{Recipe} Perfectly Chocolate Cupcakes

I love chocolate…

So naturally, when I started experimenting with baking cupcakes from scratch (several years ago) I began a quest for the perfect chocolate cupcakes.  I worked through several dozen recipes and of course, didn’t have too much trouble finding people willing to eat my “experiments.”

I finally found a recipe titled Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake, hmm, “…Perfectly Chocolate”, sounds about right to me!  The first time I made it, I used Hershey’s unsweeted cocoa (as the recipe calls for).  They turned out pretty good.  The next time I made them, I used Ghirardelli brand unsweetened cocoa, and… perfect!  The Ghirardelli brand gave a much deeper chocolate flavor.  So I’d highly recomend using either Ghirardelli brand unsweetened cocoa, or the best quality brand you can find.  You can really taste the difference.  Since discovering this recipe, I’ve made it dozens and dozens of times.  And every time, it’s delicious!  The cake has a nice light and fluffy texture and a rich chocolate flavor.

Perfectly Chocolate Cupcakes

(makes 24-27 standard sized cupcakes)

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (best quality available)

1 cup boiling water


Line muffin tin with paper liners.  Heat oven to 350*F.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for one minute.

Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).

Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.  (I usually put the batter into a large measuring cup with a pour spout, and then pour the batter into the liners.)

Bake cupcakes for aproximately 18-22 minutes.

Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Recipe source- Hershey’s

Try the recipe HERE for either vanilla or chocolate (my favorite!) cream cheese frosting.


  1. hi glory
    if I wanted to make half the amount of cupcakes can I just exactly halve everything in the recipe?

  2. Hi everybody, I just wanted to say that this recipe is THE most perfect recipe for chocolate cupcakes! And I’ve tried so many. They were moist, rose enough and …oh I’m speechless . The ingredients are not expensive and are easy to combine. Thank you so much! I’ll definitely try vanilla cupcakes. Cheers!

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  4. Hi Gloria,

    Absolutely LOVE your perfect vanilla cupcake recipe. However do you always use normal granulated sugar in your recipes as i have only ever used castor sugar?

  5. Just wondering if you’ve ever baked these at 330°?
    I’m making a batch of vanilla and batch of chocolate and was hoping to put them in together while my babies sleep but my vanilla recipe bakes at 160°C and I’m worried if I put them in at a lower temp they might turn out stodgy? Or am I just being stupid and they’ll be fine but just take longer?

  6. And to answer people’s questions about them peaking or being flat or chewy my first batch was all of these so next time I mixed it all by hand (used electric mixer the first time) with a whisk and mixed the water in very gently until just combined and they come out perfect every time and everyone loves them. Also if you’re in Australia like me remember American cups are different capacity to Australian cups so that may make a difference also, you can either convert the recipe to grams or buy a set of US cups, usually the stainless steel ones are US measurements but double check.
    amazing recipe, definitely my go to!

  7. It all looks very good and I’m dying to try it, but I’m gonna be totally hopeless if everything is measured in cups! How much is a cup in gramms????

    (sorry, I’m from germany, and we don’t have “cups” …. :( …..)

    Lots of Love,

  8. hi..how come your cupcakes turned flat when mine has a dome on top?im having a hard figuring out..hope u can help me..thank u :)

    • Hi Miziel, My cupcakes usually bake up with a slight dome. I like them to have a dome, but once they are frosted, no one will know if there was a dome or if they were flat =)

  9. I don’t know if this question has already been asked, are there any alterations that need to be done for high altitude? I moved to Utah from Texas, and my recipes are not working out and just being cautious!

    • Hi Joanna, Yes, with most any cake/cupcake recipe alterations will need to be made for high altitudes. I have not baked at high altitude so I don’t have any real advice I can share. I would suggest doing a google search for “alterations for baking at high altitude” and I’m sure you’ll find some adjustment suggestions as to how to adjust cake recipes.
      Happy baking!

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  15. Haiii , i already made vanilla cupcakes and its turn out soooo delicious..like it. So i wanna ask u, for this chocolate cupcakes can i change all purpose flour to cake flour? Why almost everyone use different flour for make cupcakes, smtime use cake flour sometime use all purpose? Haha..i just curious..Is the result different if i use cake flour?

    • I have only made the recipe as is (with all purpose flour). Feel free to experiment, but I have found the recipe to be very successful as is. In general, cake flour produces a lighter, fluffier cake, but due to the other ingredients in this recipe the end results are wonderfully light and fluffy using the ingredients listed. Feel free to use google to read up on the differences between cake flour and all purpose and I think you’ll find good opportunities to use both. Happy baking!

  16. Gloria, I am not the best at measurements lol… how can I make this recipe for lets say 12-15 cupcakes???

    • I would suggest simply dividing each ingredient (measurement) in half. Feel free to use google to find a good conversion chart if you need help figuring out some of the measurments. The full recipe usually produces about 27 cupcakes for me, so with half you should get around 12-14. Happy baking!

  17. Hi!
    I’ve tried this recipe, it tastes good but doesn’t look as good as yours, mine weren’t flat, they were like a dome shape. Do you have any clues why this happened? Thank you very much!

    • Hi Tatiana, The amount of dome depends on the amount/way you mix the ingredients and also the heat in your oven. If you want a dome shape you can increase the oven temperature to 375 for the first minutes of baking, but then be sure to turn it back down.

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  19. Thank you very much for replying, Glory!
    I’d like to say that I LOVED the cupcakes and they were a success between family and friends! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe, it’s already my “number one” chocolate cupcake recipe! 😉
    May I bother you again and ask how I have to mix the batter and bake it if I don’t want the dome, if I want it flat?

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  21. Hi Glory. I have been using this recipe for two years now and the reviews are always positive. Would you kindly teach me how to alter the recipe for just twelve (12) cupcakes? You’re the only one I trust on cupcakes, Glory. Your quick response would be appreciated. Thank you

    • So glad you’re enjoying the recipe! It’s a favorite in our house too!

      I would suggest simply dividing each ingredient (measurement) in half. Feel free to use google to find a good conversion chart if you need help figuring out some of the measurements. The full recipe usually produces about 27 cupcakes for me, so with half you should get around 12-14.

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  24. Hi Glory! Thank you. The 12 cupcakes were a success. :-) This might be a bit of a stretch but I was wondering if you’ve ever tried scaling the recipe down to 4 or 6 cupcakes. Some nights, I also want to bake for myself, not just for others. Hoping you could help. By the way, I had to shift to Hershey’s Cocoa since I live in the Philippines and Ghirardelli is either too expensive or not available. Tasted great!

  25. I have used this recipe for cupcakes many times and it’s always a huge hit! Now, I will be using this for a cake instead. Can you tell me if this will be ok for carving? I will try to make a camera cake and was wondering if this recipe will be ok and also under fondant.
    Thank you in advance!

  26. I made these yesterday and they were absolutely terrific!! 2 thumbs up withhout a doubt :)

  27. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I used it along with your vanilla cupcake and cream cheese buttercream to make cupcakes for a graduation party. They were a huge hit! I will be trying other recipes from you!

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  29. Hi Glory,
    I love your site! I want to try this recipe soon however the cocoa powder I have is dutch processed. Would that affect the result seeing as there is baking soda in the recipe? Hope you to get a reply from you. Thank you!

  30. Hi there- I’m a big fan of your recipes, thank you so much for sharing these!
    I wanted to ask you if you “fan bake” or just bake regularly in the oven? I can never get my cupcakes to stay flat. They always dome making them harder to decorate.
    Any advice would be welcome!
    Thank you!

  31. Tried baking this recipe yesterday, and it turns out so moist and very delicious.
    My friends liked my cupcakes and I am so flattered.
    Great recipe indeed!

  32. I tried the recipe and found the cupcakes very chewy. As they cooled, the cupcakes fell. They did not stay fluffy. I will continue to look for the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe. The flavor was good, but the texture wasn’t cake-y in any way.

    • So sorry you didn’t have success with this recipe. If the cupcakes fell as they cooled, it’s likely they were a little under-baked.

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  36. Hi Gloria,

    When you say “2 cups Sugar” is that normal sugar we use for tea/coffee? Or icing suga/pure icing sugar? Please reply soon ☺ cheers

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  43. This recipe is the same recipe on the back of the “HERSHEY’S COCOA” Canister …been making this cake for years it is a great recipe and an absolute hit every time I make it..no worries if you ever misplace your recipe people go to your nearest grocery store pick up a can of Hershey’s Cocoa in the baking Aisle and look on the back there it is plain as day.

  44. This recipe is the same recipe on the back of the “HERSHEY’S COCOA” Canister …been making this cake for years it is a great recipe and an absolute hit every time I make it..no worries if you ever misplace your recipe people go to your nearest grocery store pick up a can of Hershey’s Cocoa in the baking Aisle and look on the back there it is plain as day. Oh forgot to mention on the back of the canister the recipe reads and it has for many many years ….HERSHEY’S “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE CAKE….

  45. I absolutely love all of your recipes. These chocolate cupcakes are divine! Sometimes i like to add a bit of melted 60% cacao as well. I makes then the perfect dark chocolate cupcakes. Also very versatile recipe! Thank you for your infinite sharing wisdom!

  46. The most popular recipe would still be chocolate cake recipes. If you search in the Internet, you will come up with thousands of different chocolate cake recipes. http://recipeslearn.com Pictures would should you sumptuous looking cakes to the most intricate ones.

  47. If I only want to make 12 cupcakes is there any way to save the rest of the batter?

  48. I have been using this recipe for 5 years now and it turns out PERFECT, rich, moist cupcakes or a whole cake EVERYTIME! It has never let me down and I have people begging for the recipe every time without fail! Such a great thing you are onto here- thank you for sharing, I don’t think I will ever change from these chocolate cupcakes! x

  49. Hi, this is the second time I make these cupcakes, and they turned out perfectly both times! Your experimenting has really paid off! My husband, and the girls at work just absolutely love them! From a Canadian that loves to bake, working/living in the Netherlands!

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