Small-Batch Chocolate Cupcakes – Just so Tasty

  • on 26 January 2021

These chocolate cupcakes are moist, fudgy and topped with chocolate frosting. This small-batch recipe yields just 6-7 cupcakes, so it’s perfect when you don’t have too many mouths to feed.Chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and a glass of milk.

This chocolate cupcake recipe  is super easy and only takes a little more effort than using a box mix. The cupcakes are tender, moist and very chocolate-y, and perfect for when you need a quick dessert and don’t want many leftovers.

The Perfect Small-Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

The recipe is adapted from my favorite double chocolate cupcake recipe. But instead of making 18-20 cupcakes, you get 6 or 7. What’s also nice is that there’s no need to get out your electric mixer for the cupcake batter.

You start by whisking together the dry ingredients. Whisking the dry ingredients together first is important to ensure that the baking soda and baking powder are evenly distributed throughout the batter so that the cupcakes rise nicely. Then you’ll whisk together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. The dry ingredients get mixed into the wet ingredients until there’s no more lumps. I always do this by hand with a wire whisk and it works perfectly. Dry ingredients and wet ingredients for chocolate cupcakes.

You’ll spoon the batter evenly into your lined muffin tin so that each is about 1/2 to 2/3s full. I typically get 6 or 7 cupcakes total. Then you’ll pop them in the oven to bake. When they’re done, an inserted toothpick will come out clean and if you gently press the top of the cupcake it should feel slightly firm.

For the Frosting

I’ve included my favorite chocolate frosting recipe, scaled down for about 6 cupcakes with the frosting piled high. If you only want a thin layer of frosting on each cupcake, feel free to half the recipe. (I’ve included the amounts in the notes section of the recipe).

Or if you really want to save time, I’ve been known to use store bought frosting when in a pinch. Or better yet, a layer of Nutella and a scoop of ice cream make for a delicious cupcake treat.

Small batch chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

Moist, fudgy, and no leftovers – small-batch chocolate cupcakes for the win! I love making these for Valentine’s Day, but they’re perfect for whenever you need a small batch dessert.

And for more small-batch desserts, be sure to try:

A chocolate cupcake with a bite taken out of it.

Small-Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

These chocolate cupcakes are moist, fudgy and topped with chocolate frosting. This small-batch recipe yields just 6-7 cupcakes, so it’s perfect when you don’t have too many mouths to feed.

Prep Time30 mins

Cook Time18 mins

Total Time48 mins

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Chocolate Cupcakes, Small Batch Cupcakes

Servings: 6 cupcakes

Calories: 473kcal


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or canola
  • 1/2 cup white sugar I use caster sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk* see recipe notes for substitute

Chocolate Frosting*

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk or whipping cream


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees and line a muffin tin with muffin papers. You’ll end up with 6 or 7 cupcakes in total. I always use the middle 6 muffin cavities because I find the cupcakes cook more evenly.

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

  • In a separate medium bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, vanilla extract and egg. Then whisk in the buttermilk.

  • Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain.

  • Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each about 1/2 – 2/3 full. You should end up with 6 or 7 cupcakes total. Be sure not to fill the cupcake liners to the top.

  • Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Frosting*

  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter until soft.

  • Beat in 1 cup powdered sugar. If it’s lumpy, be sure to sift it first.

  • Add in the cocoa powder (again, sifting if lumpy), vanilla extract and salt and beat until combined.

  • Mix in the rest of the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with a tablespoon of milk/cream until the desired sweetness and thickness is reached.

  • Frost the cooled cupcakes with a knife, or transfer the frosting to a piping bag and frost. I used a piping bag and a Wilton 1M piping tip.


  1. If you’re in a pinch, buttermilk can be substituted with 1/3 cup milk (I prefer 1% or 2% over skim) and 1 teaspoon distilled vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix the vinegar and milk together and let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
  2. If you only want a thin layer of frosting, instead of piping a thick amount on top of each cupcake, feel free to half the frosting recipe. You’ll need:
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
    • 3/4 cup to 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon milk or cream
  3. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge.
  4. Nutrition information is an estimate only and based on 1 cupcake with frosting, assuming the recipe yields 6 equal-sized cupcakes and the frosting is divided evenly between the cupcakes. 


Calories: 473kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 544IU | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg


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