The Best Chocolate Cupcakes + Happy 5th Birthday, Greyson Ares!

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These are the best chocolate cupcakes ever: moist, fluffy bites of chocolate goodness that are incredibly easy to make. These from scratch chocolate cupcakes come out of the oven in under 30 minutes and are topped with an easy, fluffy Italian meringue.

Chocolate cupcake in red wrapper in forefront, chocolate cupcakes on plate and cake table in background, all covered in Italian meringue and rainbow sprinkles on Sweet Tea and Thyme |

Greyson Ares turns five today. He asked for cupcakes.

He's been in cupcake heaven all weekend: class birthday party on Friday, mommy's chocolate cupcakes since Saturday morning.

Vanilla cupcakes today, because Brian doesn't do chocolate and Greyson doesn't care what flavor they are, as long as he has cupcakes.

I mean, what's better than one big cake? A ton of small ones.

Overhead shot of chocolate cupcakes in red wrappers topped with swirls of Italian meringue on cupcakes and on whisk on Sweet Tea and Thyme |


I actually was a little nervous bringing cupcakes to the blog.

I'm no pastry chef, and I don't want to give you guys anything but the best I can give. Baking is a science, it involves a lot of chemistry and ingredients that must be at peak freshness or your entire batch fails.

I wanted to make sure that the cupcake is easy to make, with a moist, light, fluffy, sponge (cake), that wouldn't take up a lot of mom's time, and be totally 100% amazing not only to a crowd of kids but to, say, your church's bible study group or your mother in law.

Whew, that's a lot of pressure!

Chocolate cupcakes on cake stand piled high with Italian meringue garnished with rainbow sprinkles on Sweet Tea and Thyme |

So let's go over this cupcake recipe: there's no creaming of butter, no sifting of ingredients, no need for a stand mixer or any fancy equipment. Two bowls, one whisk and a spatula are going to be your BFFs.

In this recipe we are using oil as the fat, which leads to a tender, moist crumb, and natural cocoa powder because we aren't using baking powder and Dutch processed cocoa doesn't react to baking soda, it's a neutral ingredient. That can make your chocolate cupcakes flat and dense, instead of light and spongy. We're adding two things that I found bring a touch of dimension to your chocolate in your chocolate cupcake: coffee, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Neither will overpower the chocolate or turn the cupcake from a chocolate cupcake into a mocha or 'spicy' cupcake, but just amplify and add dimension to the chocolate so it's not just a 'one note' taste.

Chocolate cupcakes topped with Italian meringue on wooden board, plates, and cake stand on Sweet Tea and Thyme |

Now, when you make this batter, you're going to think "What did I do wrong?" or "What kind of foolishness are you trying to pull on me?" because it's thin.

Like, very thin. Like soup.

And then you'll see I only have the temperature at 300 degrees F. And you're going to think it's a typo, but it's not. And you're going to look at your chocolate soup and feel your barely warm 300 degree F oven and you're going to be like, "There's no way this is gonna work. At. All."

Chocolate cupcakes with Italian meringue frosting and lots of rainbow sprinkles on a plate on Sweet Tea and Thyme |

Then you're going to read to only fill the liners half way. And then you're probably going to be like "I've wasted ingredients. What is she talking about? How is this going to make me any type of cupcake?"

But I want you to trust me. Trust me, and when these come out great, I want you to send me a photo of them on Instagram. Seriously. share how amazing your cupcakes are. Be proud. Then devour them.

Moist chocolate cupcake with Italian meringue with its wrapper peeled off on Sweet Tea and Thyme |

The cake itself is so rich and chocolatey, so moist and light, that I ate three by themselves (unfrosted) at 11:30 pm on Friday night.

And I was like "I'm living my best life"/"This is the epitome of adulting: working and eating chocolate cupcakes at midnight for my son's birthday and my business." and "These cupcakes are tax deductible?!" (I was reading some business articles).

Look, don't judge me for my midnight cupcake thoughts, y'all. Or that I ate three of them in one go. They were delicious and I was enjoying my 'my house is quiet and I'm finally getting alone time' sweet tooth.

These were perfect Friday night. And on Saturday morning. And Sunday afternoon. Because they stayed so moist all weekend. These cupcakes aren't over-baked and crumbly and dry, noooooo. These are absolutely perfect even on day 2 and day 3. The low cooking temperature made sure that these wouldn't end up overcooked and crunchy on top or underbaked inside, and filling the liners halfway ensured there was no overflowing or sinking in the center. These cupcakes are the

Chocolate cupcake in red wrapper topped with a lot of fluffy Italian meringue on Sweet Tea and Thyme |

As for the came from necessity. I had ran out of butter and I was lazy and didn't want to go to the store. So Italian meringue it was.

What is Italian meringue? It's much like regular meringue, whipped up, fluffy egg whites, but with a molten sugar mixture added to cook the egg whites, making it edible without further cooking and therefore is soft and fluffy (instead of crisp and crunchy like the cooked stuff, pavlova, or meringue cookies) and stable with no weeping. It is almost like marshmallow in texture, and it's not as sugary-sweet as a buttercream. It also is thick enough to use much like a buttercream and make pretty designs with piping tips. Or sculptures because you haven't bought any piping tips yet.

It's like grown up marshmallow frosting. Just eat the whole batch, I won't judge.

Looking for more dessert recipes? Check out:
Tres Leches Cake
Southern Banana Pudding
Perfect Apple Pie from Scratch
Summer Peach Crisp
No Churn Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Don't forget to pin this Chocolate Cupcake recipe!

These are the best chocolate cupcakes ever: moist, fluffy bites of chocolate goodness that are incredibly easy to make. These from scratch chocolate cupcakes come out of the oven in under 30 minutes and are topped with an easy, fluffy Italian meringue.


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📖 Recipe

Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Eden Westbrook
These are the best chocolate cupcakes ever: moist, fluffy bites of chocolate goodness that are incredibly easy to make. These from scratch chocolate cupcakes come out of the oven in under 30 minutes and are topped with an easy, fluffy Italian meringue.
4.92 from 12 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine American
Servings 18 cupcakes
Calories 120 kcal


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • cup natural cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • ½ cup hot water not boiling
  • Sprinkles optional

Italian Meringue

  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
  • Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
  • Whisk the egg, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and instant coffee in another medium sized bowl. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until well combined. Add the hot water to the batter and mix until completely combined. Batter will be very thin and watery looking.
  • Fill the cupcake liners about half way and bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
  • Remove the cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling off.


  • Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over high heat, brushing down the melted sugar on the sides of the pot as necessary with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cook until sugar syrup is 240 degrees F on an instant read or candy thermometer.
  • While sugar is melting and heating up, combine egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Set mixer to medium and mix until fluffy and soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
  • When the sugar mixture is at 240 degrees F, with the mixer running on high speed, slowly (and VERY carefully! Melted sugar is HOT!) drizzle in hot sugar syrup and whip until the egg whites create stiff peaks.
  • Pipe meringue onto completely cooled cupcakes and add sprinkles, if using.
  • Keep in an air tight container in the fridge for 4 days.


Calories: 120kcal
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  1. Lauren Vavala @ DeliciousLittleBites says:

    Haha - tax deductible cupcakes really do taste a tad bit better! These look like perfection to me!

  2. Lori Vachon says:

    These cupcakes look delicious and are definitely "birthday worthy". I love your baking technique, will have to give this a try very soon.

  3. I am so interested in trying the lower temperature and this thinner than usual batter. Looks like they turned out so well!

  4. Marlynn | Urban Bliss Life says:

    I love your description for how these will bake up 🙂 So helpful! These cupcakes sound amazing, and I am always looking for more delicious cupcakes to serve my hungry teenagers and their friends. The Italian meringue is a great topper!

  5. Cindy Gordon says:

    Those cupcakes look amazing!!! So delicious, I am not sure I could stop at just one! Happy Birthday too!