Small batch chocolate cupcakes recipe that makes 4 cupcakes. The small batch of buttercream frosting is perfect for baking with kids, and a fun way to bake without leftovers!

chocolate cupcakes for two

Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes for Two

If there’s anything I’ve learned about having a daughter, it’s that they always think cupcakes are a good idea. They love to bake them, they love to frost them, and if you shake the sprinkle jar, they come running to the kitchen.

I knew before I became a mom that I would cook and bake with my kids tons. But what I didn’t know was how handy small batch recipes would be when it comes to cooking with kids!

I started my site here, Dessert for Two, before I was even married. In the beginning, when I was single, I loved having a small batch of my favorite desserts, especially my vanilla mini cake recipe. Also, a small batch of chocolate chip cookies is so handy!

Then, as I got married, the recipes were great for romantic date night desserts for two. We found that birthday cake cupcakes are such a fun way to celebrate at home. We still use my 15 minute puff pastry recipe for so many things, too! And since we’re both Czech, my kolaches have been made so much, too!

recipe for chocolate cupcakes

And now, whenever I bake with the kids, it’s so nice to only make a few cupcakes or a few cookies. Kids lose interest after scooping the first few things anyway. Plus, our small household doesn’t really need 4 dozen cookies or cupcakes sitting on our kitchen counter! 

My daughter would like me to add that a recipe for a small batch chocolate cupcake means that there are no leftovers, allowing us to make a new recipe tomorrow. 

I will definitely be adding this recipe to my easy baking recipes for cooking with kids collection and my small batch cupcakes collection!

small batch chocolate cupcakes

First, let’s talk about the ingredients and cover any substitutions you can try.

Chocolate cupcake ingredients:

all purpose flour

unsweetened cocoa powder

baking soda

baking powder

instant espresso powder (optional, make it taste richer, but can omit)

sour cream (you can use yogurt but sour cream has 20% fat and is better for baking)

oil (anything flavorless, like canola oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil)

vanilla extract

brown sugar (light or dark is fine; I prefer dark because the cupcakes are darker)

chocolate cupcake ingredients

How to make cupcakes:

This small batch chocolate cupcake recipe comes together in just two small bowls. We place the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and instant espresso powder) in one bowl, and the wet ingredients (sour cream, oil, vanilla and brown sugar) in the other bowl. Whisk both bowl very well before combining the two.

P.S. Here is the cupcake pan I’m using with 6 cups.

chocolate cupcake batter

Small batch buttercream frosting:

When Camille was very young, she was perfectly content to spread the small batch chocolate buttercream recipe on with a butter knife. But now that she’s older and she’s seen beautiful bakery style cupcakes piled high with decorate frosting, she wants to try to recreate it. And honestly, if you don’t try, you’ll never master a skill, so I let her attempt it.

chocolate cupcakes recipe

I pile the frosting in a regular plastic bag that I place a frosting tip in the bottom. The piping tip is optional—you can cut the corner out of the bag instead, if you don’t have one.

The cupcakes bake for just 15-17 minutes. It’s important to let them cool completely before frosting, or else the frosting will melt, which makes kids very sad, hah!

And finally, the more sprinkles, the better, am I right or am I right?

I hope you enjoy these small batch chocolate cupcakes with your kids, or for celebrating a small party at home! They’re great for date nights, or for placing on a coworker’s desk or friend’s porch for their birthday.

Yield: 4

Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

chocolate cupcakes for two

Small batch chocolate cupcakes for two. Bonus small batch buttercream frosting recipe, too! Plus, totally eggless cupcakes.

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


  • 1/3 cup (45 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (14 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/3 cup (81 mL) sour cream
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar

For the chocolate buttercream:

  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (14 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • splash of milk, as necessary
  • cute sprinkles (optional, but not)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350, and line a muffin pan with 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 sour cream until well combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients in the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Do not over mix.
  5. Bake the cupcakes for 16-17 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. Don't cool them in the pan.
  7. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, make the frosting. In a medium 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.


You can make mini bite-size cupcakes in a mini muffin pan. You will get 10 mini cupcakes that bake in 8-11 minutes.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 371Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 82mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 1gSugar: 33gProtein: 3g

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Find all of my small batch cupcakes recipes here.