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Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

How many chocolate cake recipes does one person need?

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes 17

As of this post, I have three other chocolate cake recipes on the site. These Dark Chocolate Cupcakes will be the fourth. All four have their redeeming qualities. Chocolate Stout Cupcakes are sturdy cupcakes, almost brownie like in their texture and perfect for filling and dipping and topping. And the chocolate stout makes them a great choice for St. Patrick’s Day when it’s all about the beer. They have been dubbed by many as the best cupcake they’ve ever eaten! That’s a must try recipe. (You’ll also find that recipe baked as a full cake here.)

Then there’s Chocolate Turtle Zucchini Cake. That one is ridiculous! Soooo good! Moist chocolate cake baked with mini chocolate chips and pecans on top, then drizzled with warm caramel sauce? I’m swooning just thinking about it. Plus it has zucchini. So, there. Helps you meet your veggie quota ;)

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More recently, I shared Crazy Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. This is the crazy cake from my childhood. It’s got no dairy…no eggs, no milk, no butter. In other words, as long as you have some basic things in your pantry, you can whip up this cake whenever the mood strikes. It’s supposed to be crazy because you can mix it up in the pan you bake it in. I prefer to skip the novelty or ease of that and just mix it up in a bowl. It also ages well. I know that sounds like a strange thing to say about a cake, but I swear on day three it was better than on day one. I have a good friend who also had that same discovery. (So, now I’ve confirmed that I wasn’t imagining it.) Yep, the flavor just developed and was amazing on day three.

Chocolate Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting-5

One cake I’ve made, that I haven’t posted, is Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake. If you look at that recipe, you’ll see so many other chocolate recipes out there are quite similar to it, sometimes subbing sour cream or changing ratios. That was my “go to” chocolate cake before the blog…until I tried making larger cakes with it. You can see in my Pac Man Cake, it didn’t do as well as the other two flavors I baked up. It lost a lot of it’s texture and compressed into more of a fudgey layer. It just didn’t hold up to different sized pans and I needed that kind of flexibility. That Pac Man Cake was a huge hit, but it had less to do with that chocolate cake layer and more to do with the fact that it was like a dessert buffet all in one cake. It was such an amazing flavored cake that no one even noticed my critique of what happened to the chocolate layer. People were just raving about the overall result.

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Which brings me to these Dark Chocolate Cupcakes. This recipe works as beautifully for cupcakes as it does for 8″ pans or, if you’re me, a 16″ pan. It’s sturdier than the Hershey cake or the Crazy Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. It’s still a fluffy, moist, cake and the taste is quite similar to the olive oil cake, but it holds up better for me for a variety of projects. As an extra added bonus? This cake is also amazing on day 3. Crazy but true.

So, I love the Crazy Chocolate Olive Oil Cake as a delicious snack cake option. But this Dark Chocolate Cupcake recipe is my current “go to” if I’m making basic cupcakes or layer cakes. I decided to top the Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting!  Ugh…so good! It’s the chocolate version of our fave o’ fave Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting. I think that frosting just might change your life. Really. Try it and let me know :)

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So you see, there’s a very good reason for each of the recipes I’ve shared. And honestly, if they were all sitting on a table and I could choose any one to take a bite of right now, I don’t think I could choose which one to taste. I’d want a bite of each, for sure.

After all, we ARE talking about chocolate here, aren’t we? And where chocolate is involved…more

is definitely better.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 Tablespoons dutch process cocoa, you can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil, I used sunflower seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water, see note
  • 1/2 recipe of Chocolate Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard size, 12 cup, muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add eggs, oil and vanilla beating with an electric mixer until smooth.
  4. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth. (I find letting the water drizzle down the side of the bowl instead of just pouring it into the middle helps to eliminate some splashing.)
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans dividing evenly in the 12 cups. They will be fairly full. Mine came to about a 1/2" from the top before baking.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. (Mine took exactly 20 minutes.)
  7. Allow to cool, then frost with Chocolate Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting, or your frosting of choice.


*Different cocoas will produce very different flavors. I used my favorite is Double Dutch Dark Cocoa I noted in the ingredient list that the cocoa does not have to be dutched, you can use your favorite cocoa. However, if you want a dark chocolate cupcake, use a dark cocoa.

*This recipe is a half recipe which is why the water measurement is odd. You can easily double this to make 24 cupcakes or an 8" two layer cake.

*If you make the Chocolate Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting to top these 12 cupcakes, you'll only need a half recipe of the frosting.

*Because I frosted my cupcakes with the Chocolate Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting, they needed to be stored in the refrigerator. I kept them in a covered container and brought them out about 30 minutes before serving to come closer to room temperature.

Cupcake recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Frosting recipe from The Merchant Baker

The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2016

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

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Sunday 7th of November 2021

HI here , how do you keep the cupcakes and papers from Puckering in once cooled ? THANKS


Sunday 7th of November 2021

Hi Paul, I haven't had that problem. However, I do like to use parchment baking cups. I find that they are sturdier than your typical paper baking cups. I also like that the cake doesn't stick to them when removing the cup. I hope that helps!


Tuesday 9th of October 2018

hi what tip did you use for those cupcake?


Tuesday 9th of October 2018

Aya, I used a large star tip. This one was a Wilton 1M.


Thursday 20th of September 2018

Hi!! I love so many of your recipes. Have you tried these cupcakes with the original whipped frosting recipe vs the chocolate?


Thursday 20th of September 2018

Thanks for the kind words! And, yes, Shadora, I have made these cupcakes with the original vanilla version. It's fantastic. The truth is...I've made the original version about 100 times more than the chocolate version, just because it goes with so many things. I've used it on soooo many chocolate cupcakes. It's fantastic on pumpkin cake and carrot cake and red velvet. We love it on white cake and yellow cake. The original version is really the number one fave for all cakes/cupcakes in our house. We love the chocolate version as well, but the original is our go to most of the time.


Friday 29th of December 2017

I’m curious about the purpose of the cornstarch in these, Ive never made a cake recipe with it as an ingredient for. Please advise on reasoning for adding. Thanks! 😊


Friday 29th of December 2017

Hi Kati, I didn't actually create this cake recipe. You'll see I give credit to King Arthur Flour. That being said, I can only guess it is there to insure that the cake is tender. This recipe doesn't use cake flour, which generally is finer and has a lower protein content. Sometimes, recipes will give you a substitute for cake flour, which generally entails subbing out a small portion of the flour for cornstarch. Cornstarch works with the other ingredients to inhibit the development of gluten. Too much gluten? Tough cake. You'll see that if you add some cornstarch to your chocolate chip cookie recipe, you'll get a softer cookie. So, that's my best guess as to why it's in the recipe. I'm sure there are other food science reasons, but let me just say that it WORKS. I have made this recipe many times as cupcakes and as whole cakes and it is a very reliable, delicious and EASY cake recipe. I wouldn't leave the cornstarch out or you'd be risking a different texture of cake. I hope you try decide to try it out!


Sunday 10th of September 2017

Should the water be boiling hot? Or just at room temperature?


Sunday 10th of September 2017

You don't need hot water. Just room temperature is fine, Kerrie.

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