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Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Butter Cream

by Christa on December 3, 2012

Post image for Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Butter Cream

Sometimes we all just need a traditional Moist Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Butter Cream. After all, that is the most popular flavor combo in the world.

These Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Butter Cream are moist, with a dark chocolate flavor and topped with the creamiest vanilla butter cream. The cupcakes are so PERFECTLY moist, which is hard to come by in a scratch chocolate cake recipe! It’s one of the best combos and is sure to please even the pickiest of cupcake eaters ๐Ÿ™‚

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MoistDark Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Butter Cream

(makes 12 cupcakes)


Moist Chocolate Cupcakes:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetenedย  cocoa powder
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Vanilla Butter Cream:

1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-3 Tablespoon heavy cream


Mini or regular sized chocolate chips




1. Prepare the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners. Place all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl or in a bowl attached to a stand mixer. Blend until all ingredients are well combined, 2-3 minutes. Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake liners.

2. Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes (careful not to overcook- that’s what dries out the cupcakes and won’t make them moist!), or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake, comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before adding the frosting.

4. For Vanilla Butter Cream: Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.

5. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, and add one Tablespoon at a time of the heavy cream until the frosting is creamy and smooth- no lumps! Use a star tip (like I did) or any technique to frost your cuppies!

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Sash February 11, 2013 at 5:53 am

Help…i follow all but mine didnt rise. But taste nice though…


Christa February 11, 2013 at 7:36 am

Hi Sash,
I would check the expiration date on your baking soda. It’s best to get new baking soda every 2-3 months as sometimes the active ingredient isn’t active anymore.
It could be that, or you might have beat the batter for too long. Hope that helps! Give it a try again ๐Ÿ™‚
-Mini Baker


yvette February 14, 2013 at 8:39 pm

I made these today for my husband. Even with the substitution I made (used applesauce instead of oil), they came out moist and rose perfectly. He loved the butter cream frosting…not too sweet.


Christa February 15, 2013 at 8:16 am

Thanks so much for writing me! I love hearing from my readers.
Glad your hubby liked the cupcakes. Happy Vday!


Linda March 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm

We made triple! portions of this for 36 cakes to share at school,and we were left with enough to get a birthday cake from the mix too. Despite substitions, yoghurt for buttermilk, butter/marg for oil and dark for light sugar, and a cup less of cocoa, it made lovely moist cakes which went down well with my 10 year old sons schoolmates! Several came back to him asking for seconds!


Christa March 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm

So glad your son & all his buddies liked them! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚


aimee March 8, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I made these and they turned out so delicious! Very moist and rich. I also loved the butter cream. Thanks for the recipe!


Christa March 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Hi Aimee,
Thanks for letting me know how they went! I love to hear from my readers ๐Ÿ™‚ So glad you enjoyed them!


Julia March 17, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Hello! If I wanted to make this recipe for 12 full sized cupcakes, how would I adjust the amounts of the ingredients?


Phaedra March 27, 2013 at 9:08 am

Im new to baking i made these last night bc i jad a sweet tooth! These were perfect!!! I made some with a different recipie and they were not as moist. I sprinkled powder sugar on mine.


Christa March 28, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I’m so happy to hear you like the recipe! It’s hard to find a good, moist chocolate cake. So I’m glad you agree this one’s a winner ๐Ÿ™‚


aidah sani April 12, 2013 at 6:43 am

the cupcakes tasted so good! it was success at first try! im thankful i came across this page! thank you!!


Tina April 26, 2013 at 7:51 am

Hi Christa
How long do you recommend baking them if I am going to make them into mini cupcakes for my sons 1st birthday party?


Christa April 30, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I bake them for 10-13 minutes and I have a conventional oven (not convection). Just check after 10 and keep an eye on them ๐Ÿ™‚


Megan May 8, 2013 at 10:56 am

Would this same recipe work as a 11 8 17 cake? I made the cupcakes a few weeks ago and this is my new favorite chocolate cupcake recipe so I’d love to prepare it as a cake.


Megan May 8, 2013 at 10:57 am

Sorry 11 x 17


cynthia May 17, 2013 at 8:12 am

Is the batter nearly watery? I’ve never worked with a batter this watery…I realize this might be what makes them turn out so light, fluffy and moist; in the oven now.


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Han JX July 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm

For some cupcake recipes, it calls for unsalted butter, however some do not need. What exactly is the difference?


Alex April 13, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Hi, I made these according to the recipe above, and they were great. I was wondering though if you think I could make them gluten-free by using Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose GF flour and some xanthan gum… I made your GF banana cupcakes last year for my son’s birthday party and everyone LOVED them. Trying to do GF again to accommodate some of the party-goers. Thanks!


Michelle January 25, 2015 at 4:56 am

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED THESE!! I made mini cupcakes and baked for 9 minutes. They were perfect. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


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