Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

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Small batch chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting that are so easy to make. This cupcake recipe makes a perfect 6 cupcakes for a small get together!

small batch chocolate cupcake with cupcake liner pulled away


 

As much as I love baking (and I do – I think that’s obvious) I don’t always prefer to have a whole batch of cupcakes laying around. I always try to give away any extras or freeze any leftover cupcakes. But sometimes I just want a small amount of dessert – no leftovers to give away or freeze!

And you know are big fans of small batch desserts around here. Like these small batch cinnamon rolls, small batch brownies, this small batch focaccia, or my favorite small batch cheesecake baked in a loaf pan. And after perfecting these small batch vanilla cupcakes, I knew I had to make a small batch chocolate cupcakes recipe next!

And the best part about this chocolate cupcake recipe is that they don’t require a mixer and they take about 15 minutes to throw together. That’s it! 

So if you have a chocolate fix that needs, well fixing, then this small batch chocolate cupcake recipe is for you!

See Also:

small batch chocolate cupcake cut in half

Why This Recipe Works

  • Small batch recipe that are easy to mix up!
  • No mixer needed for the cupcake batter
  • Great chocolate flavor and tender crumb
  • Perfect for a small get together or Valentine’s Day!

Ingredients Needed

  • All-purpose Flour – Just regular flour is needed here, no cake flour required!
  • Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder – Make sure to use natural unsweetened, and NOT Dutch-process cocoa powder, which has a different acidity and will react differently in your cupcake batter. You can use Dutch-processed cocoa powder for the chocolate frosting if you want! Read more here about natural cocoa vs. Dutch cocoa powder.
  • Salt
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Vegetable oil (or canola) oil – You want to use a neutral-tasting oil, I like to use either vegetable or canola oil. If you want to add a little flavor, you could always try olive oil! 
  • Vanilla extract
  • Egg – Use a room temperature egg so it blends easily into the batter and results in tall, fluffy cupcakes.
  • Buttermilk – If you don’t have any, make your own homemade buttermilk from whole milk. You could also try using part sour cream mixed with milk (3 Tablespoons sour cream, and 1 Tablespoon milk) but I haven’t experimented with this so can’t say for sure! 
  • Powdered Sugar – If you don’t have any, make your own powdered sugar in your food processor!
  • Heavy Cream
small batch chocolate cupcakes ingredients

How To Make Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes 

Preheat and prepare pan. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180oC). Line one cupcake pan with paper liners by alternating them in the pan. Set aside.

Combine dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

small batch chocolate cupcakes dry ingredients in a bowl

Combine wet ingredients. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and buttermilk. 

small batch chocolate cupcakes wet ingredients in a bowl

Add the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient mixture, mixing just until combined. Do not overmix.

small batch chocolate cupcake batter in a bowl

Bake. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 full.   Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  

small batch chocolate cupcake batter scooped and baked in a muffin tin

Make The Chocolate Frosting

In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter first until light and fluffy on medium-high speed, for about 1 minute.

creamed butter in a bowl

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the in the powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time. And then once incorporated, mix on medium-high sped for about 1 to 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

powdered sugar added to bowl of butter for frosting

With ther mixer on low, add the vanilla extract and heavy cream. Mix on low to combine.

vanilla added to frosting in bowl

Add in the cocoa powder and mix on low speed at first until incorporated.

Increase the speed to medium-high speed and mix for 8 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Use right away, or store in the fridge, in a covered container for up to 5 days.

cocoa powder added to frosting

With a large star tip fitted in a piping bag, pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes. Top with sprinkles if desired! 

chocolate frosting piped onto a chocolate cupcake

Recipe Tips

  • Be sure to measure your flour accurately. Too much flour = dense, dry cupcake. For a full tutorial on how and whyread this post. For best accuracy, weigh your flour with a kitchen scale. But you want to spoon and level your flour. spoon your flour into the cup, not packing it down, and then when you get a heaping cup level it off.
  • Use natural cocoa powder not Dutch process. Be sure to use natural unsweetened cocoa powder not dutch process. They are not the same. You can read about the differences here.
  • Do not overfill your cupcakes. If you overfill them the your cupcakes might sink in the middle. I aim for about 2/3 to no more than 3/4 full.
  • Bake in the center of your oven and rotate your pans. You always want to bake your cupcakes up in the center of your oven so they bake up evenly. When baking these, it’s best to rotate the pans halfway through their baking time. Every oven can have hot spots so they may not bake evenly. Give them a turn in the oven, so they all bake up pretty.
  • Cool on a wire rack. Once they are baked, be sure to take them out of the pans and cool on a cooling rack. Leaving them in your pans means they will continue to bake and could end up dry.
  • Cool completely before frosting. You want to make sure they are cooled completely before frosting them. Hot cupcakes + frosting = soupy mess.

Recipe Variations

  • Add espresso powder – Espresso powder will enhance the chocolate flavor without you actually tasting it. Add 1 teaspoon espresso powder to the hot water. 
  • Fill with ganache – For more chocolate, core the cupcakes and fill the center of the cupcake with chocolate ganache!

Storage Instructions

You can make the chocolate cupcakes up to 1 day in advance, unfrosted. Keep well covered in an airtight container and store at room temperature. Then frost the day of serving. If unfrosted, I would store covered at room temperature for up to 2 days. If frosted, then store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can also make the cupcakes and freeze for up to 2 months. I place mine in a plastic bag, or you can also individually wrap them in plastic wrap and then store in a bag. Thaw at room temperature, uncovered, before frosting.

small batch chocolate cupcakes and a dish of sprinkles

Recipe FAQ’s

What’s the difference between a chocolate muffin and chocolate cupcake?

A chocolate muffin will have a heartier crumb than a cupcake. Cupcakes also will be filled only 3/4 full before baking, whereas muffins will be filled right to the top to get that domed muffin top. 

What’s the best frosting to use? 

I made a small batch of chocolate frosting for this small batch of cupcakes. But you could always try my vanilla buttercream recipe instead! Just cut the recipe in half. But feel free to get creative and try one of these frosting recipes: Oreo Frosting RecipePeanut Butter Cream Cheese FrostingStrawberry Buttercream FrostingCaramel Buttercream.

Can I make these cupcake dairy free?

You could try making a homemade buttermilk with a plant-based milk like almond milk or oat milk, but I haven’t tried. And then be sure to use a dairy-free butter and heavy cream (or milk) for the frosting.

small batch chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate butercream frosting

More Desserts To Try!

If you’re craving more chocolate desserts, then be sure to check out some of my other favorites! Like my easy chocolate covered Oreos. You can easily decorate them for Christmas, Valentine’s Day or any special holiday. I also love mixing up these chocolate white chocolate chip cookies for when I’m craving a cookie.

Of course you can’t go wrong with this classic – Brookies (half brownie and half chocolate chip cookie). No one can resist these!

small batch chocolate cupcake cut in half

Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

Small batch chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting that are so easy to make. This cupcake recipe makes a perfect 6 cupcakes for a small get together!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 cupcakes
Calories: 469kcal

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 6 tablespoons (45 g) all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (21 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) neutral-tasting oil (I used avocado)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) buttermilk

For the frosting:

  • 10 Tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 141 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups (141 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch Process
  • Chocolate sprinkles for decorating

Instructions

For the cupcakes

  • Preheat and prepare pan. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180°C). Line one cupcake pan with paper liners by alternating them in the pan. Set aside.
  • Combine dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. 6 tablespoons (45 g) all purpose flour ¼ cup (21 g) unsweetened cocoa powder ½ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Combine wet ingredients. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and buttermilk. 1 large egg 6 tablespoons granulated white sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ cup (60 mL) neutral-tasting oil (I used avocado) ¼ cup (60 ml) buttermilk
  • Add the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient mixture, mixing just until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Bake. Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store leftover cupcakes, covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can also freeze frosted or unfrosted cupcakes up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.

For the frosting

  • In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter first until light and fluffy on medium-high speed, for about 1 minute. 10 Tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 141 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the in the powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time. And then once incorporated, mix on medium-high sped for about 1 to 2 minutes until light and fluffy. 1 1/4 cups (141 g) powdered sugar
  • With ther mixer on low, add the vanilla extract and heavy cream. Mix on low to combine. 1 Tablespoons heavy cream 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Add in the cocoa powder and mix on low speed at first until incorporated. 6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Increase the speed to medium-high speed and mix for 8 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Use right away, or store in the fridge, in a covered container for up to 5 days.
  • With a large star tip fitted in a piping bag, pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes. Top with sprinkles if desired!

Notes

  • Make-Ahead/Storage: You can make the chocolate cupcakes up to 1 day in advance, unfrosted. Keep well covered in an airtight container and store at room temperature. Then frost the day of serving. If unfrosted, I would store covered at room temperature for up to 2 days. If frosted, then store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  •  
    Freezing: You can also make the cupcakes and freeze for up to 2 months. I place mine in a plastic bag, or you can also individually wrap them in plastic wrap and then store in a bag. Thaw at room temperature, uncovered, before frosting.
  • Buttermilk – If you don’t have any, make your own homemade buttermilk from whole milk. You could also try using part sour cream mixed with milk (3 Tablespoons sour cream, and 1 Tablespoon milk) but I haven’t experimented with this so can’t say for sure! 

Nutrition

Calories: 469kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 206mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 676IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg
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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Such beautiful cupcakes! The flavors sound fantastic and I love that they are small batch. Yum!

  2. 5 stars
    I always hate having too many cupcakes. My family loves them but doesn’t want them 3 days in a row. Which makes this a perfect recipe for us.

    1. Great, thank you, Kathleen! Enjoy!

  3. 5 stars
    I am so glad to have found this small-batch cupcake recipe! I am a chocoholic, so you better believe if I had 2 dozen cupcakes around, I’d eat way too many. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Thanks, Susan, so glad that you like them!

  4. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! I always want cupcakes, but our family can never finish them all! So excited to have found this tasty small batch recipe.

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