Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes are a fast and easy dessert with a rich, silky chocolate flavor and fluffy chocolate frosting, a chocolate lover’s dream!

This easy Cupcake Recipe is made with a wonderful dark chocolate flavor. The recipe is very similar to our Rich Chocolate Cupcakes but with a more deep chocolate taste from using dark chocolate cocoa powder.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes on cutting board


If you’re a fan of rich, dark chocolate, then these are sure to be your new favorite chocolate cupcakes. These easy cupcakes are made with a gorgeous chocolate flavor by using dark chocolate cocoa powder in the cake and the amazing chocolate buttercream frosting. Along with the cocoa powder, we also use instant espresso powder in the recipe. The coffee is an important ingredient because the coffee flavor enhances the delicious, sweet flavor in the chocolate. 

Easy cupcake recipes, like this one, are always great to make for parties. You can make this recipe in a few simple steps, and they only take 30 minutes, so they’re perfect if you need a shareable dessert at the last minute. They’re also easier to serve to a crowd than a Full-Size Chocolate Cake because you don’t have to worry about slicing pieces for everyone.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes batter in cupcake tin


The dark chocolate not only gives the cupcakes a rich chocolate flavor, but it also gives the cakes an amazing dark brown color. It’s impossible not to see their dark color without thinking they’d be perfect to make into a Halloween dessert. 

You can top each chocolate cake off with Oreo cookie crumbs and gummy worms for a spooky treat. The dark chocolate color makes the cupcakes look like dirt, perfect for the gummy worm topping. These gummy worm cupcakes are always a favorite with kids!



  • Prep time: Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and lining the cupcake tin with paper liners. 
  • Cupcake batter: Add 1 cup flour, granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, salt, melted butter, canola oil, and water to your stand mixer. Turn on the mixer at low speed to combine the dry and wet ingredients. Be careful not to overmix, just stir until clumps of flour and other dry ingredients are mixed in. Next, turn the stand mixer speed to medium and add the eggs into the cupcake batter until just combined. Then add in the milk and vanilla. Continue beating the chocolate cake batter until smooth. 
  • Baking time: Use an ice cream scoop to transfer the batter from the bowl to the cupcake liners. Put the muffin tin on the center rack of the 350-degree oven to avoid uneven baking. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
  • Dark Chocolate Frosting: Add butter to a large saucepan and melt over medium heat. Then whisk in the cocoa powder and remove the butter mixture from heat. Let it cool, then pour it into your stand mixer. Whip at medium speed, while adding ⅓ cup powdered sugar and milk at a time. After adding all the sugar and milk, finish with the vanilla extract. If the frosting is too thick add another dash of milk until it reaches the right consistency. Transfer the amazing chocolate buttercream to a piping bag. Then pipe frosting over the chocolate base, and enjoy the delicious chocolate cupcakes.

Dark Chocolate Cupcake sliced in half on plate


  • Vegan chocolate cupcakes: If you’re on a vegan diet, you can make a few alterations to the recipe to enjoy vegan chocolate cupcakes. To make the cupcakes vegan, you need to replace the butter, milk, and eggs in the recipe. Your local grocery store should have vegan options for butter. For the milk, try nondairy milks like almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk. For the eggs in your vegan chocolate cupcakes, you can use applesauce, mashed banana, or flaxseed eggs. 
  • Cream cheese frosting: If you prefer, you can try making a chocolate cream cheese frosting instead of chocolate buttercream. Just add ½ cup of dark chocolate cocoa powder to the Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
  • Vanilla frosting: Another option is topping the cupcakes with vanilla frosting. This is great if you don’t want as strong of a chocolate flavor. Just use regular Buttercream Frosting without the cocoa powder. 
  • Toppings: For some great toppings, you can sprinkle the top of the cupcakes with chocolate shavings, chocolate sprinkles, or coarse sea salt. You could also break a candy bar into squares and top each cupcake off with a chocolate square. 



  • Serve: After baking, the Dark Chocolate Cupcakes can stay good at room temperature for up to 2 days. Cover them in plastic wrap to make sure that the cakes stay tender. 
  • Store: You could also transfer the cupcakes to an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 1 week. 
  • Freeze: You can seal the cupcakes to store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Since the frosting won’t freeze as well, if you plan to freeze it, freeze just the cupcakes, then defrost them overnight and make a fresh batch of frosting to top before serving.

Dark Chocolate Cupcake bit in half

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Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes are a fast and easy dessert with a rich, silky chocolate flavor and fluffy chocolate frosting, a chocolate lover's dream!
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dark Chocolate Frosting:

  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cup muffin tray with liner cups.
  • To a stand mixer add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, melted butter, canola oil, water and turn on the beater until just combined.
  • Add in the eggs until just combined, then add in the milk and vanilla beating until smooth.
  • Using an ice cream scoop fill the cups 2/3 full and bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Frosting:

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan and whisk in the cocoa powder then remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Add the cooled chocolate mixer to your stand mixer and whip on medium speed adding the powdered sugar and milk, alternating them ⅓ at a time, and finally add the vanilla in last.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add a bit more milk.
  • Add frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes.


Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 133mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 513IU | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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