Basic Chocolate Cake or Cupcakes

March 25, 2013
chocolate cupcakes

This is my go-to recipe for whenever I’m making a chocolate or chocolate-based cake. Have at it!

chocolate cupcakesBasic Chocolate Cake or Cupcakes

Makes 16 cupcakes or just over enough batter for one 9″ round cake pan. Remember that you need to double the recipe if you’re making a full-sized cake.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup natural cocoa*
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water**
1/2 cup chocolate chips***

* Be sure not to substitute in dutch process cocoa here. Natural cocoa is acidic, and you need something acidic to react with the baking soda in this recipe. Dutch process cocoa has been neutralized.
** This will help bring out the flavor of the cocoa. I recommend boiling more than enough water first and then measuring; otherwise you could lose water to evaporation.
*** Totally optional, but dang, these make it wonderfully chocolatey.


If you haven’t already, you should check out my basic cake baking method and my list of cake baking tips! Every cake batter recipe I post follows that same method, and my cake baking tips are great to memorize for whenever you’re preparing a cake batter such as this.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.

In a larger bowl, beat together the oil and sugar. Then, beat in the eggs one at a time.

Gradually add the dry mixture to the oil-sugar-egg mixture.

Incorporate the vanilla.

Finish by stirring in the boiling water.

Baking time. For cupcakes, fill your liners just over halfway full and bake for 17 to 22 minutes. For a cake, fill a greased 9-inch round cake pan a little over halfway with batter and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Use the toothpick test for perfect doneness.

chocolate cupcakes

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No Comments

  • Reply Valeri Patterson October 26, 2016 at 5:16 am

    Does this recipe call for baking powder or baking soda? The ingredient list says baking soda, but the instructions say baking powered. Many thanks!

  • Reply Maurine Dashney October 26, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Oh haha wow I definitely meant baking soda there! Thanks!

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