Let's Bake

Small Batch Chocolate Cupcake recipe

Yield 6 cupcakes 1x
Prep: 30 minutesCook: 18 minutesTotal: 48 minutes

Six perfect Chocolate Cupcakes made from scratch.


Chocolate cupcakes

  • 70 grams (1/2 cup) plain flour or all purpose flour
  • 20 grams (1/4 cup) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 75 grams (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) grapeseed oil or flavourless oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) full fat buttermilk
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) hot water
  • 40 grams (1/4 cup) chocolate chips, optional

White chocolate frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Line a standard 6-hole muffin pan or a 12-hole muffin pan with six cupcake liners. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt. Give it a mix using a spatula or whisk.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, add oil, vanilla, egg and buttermilk. Stir with a fork just to break up the egg yolk. 
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and start to stir gently. Pour in hot water and stir until a smooth chocolate batter forms. 
  5. Stir through chocolate chips, if using. Spoon out batter into prepared pan, ensuring each hole is approximately three-quarters full.
  6. Bake cupcakes for approximately 16-18 minutes or until they spring back lightly to the touch. Remove from pan and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. 
  7. To frost, use my White Chocolate Buttercream or your frosting of choice. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (I used a 6mm round tip) with buttercream. 
  8. Pipe buttercream onto each cupcake, using a teaspoon to spread it out and make small divets here and there. Scatter over sprinkles. 


Cocoa powder: You can use either natural unsweetened 100% cocoa or Dutch processed cocoa. I’ve use Dutch processed cocoa in the cupcakes pictured.

Grapeseed oil: Grapeseed oil works really well in this recipe and leaves no aftertaste. If you don’t have it on hand, vegetable oil or any other flavourless oil will work.

Buttermilk: Use full fat buttermilk if you can. A buttermilk substitute will work but store-bought full fat buttermilk will produce the best results. Alternatively, you could use full fat natural or Greek yogurt. For the buttermilk substitute, add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice to 1/4 cup of full fat or whole milk. Leave it sit for 1-2 minutes and then use as per recipe. 

Hot water: I recommend boiling the kettle when you are ready to start baking. Pour out 1/4 cup of water and let it sit at room temperature while you prepare your ingredients. Alternatively, you can use water from the tap if it gets very hot. 

Chocolate chips: Adding chocolate chips is optional. You can use any chocolate chips you like or simply leave them out. 

Make ahead: You can make these cupcakes a day in advance. They keep well and stay moist and tender. Any longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze them. Then just defrost or bring back to room temperature before decorating and serving. 

Storage: Unfrosted cupcakes themselves will keep well at room temperature in an airtight container. Once frosted, you can store any leftover cupcakes in the fridge. Bring them back to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 cupcake Calories: 561 Sugar: 54.7 g Sodium: 88.8 mg Fat: 32.4 g Carbohydrates: 67.4 g Protein: 4.6 g Cholesterol: 76 mg
Nutrition information is a guide only.
Author: Jessica HolmesCategory: CakeCuisine: American
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