Small batch chocolate cupcakes recipe that makes 10 mini cupcakes or 4 regular cupcakes–a simple chocolate recipe with the best chocolate buttercream you’ll ever have!


I used to take requests on this site.  Then, I got married.  Now, I take dessert requests from my husband. Not that I actually listen to him half the time, but I do need him.

I’m a die-hard lemon dessert lover, and chocolate? Well, I could take it or leave it.  (I know, the horror!)  If it were up to me, I would hardly have a chocolate section on this site.  But thanks to him, I do.

So, while I’m over in La-La lemon land floating on vanilla clouds with crunchy meringue bits, my honey is craving chocolate.


My best guess is that 50% of the chocolate chips I buy, go directly hand to mouth.   His hand, his mouth.  Since we’re being honest, I should admit that about 30% of the spoons in this house have residual lemon curd from my jar to mouth technique.  At least I use a spoon!

I decided to make something only he would love for Valentine’s Day.  Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream.  So simple, no frills.  I wanted to add jam and make a riff on my one-bowl chocolate cake, but I knew better.

I made a little less than 1 dozen mini chocolate cupcakes with rich chocolate buttercream.

Here you go, stud muffin.  These babies are all for you.

Yield: 4

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes

small batch chocolate cupcakes

Yield: 10 mini cupcakes or 4 regular sized cupcakes.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

For the chocolate buttercream:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • splash of milk, as necessary
  • cute sprinkles (optional, but not)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350, and line a MINI muffin pan with 10 mini cupcake liners OR a regular cupcake pan with 4 liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and espresso powder. Whisk well.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and buttermilk until well combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients in the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Do not over mix. I'd rather see tiny pieces of cocoa powder than a very well-mixed batter.
  5. Bake the cupcakes for 8-11 minutes. Test a cupcake with a toothpick before removing from the oven. If moist crumbs cling to it, they're baked thoroughly.
  6. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 1 minute, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, make the frosting. In a medium-deep bowl, beat together the butter and powdered sugar using an electric hand mixer on low speed. Start slowly to avoid spraying the powdered sugar out of the bowl. Once thoroughly combined, add the cocoa powder and vanilla. Beat well. If needed, add a small splash of milk to help it come together. If the butter is at room temperature, you might not need any milk at all.
  8. Frost the cupcakes, add sprinkles, and serve to a lucky man (or woman!).


Mini cupcakes take 8-11 minutes, regular sized cupcakes take roughly 15 minutes.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 1gSugar: 33gProtein: 3g