Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Dark chocolate cupcake being held in the air

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Decadent dark chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate cream cheese frosting. A special treat for your special someone!




  • ¾ cup cake flour or all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ½ cup dark cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk or chocolate milk


  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch coarse salt (optional)
  • ¼ cup crushed walnuts, for decorating (optional)


To make the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder (if using), baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large glass mixing bowl with a hand mixer), beat the oil and sugar together until fluffy. Add one egg at a time and beat until light in color. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. While beating on low speed, alternate adding ⅓ of the dry ingredient mixture and ⅓ of the milk into the bowl with the oil/sugar mixture, ending with milk, mixing just until incorporated.
  5. Use a measuring cup or cookie scoop and fill each cupcake liner about ¾ of the way full. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let slightly cool, then remove from each cupcake from the muffin tin and set on a wire rack to completely cool.

To make the frosting:

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring the chocolate in between each, until it’s melted.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together the softened butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate. Add ¼ cup of the powdered sugar at a time and whip until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt (if using).
  3. Pipe or slather frosting on top of each cupcake and top each with crushed walnuts (if using).


Baking Tip: It is not required to sift the flour and cocoa powder, but it does yield a more tender cupcake. Use a fine mesh strainer or flour sifter, if you have one. Or, you can use cake flour instead of all-purpose.

Nutrition Note: Yes, dark chocolate is good for you. No, these cupcakes are not light or low calorie. They are meant to be enjoyed as a treat. 🙂