Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Rich and moist, scratch-made chocolate cupcakes topped with velvety cream cheese frosting. This classic combo is sure to be a favorite!

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Rich, tender chocolate cupcakes topped with luscious cream cheese frosting are a perfect pairing of flavors. In my many years working in bakeries, this was a popular flavor request so of course this combo needed to be made into a cupcake. One bite of these chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting will have you craving more! 

Why You’ll Love These Cupcakes

  • Rich chocolate cupcakes – This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe. I tested and tweaked this recipe many times to get them just right to make them moist, tender, and super chocolatey.

  • Cream cheese frosting – Creamy, tangy frosting is a perfect compliment to the rich chocolate cupcakes.

  • Made from scratch – nothing beats homemade cupcakes, made with real fresh ingredients! Many chocolate cake recipes are made with oil but I went with butter for this recipe because I think it gives a much better flavor.

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Make the cake batter. The batter comes together in an electric stand mixer. First, the butter and sugar are creamed together until the mixture becomes soft and light in color. Then eggs and vanilla are mixed in, followed by cocoa powder. The bowl needs to be scraped down with a rubber spatula at this point so everything gets incorporated well. The dry ingredients and water are added in, alternating between them. The batter gets one final mix before it’s ready to be baked.

  2. Bake the cupcakes. The cupcakes get baked in a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners. I like to use a cookie scoop to portion out the batter between the liners so each one is filled evenly. The cupcakes bake at 350°F for 20-22 minutes, or until the cupcake springs back when lightly pressed in the middle. Allow the cupcakes to cool while you make the cream cheese frosting.
  1. Make the cream cheese frosting. Beat room-temperature butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until smooth and well combined. Add half the powdered sugar (this helps so the powdered sugar doesn’t go everywhere) and vanilla. Mix just until incorporated then add the remaining powdered sugar, mixing until combined. It’s important not to overmix cream cheese frosting or it can “break” which will make the frosting very soft and difficult to pipe.

  2. Frost the cupcakes. I like to use a star tip for these cupcakes, but you can use whatever your favorite piping tip is, or simply use the back of a spoon to spread the frosting on your cupcakes. Finish the tops with chocolate sprinkles or chocolate shavings and enjoy! Check out my cream cheese frosting post for more detailed tips and tricks.

Tips for the Best Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Use room temperature ingredients. It’s important to allow your butter and eggs to come to room temperature before mixing the cake batter. Cold ingredients will not incorporate very well and can create a lumpy batter. Room-temperature ingredients will help create a smooth batter that rises more evenly.

  • Scrape the bowl often. This is one step that I think is often overlooked in cake recipes but is so important in the final result. Scraping down the bowl several times with a rubber spatula while mixing the cake batter ensures that all the ingredients get incorporated evenly so you don’t end up with lumpy batter or pockets of unmixed ingredients. When the cupcakes bake, those ingredients that didn’t get incorporated can mess with the look and texture of your cupcakes. Scraping down the bowl makes such a difference!
  • Don’t overmix the batter. Overmixing cake batter can cause too much gluten development, resulting in a tough and dense texture. After the dry ingredients and water have been added to the batter, be sure to only mix until no streaks of flour remain, which will help achieve a light and tender crumb.

  • Portion the batter. To fill each of the cupcake tin evenly, I like to use a cookie scoop. This way each tin will have the same amount of batter and this also helps create less of a mess!

Baking Tip: Weigh Your Ingredients!

I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients rather than using measuring cups because it is the most accurate way to bake. Weighing your ingredients will give you more consistent results with your recipes and a better success rate, every time. Using a scale also saves you dishes which means easier cleanup! I provide gram measurements in all my recipes and this is the scale I love to use.

Cupcake FAQs

What is the best way to store the cupcakes?

The cupcakes with freshly made frosting, can be left out at room temperature for up to 8 hours. After that, they should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 3 days. I recommend allowing the cupcakes to sit a room temperature for at least one hour before serving, for the best texture and flavor. The naked cupcakes (without frosting) should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Can the cupcakes be frozen?

Yes! These cupcakes freeze great on their own, without the frosting. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely then place them in an airtight container in a single layer and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use the cupcakes, allow them to thaw at room temperature then add frosting!

What tip is best for piping on the frosting?

My favorite tip to use for the cream cheese icing is a classic open star tip. I used an Ateco 826 star tip for these cupcakes but a round tip or French tip would work well too.

How should I decorate the cupcakes?

I love finishing these cupcakes off with a sprinkle of chocolate jimmies. Other fun toppings you could add: chocolate cake crumbs, chocolate shavings, or mini chocolate chips.

More Cakes & Cupcakes You’ll Love

If you make this recipe and love it, be sure to leave a comment below. Happy baking!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Rich and moist, scratch-made chocolate cupcakes topped with velvety cream cheese frosting. This classic combo is sure to be a favorite!
5 from 1 vote
Author: Rachel
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 12 cupcakes


For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 6 Tablespoons (83g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 large yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup (36g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (130g) warm water

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ½ cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz (1 block or 227g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • cups (300g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  • Chocolate Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy and light in color, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Slowly add the eggs and vanilla, combining well after each addition. Scrape the bowl well with a rubber spatula then sift and add the cocoa powder. Mix on low just until combined and scrape the bowl again. Mix on high for about 10-15 seconds until the mixture is well combined.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Slowly stream in about half the water. Mix just until combined then scrape the bowl well. Add the remaining flour and slowly stream in the remaining water with the mixer on low, just until combined. Scrape the bowl again and give the mixture a few final folds to ensure everything is incorporated.
  • Use a cookie scoop to divide the batter among the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back to the touch (or a toothpick comes out mostly clean). Set aside to cool.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix until fully combined.
  • Assembly: Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the cream cheese frosting and pipe a generous amount on each of the cooled cupcakes. Finish with chocolate curls or sprinkles if desired and enjoy!
Did you make this recipe?Be sure to tag @sweetkitchencravings on Instagram!


I’m Rachel

I’m the dessert lover, recipe developer, and content creator behind Sweet Kitchen Cravings. Here you’ll find classic yet special recipes that are sure to impress your loved ones!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I haven’t even tried the cupcakes yet. They have come out looking prefect from the oven :)! And the mix was sooo yumm, me and the kids were right into it :)!. This is my 5th day of trying all kinds of cupcake recipes, think I’m onto a winner :). Will pipe them and eat them this evening 😀