Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

This chocolate cupcakes recipe makes cupcakes that are very light in texture and simple to make. If you replace the water with red food colouring, they are basically red velvet cupcakes. We just prefer not to use food colouring in our house.

The cakes themselves are much lighter, and therefore more suitable for children, than our dark chocolate cakes, or even the chocolate chip cupcakes. When you are serving them as part of a larger spread, they are lovely because they are less filling. These little cakes are also very easy to make and our children regularly whip them up when they have friends calling round.

We almost always top these little cakes with chocolate frosting, and I do prefer to spoon the mixture on rather than piping it. But that's just a personal preference of course. I think they look luscious when the topping is piled on rather than piped.

You can, of course, decorate these cupcakes with smarties, chocolate flakes, or any other decoration of your choice.




Chocolate cupcakes recipe

Level: Easy
Time: 40 minutes
including cooking and cooling
Makes: 12 small cupcakes



30g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
1/2 egg
5g cocoa powder
10ml (2 tsp) water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
60ml buttermilk
75g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp white wine vinegar


Suggested Toppings

We love pile it high chocolate cream cheese topping best. These cupcakes are also delicious with chocolate ganache for a richer topping, or fluffy frosting for a light and sweet topping. If you choose to top them with the chocolate ganache, you will need to make the topping about an hour and a half before you make the chocolate cupcakes.


If you do make them into red velvet cupcakes, the fluffy frosting topping would be my personal choice, or alternatively, you could use the easy cream cheese frosting as shown here. This is simply the chocolate cream cheese topping, but leave out the chocolate and use a 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract instead.


  • Pre-heat the oven to 325F, gas mark 3.

  • Put the butter and sugar together in a bowl and whisk with a hand-held whisk until light and fluffy and well mixed.

  • With the whisk on a high speed, gradually add the egg.

  • Add the cocoa powder, water and vanilla extract and whisk until incorporated.

  • Add half the flour and whisk until all the flour is mixed in.

  • Now add half the buttermilk and whisk.

  • Add the last of the flour and whisk.

  • Then add the last of the buttermilk and whisk.

  • Finally, add the salt, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and the vinegar. Whisk for 2 minutes to get fully aerated.

  • Pour into the cupcake paper cases to two thirds full and put in the centre of the oven for 18-20 minutes. The cakes will spring back when lightly pressed with your finger.

  • Remove the cakes when cooked and leave them to completely cool on a wire rack before topping

Serve with

Chocolate cupcakes are delicious served with hot chocolate for a lovely afternoon snack.

As part of a full spread, try serving them alongside a selection of finger sandwiches, snickerdoodle cookies, cream puffs and English Breakfast tea or Rooibos if you prefer herbal.


If you thought this Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe was delicious,
maybe you'd enjoy our Vanilla Cupcake Recipe.