Hey guys! We’re back with another small-batch recipe for the weekend- this time it’s for a classic chocolate cupcake! This recipe makes just 6 cupcakes, generously frosted with a fluffy chocolate frosting.

Small-Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

I love this recipe because it’s super simple, you can mix the cake batter by hand, and it doesn’t need any eggs. Plus the frosting comes together really quickly, and the dollop of sour cream really gives it something special. Let’s get to it!

How to Make Small-Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

We’re starting out with some super simple chocolate cupcake batter. I have used a form of this recipe in a few places on my website because it’s seriously SO yummy, and it uses super simple ingredients. We’re starting out by mixing together the dry ingredients- here’s everything you need to make these small-batch chocolate cupcakes:

Then we’re just adding in all the wet ingredients and whisking it together until it’s well combined and smooth.

We’re popping the batter into a 6-cup muffin tin next. The batter will fill the cups pretty high- don’t worry, this is how it’s supposed to be, and it’ll help give you those high-domed cupcakes!

Then once they’ve cooled, it’s time to work on the frosting!

High-Altitude Small-Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

Next up is a simple buttercream frosting, but with cocoa powder and a touch of sour cream for a really creamy, fluffy frosting that I’m obsessed with. Top it with whatever sprinkles you like, and you’re ready to dig in! These are super chocolatey, super easy cupcakes to whip up when you just need that chocolate fix.

Small-Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

Tips & Tricks for Small-Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

These come together quick and easy, and I have some tips and tricks to help you along the way!

  • Are these chocolate cupcakes vegan? The cake in this recipe is vegan, but the frosting is not! Feel free to sub in your favorite vegan butter and vegan sour cream to make a fully vegan recipe.
  • The batter will fill your cupcake tins fairly high and that’s normal! You should end up with 6 cupcakes that are pretty full, and they will bake up with high domed tops.
  • Can I use another oil instead of vegetable? Yes, you can substitute any oil you’d like, but be aware that full-bodied oils like olive oil may affect the flavor of your cake in the end. Instead, go for a neutral oil.
  • Can I use milk instead of water? Yes, you can absolutely substitute milk for the water in this recipe. I have tried it both ways, and I find that it does not make much of a difference in flavor or texture, so I usually stick with water.
  • Make sure all your frosting ingredients are at room temp to ensure that everything stays fluffy and smooth as you mix it together.
  • What if my frosting breaks? If you end up with a broken frosting, pop the bowl into the fridge for 5 minutes and re-whip it. This should help everything come back together smoothly.

Hope you guys enjoy this one!

Small-Batch Chocolate Cupcakes
5 from 1 vote

Small-Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

Servings 6 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup water or milk
  • 3 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. white vinegar

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 tbs. sour cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs. dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a 6-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the water, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and vinegar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk together until completely incorporated and smooth.
  3. Scoop the batter evenly into your prepared muffin tin. The cupcakes will fill fairly high in the tin. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat together the softened butter and sour cream until smooth, and slowly add in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat in the vanilla extract and salt until well combined, and beat the icing for 1-2 minutes, or until very smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired and serve!


  1. Mary Lu Dietzman

    January 23, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    Anxious to try this recipe and looking forward to receiving more.

  2. Cathryn

    November 16, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    So easy to whip these up for a grandchild’s request and I had everything on hand. Delicious too!

  3. Jen

    January 2, 2023 at 3:23 pm

    5 stars
    These cupcakes turned out so well! They were moist, and the recipe had just the right amount of frosting. This recipe is perfect for a quick treat!


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