Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

The perfect cupcake for any chocolate lover! Ultimate chocolate cupcakes are deliciously moist with a delicate crumb. Swirled high with an ultra creamy milk chocolate frosting. 


These chocolate cupcakes definitely live up to their name and as the title describes, they are ultimately good. I’ll never need to find a new chocolate cupcake recipe ever again and neither will you.

Made with combination of dark chocolate and cocoa powder for intense chocolate flavour. I usually just add cocoa powder to my chocolate cupcake, but this time I wanted to elevate the flavour by adding even more chocolate to the mix!

The cake itself has a perfect crumb texture. It’s rich, chocolaty and fluffy and will stay moist for days without becoming dry. The cupcakes when baked have a perfect domed appearance, which is something quite hard to find with most cupcake recipes.


The next step is to make the frosting. It wouldn’t be a cupcake without the buttercream after all!

These cupcakes will pretty much suit any frosting you could think of. This time I went for a classic milk chocolate buttercream. My milk chocolate buttercream recipe is unbelievably delicious and extremely simple to prepare.

To make it, cream the butter until softened and then add icing sugar. I get a lot of questions from readers asking me to help with their buttercream dilemmas. The most common question is regarding the texture of buttercream, for example why it’s grainy and not smooth. My top tip is to sift your icing sugar for the best buttercream free of any lumps and also remember to add the icing sugar in batches to ensure even mixing. 

Continue to mix the butter and icing sugar for about two minutes or until the frosting is fluffy and has lightened in colour. Finally, add the cream, vanilla and the melted chocolate and beat until smooth. 

This buttercream has just the right balance of sweetness and isn’t too rich. You can see from the pictures how creamy and smooth it is. I did in fact eat a few spoonfuls from the bowl before decorating the cupcakes.

I’m addicted to this frosting and now these chocolate cupcakes. I cannot wait to bake my next batch!


(Makes 12)


Chocolate Cupcakes:

85g (3 ounces) dark chocolate, finely chopped

40g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or powder (optional)

180ml (3/4 cup) boiling water

105g (3/4 cup) bread flour (can be substituted with plain/all-purpose flour)

150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Milk Chocolate Buttercream:

227g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

300g (3 cups) icing sugar (confectioners), sifted

4 tablespoons (60ml) double cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

175g (6 ounces) milk chocolate, melted and cooled


  1. To make the cupcakes: Place the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee granules/powder (if using) in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over and whisk until smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda until thoroughly combined. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into the now cooled chocolate mixture. Finally, add the dry ingredients and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Divide the batter between the paper cases – I find using an ice cream scoop best for doing this as it makes less mess. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. To make the buttercream: Cream the butter for about a minute or two to soften. Now add the sifted icing in two batches and beat for another 2 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and light. Add the cream and vanilla and beat again until combined.
  5. Finally mix in the melted chocolate. Frost and decorate the cupcakes as desired. The cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • Use the best quality chocolate you can afford.
  • If you’re not a fan of coffee you can substitute the coffee with water. You can’t really taste the coffee, but it intensifies the chocolate flavour.
  • When making the frosting remember to sift your icing sugar and add the sugar in batches to ensure you create a smooth textured frosting.
  • Feel free to decorate the cupcakes with a different frosting flavour like classic vanilla or something fruity like strawberry or raspberry.

Chocolate cupcake recipe based on Cook’s Illustrated, buttercream recipe by What Jessica Baked Next



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Nutella Cupcakes

Rich chocolate fudge cupcakes topped with creamy Nutella buttercream frosting. You will be baking these gorgeous cupcakes over and over again!


I first shared a Nutella cupcake recipe in the first few months after I started my blog. I remember I spent years baking cupcakes and experimenting with buttercream recipes. This frosting is pure heaven for any Nutella lover. It has an a gorgeous light Nutella flavour and it doesn’t distract or overpower chocolate flavour of the cupcakes, making this combo a heavenly match.

The recipe comes with a warning. You will probably devour it before you even get a chance to ice the cupcakes. I piped a beautiful swirl of frosting onto each cupcake, using my favourite open star nozzle – I love the fact the icing has the look and texture of whippy/soft serve ice cream!


After swirling each cupcake with the heavenly buttercream I decorated each cupcake with chocolate sprinkles and Ferrero Rocher chocolates. I also decorated a few of the cupcakes which weren’t pictured with chopped toasted hazelnuts but feel free to decorate in any way that takes your fancy. I love decorating these with chocolate M&M’s or fresh raspberries.


(Makes 12)


Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes – 

1 cup (120g) plain flour (all-purpose)

1 cup + 2 tbsp (225g) granulated sugar

1/3 cup (35g) cocoa powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup (120g) unsalted butter, melted and still warm 

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature 

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup (120ml) freshly brewed coffee or boiling water

Nutella Buttercream – 

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (150g) unsalted butter, softened

3 cups (300g) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

200g Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread

3-4 tbsp double cream or milk


  1. To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a cupcake tin with 10-12 paper liners and set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt until combined.
  2. Add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
  3. Add half the boiling water/coffee and continue to beat the mixture.
  4. Add the remaining water and continue to beat until smooth. Equally distribute the cupcake batter between the paper liners, filling 2/3 of the way up – I use an ice cream scoop to do this or you can use a pouring jug.
  5. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out completely clean when inserted into the centre of the cupcake. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully remove and place on a wire rack to finish cooling fully.
  6. To make the frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the softened butter, mix on a low speed to soften slightly.
  7. Add the icing sugar and starting on a low speed mix until the butter and sugar are combined. Then turn the speed up to medium and beat for 5-7 minutes or until creamy and fluffy. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the mixer halfway through to ensure even mixing.
  8. Now add the Nutella and cream and beat until combined.
  9. To decorate the cupcakes: Fit a disposable piping bag with your favourite piping nozzle. Fill the bag with the frosting. Pipe even swirls of the frosting on each cupcake.
  10. Finish with a choice of chocolate sprinkles, Ferrero Rocher chocolates or chopped toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy!


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