bake sales, end-of-year parties at work, when my kids tell me the night before that they nominated me to bake 3 dozen cupcakes for the school fête. That sort of thing. And I don’t complain, nor do I break into a sweat, because I have baked these cupcakes so often that I know the cupcakes will work out great each time, and that everyone will love them.

The best part, of course, is seeing all the kids enjoy these chocolate cupcakes, and when parents and teachers come to tell me how delicious the cupcakes are, as well as to ask for the recipe. The latter, for me, is always a big compliment!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Just put all of the ingredients into the food processor, blitz, and your batter is made!
  • This recipe is great for doubling or tripling (or more!), for those times when you are in cupcake-factory-mode.
  • The cupcake batter contains sour cream to help keep the cupcakes moist, so you can make the cupcakes the day before serving.
  • The chocolate buttercream frosting uses butter, icing sugar(powdered sugar) and cocoa powder, so it is very economical (great if you are making a large batch).
chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting with sprinkles

Easy Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

This chocolate cupcake recipe is adapted from my recipe for Easy Chocolate Cake, which is my go-to chocolate cake recipe for birthdays and celebrations. It is, in turn, adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Sour Cream Chocolate Cake, which is a two-layer chocolate cake, perfect for special occasions and when you have a bit more time up your sleeves to make a layer cake.

The reason why I love this chocolate cake recipe so much is because it uses sour cream in the batter, which helps to create a moist cake with a tender crumb. And moist cakes keep for longer, which means I can make the cake 1-2 days in advance and know that the cake will taste just as great (if not better) as if it been made fresh on the day of serving.

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting with coloured sprinkles

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

For my chocolate cupcakes, I like to make a simple chocolate buttercream frosting. This is especially if I am making a large batch of cupcakes (2 or 3 dozen), or if I know I am serving children who won’t know (or care) if I had used chocolate with 70% cocoa or crème frâiche from Normandy.

My recipe for chocolate buttercream frosting uses butter, icing sugar (powdered sugar) and cocoa powder. There is no fancy melted chocolate – just good quality, unsweetened cocoa powder.

Of course, if you are serving special and esteemed guests, I highly recommend the chocolate sour cream frosting which I always make with my Easy Chocolate Cake.

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting on table

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Step 1

Place all of the ingredients for the chocolate cake into the large bowl of a food processor.

ingredients for chocolate cupcakes in food processor

Step 2

Simply blitz the ingredients together until you have a thick and smooth batter.

chocolate cupcake batter in food processor

Step 3

Line a 12 hole cupcake pan with paper cases (this recipe makes 12-15 cupcakes, depending on the size of your pan).

Divide the batter evenly between the paper cases, and use a small off-set spatula to gently spread the batter in the paper cases.

chocolate cupcakes before going into oven

Step 4

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180°C (350°F) (without fan), or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

baked chocolate cupcakes on baking tray

How to Make Mini Chocolate Cupcakes

Follow the same recipe below as for larger cupcakes.

Line a mini cupcake pan with paper cases. Mini cupcake pans vary in size, but the recipe below makes 24-30 mini cupcakes.

For mini cupcakes, bake for 12-15 minutes at 180°C (350°F) (without fan), or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Step 1

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the flat paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is pale yellow in colour and lightly whipped.

beaten butter in white bowl

Step 2

Slowly beat in the icing sugar (powdered sugar), one tablespoon at a time. Keep beating until all of the icing sugar is incorporated.

vanilla buttercream frosting in white mixing bowl

Step 3

Beat in the sifted cocoa powder. For this recipe (and all baking recipes), I recommend using the best quality, unsweetened cocoa powder.

chocolate buttercream frosting with cocoa powder

Step 4

Then add the vanilla extract and hot water. Keep beating until the frosting is thick and smooth.

chocolate buttercream frosting in white mixing bowl

Tips for Making Chocolate Cupcakes in Large Batches

When making large batches of cupcakes, I am always looking for ways to make the process efficient and stress-free.

Here are my tips for making cupcakes in large batches:

  1. I recommend making the batter in two or more batches at a time. Much depends on the capacity of your food processor. My food processor has a 3 litre/12 cup capacity, which is just enough to make a double batch of this recipe.
  2. Make all of the cupcakes first. Once all of the cupcakes are baked and cooled, you can then frost them all at the same time.
  3. Ideally, you should have multiple cupcake pans (at least two sets) so that while one is being used in the oven, another is available for the next batch.
  4. Make sure you have enough wire racks to cool all of the cupcakes.
  5. When frosting the cupcakes, I recommend frosting 6 or so at a time before adding the sprinkles or decorations. The frosting needs to be moist (and not set) so that the sprinkles can adhere properly.
  6. Use disposable piping bags* to pipe the cupcake batter. An ice-cream scoop works well too, but I find piping the batter to be quicker, plus I don’t need to level out the batter with a spatula afterwards.
  7. Use disposable piping bags to pipe the frosting. For large batches, I don’t usually bother with piping nozzles; I simply snip off the ends to pipe smooth swirls on the cupcakes.
  8. If you find yourself making cupcakes regularly to bring to school or elsewhere, I highly recommend investing in a proper cupcake carrier, which can also double as a regular cake carrier or other food carrier. If you have gone to the trouble of nicely frosting your cupcakes, you want them to stay nice and intact at their destination. My cupcake carrier gets used a few times a year, but I regularly lend it to friends and neighbours, so it has been a good investment.

* I do my best to be environmentally friendly and try to avoid using disposable plastic bags. But for the few times a year when I have to do a lot of intensive baking in a short period, finding ways to cut down on the dishwashing (which has its own environmental impact) helps to maintain my sanity.

easy chocolate cupcakes on marble tray

More Cupcake Recipes

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Print

Easy Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12-15 cupcakes
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Australian, American, British

My go-to recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes which are easy, economical and absolutely delicious! They are perfect for birthdays and bake sales, and they are great with this quick and easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cupcakes

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Instructions

To make the Chocolate Cupcakes

Make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature before starting.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (without fan).
  2. Line a 12 hole cupcake pan with paper cases (this recipe makes 12-15 cupcakes, depending on the size of your pans).
  3. Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until the mixture is well-combined. The batter should be thick and smooth.
  4. Alternatively, if you do not have a food processor:
    • Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the flat paddle attachment.
    • Slowly beat in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    • Beat on low speed until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
    • In a small bowl or jug, lightly whisk together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla.
    • Slowly add the wet ingredients to the mixer, and beat until the batter is thoroughly mixed.
  5. Divid the batter evenly between the paper cases. I like to use an ice-cream scoop for this task.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  1. Place the butter into the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
  2. Using the flat paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is pale yellow and lightly whipped.
  3. Beat in the icing sugar (powdered sugar) one tablespoon at a time.
  4. Beat in the cocoa powder.
  5. Keep beating until you have a smooth mixture.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and hot water.
  7. Beat until the frosting is smooth.

To assemble the Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Fit a large star nozzle into a large piping bag. You can also omit the nozzle for a smooth, piped frosting.
  2. Fill the piping bag with the frosting.
  3. Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.
  4. Decorate the cupcakes as you wish. If you are using sprinkles, add them while the frosting is still moist, otherwise the sprinkles will not adhere to the frosting.
  5. Alternatively, skip the piping bag and instead spread some frosting onto each cupcake with a small spatula.

Kitchen Notes

MAKE AHEAD TIPS
The cupcakes can be 1-2 days before serving. Simply keep them covered and at room temperature. The frosted cupcakes also keep well for several days, covered and at room temperature.

QUANTITY OF FROSTING
This recipe makes enough frosting to pipe 15 cupcakes as shown in the photos. I used a 9 mm star nozzle in these photos. If you plan to use a larger nozzle or to use even more frosting on the cupcakes, I recommend making extra frosting (maybe 1.5 times the recipe).

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

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2 comments

  1. Alicia 29 August 2022

    I was going to make your Easy Chocolate Cake recipe but then saw that you just posted your cupcake recipe. These are simply the best! Very chocolately and addictive with the chocolate buttercream frosting. And honestly so easy to make with the food processor. Love it!

    Reply
  2. Brad 31 August 2022

    I was doubtful about putting everything into the food processor but it really works! The cupcakes tasted amazing – no one could believe that I made these for my daughter’s birthday celebration at school. Even I couldn’t believe how good they were! What a brilliant recipe.

    Reply