{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. FYI your ad placement needs some help. My 11 y/o daughter made these, but because an ad is between the sugar and flour, the sugar was completely missed and left out, which made for salty cupcakes. Bleh! Trying again WITH the sugar!!

  2. Could I substitute almond milk for the whole milk as my family is all somewhat lactose intolerant?! 

  3. Are the moist or kind of dry? If I prefer more moist what can I add more of?

  4. This recipe is always amazing, I have made this a few times already!! Thank you! Question about adding zucchini, have you ever done this ? I am unsure if I can somehow add in grated zucchini or simply replace an ingredient with grated zucchini. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!!

  5. Have you made this recipe into a cake? If so please share how you did it!!

  6. Can i substitute/add instant coffee to that 1cup boiling water? Just to make the chocolate flavor stronger.

    • I’ve done this and it works well. I just brew a fresh cup of coffee and replace it for the water. I used the Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder too.

  7. I make all the time your chocolate cupcape recipe and add some cinamon and a dash of clove. I top them with your  cream cheese icing. Every one love my cup cake and keep   asking me for those. Thank you!  Excellent recipe!

  8. Can one use caster sugar in this recipe?

  9. Finally a chocolate cupcake recipe that doesn’t look labor intensive (for weeknight baking to bring to work the next day)! I want to make “bloody brain” cupcakes for Halloween with this recipe. Is the cake sturdy enough to be filled with berry jam? Can’t wait to try this!

  10. Can I substitute milk for half and half?

  11. Hi – will this recipe still turn out without the eggs? I am baking for a class and a student has an allergy to eggs. 

    • Laura…you can use the following as an egg substitute: 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil mixed with 1-1/2 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon baking powder per egg.

    • another option I have used in the past is 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of one egg

  12. Do you use the paddle or whisk attachment?

  13. Just I need case someone wants to modify this recipe using Carob powder and unsweetened almond milk…it doesn’t work! Had to throw them away.

  14. Hi. Our local shops don’t have baking soda but only have baking powder. Suggestions?

  15. Can i cut the ingredients in half if I need less cupcakes?

  16. Graduated sugar or powders sugar ..?

  17. I’ve just made this recipe – it is delicious, but mine didn’t have the nice flat tops! Some made points and others rises to the sides. Although I’ve carefully filled my liners with the same amount of batter, not 2 of them look the same.

  18. Hi! Can I use fresh milk instead of whole milk?

    • Fresh milk as in raw milk? I don’t see any issue with that. I’ve only made it with standard, commercially processed milk, but I think most any would work as long as most of the cream has been skimmed off.

  19. I made your vanilla cupcakes and they perfect.  I have used this recipe from Hershey and I like it but found that the Cupcakes they are too moist and fall apart. What can you suggest for a denser chocolate cupcake

    I have to make sure pp cupcak a for a party and will be half vanilla and half chocalate

  20. Is both the cupcake recipe and frosting recipe peanut free?

  21. I am not sure what happened but… I followed your instruction, point by point and each time I test the cupcake it is still …. liquid?

    • Hi Heather, I can’t quite imagine what the issue might be without being with you in the kitchen. I can only assume that an ingredient is missing, or you simply need to bake the cupcakes a bit longer. I have made this exact recipe hundreds of times, so I am quite confident that it can be made successfully. I hope you give it another try.

  22. Followed the instructions and while baking the cupcakes sunk rather than rising. Please help.

  23. Let me just say. This became part of my mother’s recipe book since the moment we made it. I would say, after trying them all, this one is by far the best. Chocolate. Cupcake/cake. Recipe. Ever. Period. Its so perfect, moist, but at the same time airy, spongey, it caramelizes on top. Completely gorgeous, it melts in your mouth. Its like those perfect boxed cakes but sets the bar even higher. This should be a secret recipe kept in the family for the next generations because everyone goes completely crazy once they try it. We make different chocolate cakes and my dad and brother always say “but i want you to make the one (I) found… that one is the best one”.  So yeah. Thank you so much for sharing!

  24. Are they peanut free?

    • Hi Melissa,
      I’m a little perplexed by your question. This is a recipe… you can see the full list of ingredients. There are no peanuts in the recipe, but it’s up to you to choose cocoa powder or other ingredients that are made in a peanut-free environment if that’s what you need. Happy baking!

  25. Hi! Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes. Can I use buttermilk instead of whole milk? Would it change the flavor?

  26. I’m new to cake baking.  What tip do you suggest for the frosting piping?  Cupcakes in particular.  Love yours. Thx

    • My favorite piping tip for piping icing on cupcakes is a Wilton 1M, it’s an open star tip. It’s by far the one I used the most! Happy baking!

  27. Can I use 2% milk instead of whole milk?

    • Yes, 2% would be fine, but I would not recommend non-fat or 1%. If I have a lower fat milk on hand, then I’ll just add a bit of heavy cream to fatten it up a bit.

  28. Can I use cake flour instead of All Purpose flour for these chocolate cupcakes? If I do, would that change anything else in the recipe??

  29. I am hoping to make a cake with this recipe. What size cake pan would you recomend? Thank you! 

    • I have made this recipe in 6″, 8″ and 9″ pans round pans. Any size will work as long as you adjust the baking time. The cakes are done when they have a slight dome, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no wet batter. Happy baking!

  30. This is my go to recipe!! never fails! (also cookie cutters from IG! )

  31. Can I make this ahead of time and refrigerate for a day? Wasn’t sure if the boiling water made a difference/if the batter needed to be warm when they go in the oven? Btw, this a great recipe! Thanks for sharing! I’ve made these before, but never refrigerated the batter!

    • Hi Kristen,
      No, I would not suggest preparing the batter and then storing it for any length of time before using it. If you are trying to save some prep time, feel free to measure out your dry ingredients a day or more in advance, and that will help a bit on baking day.

  32. Pingback: Candy Corn Cake - Glorious Treats

  33. Pingback: 20 Delicious Valentines Day Cupcakes That Are Made With Love

  34. Thank you for this recipe. Please, i want to know how long this cake can stay without preservatives and no refrigeration. If I want to keep it for two weeks, could you suggest what I could go to preserve it.

    • I’m not sure any cake would keep for two weeks! This cake is best enjoyed within 2 days of baking. You make freeze the cake if you’d like to store it longer.

  35. Pingback: 15 Cute Valentine's Day Cupcakes (Part 2) - Style Motivation

  36. Pingback: 15 Valentine's Day Cupcake Ideas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.