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These really are the best ever super moist chocolate cupcakes. Made from scratch with cocoa powder, they are deeply chocolatey, perfectly fluffy, and with a slightly domed top. And dare I say it? These homemade, moist chocolate cupcakes are way better than any boxed cake mix, with the same super moist crumb and texture that you know you love.

Unfrosted chocolate cupcakes in a cupcake pan and cupcake liners.

This is the be all, end all, of chocolate cupcake recipes. Your days of resorting to a cake mix can be a thing of the past. If you love making desserts from scratch and have been searching for the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe, your search is over.

I know these are big claims, but honestly, I feel like I have tried every chocolate cupcake recipe on the planet.

And while there are many good chocolate cupcake recipes out there, this one is hands down the best chocolate cupcake recipe ever. I’m pretty confident you will agree.

These cupcakes are the perfect thing to pair with the homemade rainbow chip frosting recipe I posted about the other day. Or the best chocolate buttercream you’ve ever tasted. And I have a salted caramel frosting recipe coming your way soon as well that is amazing with these cupcakes.

A chocolate cupcake with salted caramel frosting with a bite taken out of it.

Important Notes About Making Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes From Scratch

The recipe calls for hot water, which is super important to achieving super moist chocolate cupcakes with an intense chocolate flavor.

It doesn’t have to be boiling, but it needs to be really hot because the heat is going to react with the cocoa powder, causing it to “bloom”, which brings out as much chocolate flavor as possible from the cocoa powder.

The hot water is also going to create a pretty thin batter, too. Don’t be alarmed by that!

The thin batter is going to allow the baking powder and baking soda in the batter to really do their magic and the cupcakes will rise and dome beautifully, with a wonderful texture thanks to all the scientific magic going on behind the scenes.

Chocolate cake batter in a bowl with a batter covered beater dripping batter back into the bowl.

One final note – be sure to only fill the cupcake liners halfway full! Not 3/4 or even 2/3 full. Just half.

It is going to seem strange and like there is not nearly enough batter in each cupcake liner, but just trust me on this one. There is so much lift to the thin batter that if the cupcake liners are too full, the cupcakes will overflow and you won’t get that beautiful, domed cupcake shape that is the hallmark of perfect cupcakes.

Plus, the top edges will get crisp and stick to the pan and the cupcake centers are probably going to sink. So just halfway full, m’kay?

Ribbon of chocolate cake batter being poured from the bowl into cupcake liners halfway full before baking.

Using This Chocolate Cupcake Recipe to Make a Cake

Yes, you can absolutely use this recipe to make a super moist chocolate cake instead of cupcakes. Just keep the following in mind if that’s the route you decide to go:

  1. This recipe only makes 14-16 cupcakes which is the same as one square baking dish or 9-inch round cake layer. If you are trying to make a cake in a large rectangular baking dish or create a two layer cake, you would have to double the recipe. Which is easy enough using the “Servings” feature in the recipe card below – just hover over the number next to “Servings” and a slider will appear that lets you adjust the number you want to obtain from the recipe. All of the measurements will automatically adjust for you, based on the number of cupcakes you want to make.
  2. The oven temperature stays the same, but the baking time will change since individual cupcakes cook faster than cakes cooked in larger pans. Cakes cooked in two 9-inch baking pans should take about 30-35 minutes to fully bake, but just be sure to test the center of each cake with a toothpick or sharp knife to test for doneness before taking your cake layers out of the oven.

Domed moist chocolate cupcakes in a cupcake pan before being frosted.

More Cake & Cupcake Recipes You’ll Love

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield: 14 cupcakes

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

These really are the best, super moist chocolate cupcakes ever.  Made from scratch with cocoa powder, they are deeply chocolatey, perfectly fluffy, and with a domed top.  These homemade chocolate cupcakes are way better than any boxed cake mix, with the same moist crumb and texture that you know and love.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup very hot water


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and whisk together.  
  3. Combine the egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in another bowl and whisk together.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix using a stand mixer until combined.
  5. Add the hot water to the batter and mix again, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, until combined.  Batter will be thin.
  6. Fill cupcake liners half full, then bake for 18-21 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs when used to test a cupcake.
  7. Cool completely before frosting.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 173 Saturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 14mg Sodium: 137mg Carbohydrates: 23g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 14g Protein: 2g