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!
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!
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!
First, let’s talk about the ingredients and cover any substitutions you can try. Speaking of substitutions, don't miss my Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes!
Chocolate cupcake ingredients:
-all purpose flour
-unsweetened cocoa 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)
-brown sugar (light or dark is fine; I prefer dark because the cupcakes are darker)
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.
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.
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.
If you need a larger batch of this chocolate buttercream frosting, I have that, too.
Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes
Small batch chocolate cupcakes for two. Bonus small batch buttercream frosting recipe, too! Plus, totally eggless cupcakes.
- ⅓ cup (45 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (14 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
- ⅓ cup (81 mL) sour cream
- 4 teaspoons canola oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (50 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar
For the chocolate buttercream:
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (75 grams) powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons (14 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- splash of milk, as necessary
- cute sprinkles (optional, but not)
- Preheat the oven to 350, and line a muffin pan with with 4 liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and espresso powder. Whisk well.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and sour cream until well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients in the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Do not over mix.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 371Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 82mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 1gSugar: 33gProtein: 3g
I found this recipe when I had a house guest who was diabetic. I needed a small batch recipe that I could make with brown sugar substitute so they could enjoy dessert as well. It turned out great and I realized belatedly that I could probably also substitute GF flour and have the holy grail of allergen-free cupcakes: SF, GF, dairy and egg-free while still being light, moist and flavorful! Thanks for this AWESOME addition to my repertoire!
Leah | So, Hows It Taste? says
I made these yesterday because I had leftover buttercream from a cake that I didn't want going to waste (it's got Bailey's in it, hello!). I baked them into 4 regular cupcakes instead of minis. Holy cow! I can't believe how good they are. I was intrigued because the recipe didn't call for any eggs and used oil, so I didn't have to wait on butter to soften. Bonus, I got to use up some leftover buttermilk, too. These are HEAVEN. I love that they only make 4, but I'm totally going to make them again because they are so good! That little bit of espresso brings out the chocolate so nicely. You hit this one out of the park!
Just made these- really quite good! I realized too late that I didn't have any mini cupcake liners so I had to make regular sized ones- makes 5 regular sized cupcakes, took about 14 minutes and I upped the oven temp to 375. Very fudgy and moist- I was hesitant at first when I realized there were no eggs but damn these were great! I made them because I had leftover vanilla buttercream so I didn't make the frosting, only the cupcakes.
Tripled this recipe to make a dozen cupcakes. Didn't have light brown sugar so used combo of dark brown sugar and cane sugar and they still came out fantastic. They were perfectly chocolatey and fluffy! Discovered your site during the start of the pandemic. Truly love and appreciate all your efforts for small batches! Thank you!
Hi Christina! If I wanted to omit the cocoa powder (ack, I know!) should I replace it with anything? Son has an egg allergy and isn't too fond of chocolate, but this is the best eggless cake recipe I've come across. Thanks!
Christina Lane says
Search through my site for a small batch vanilla cupcake post instead :)
Lydia D. says
I love how these came out! They taste so good. I've been lurking for a bit, but this was my first recipe made from your site. There's only two of us, so I have a feeling I'll be trying more of your stuff. :)
Libby Reed says
These were fantastic! Made them on a whim tonight for my 1 year old’s birthday (even though we had already celebrated over the weekend). They were honestly the best cupcake I’ve ever had! Love the flavor that the sour cream adds. I ended up mixing the frosting by hand (then my arm got tired and I passed it over to my husband) - but it turned out SO GOOD. So silky and creamy and fantastic! Love your recipes for small batches so much. Thank you!
is it 350C or 350F
Christina Lane says
Hi Christina, I just made the batter for your cupcakes, it seems very thick. I do have a
Wilton 6 cup muffin pan but the batter only did 2 cupcakes. Will let you know how they come out. Is the batter supposed to be thick
Christina Lane says
Sounds like you used sour cream. The batter is much thicker with sour cream, but it still turns out great! The oven melts the sour cream, and they're light, fluffy and super tender. You'll love it!
I recently made this recipe and it quickly became our FAVORITE from this website. The crumb texture is perfect and the cake stays moist, no dry crumbs here. I made it again as a two layer cake by tripling the recipe and using 2 6” cake pans. It’s more moist and tender than the mini chocolate cake for 2 that I’ve made many times. I baked it at 350° for about 17 min. I love that if I’m low on eggs, I don’t have to sweat it. Thanks Christina!