Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting

These Chocolate Cupcakes are moist, chocolatey, and topped with a mocha buttercream frosting for a delicious snack or dessert. They’re quick and easy to make, and with no eggs, they’re a great vegan treat.

chocolate cupcakes with frosting

Baking is not exactly a skill set I can proudly write to mama about, but occasionally, I like to roll up my sleeves and whip up baked goodies like I’m the next Sara Lee. There’s just something about the aroma of freshly baked cookies or cupcakes that screams comfort food.

Although I don’t bake as often as I cook, I do have a few baking recipes in my back pocket I put to good use year-round. These super moist chocolate cupcakes with mocha buttercream frosting, in fact, are based on my favorite cake recipe which is probably the quickest and simplest one you’d come across.

flour, sugar, vinegar, cocoa powder, oil in bowls

The cake, which goes by many names such as cockeyed, depression, or wacky cake, is my go-to when I am craving something sweet and indulgent but don’t have the time or energy to deal with dirty bowls after. All it needs is a minute of whisking and 30 minutes in the oven to come out moist and chocolatey EVERY TIME. The batter even gets mixed and baked in the same pan!

You can make this recipe in an 8 x 8 baking pan if you prefer a cake or in muffin tins for individual cupcakes. You get an amazing baked treat the whole family will love either way.

making chocolate cupcakes

And if you’re looking for a vegan treat, this is it! There are no eggs in the batter as the use of vinegar is where the magic lies. As an acid, it reacts with baking soda to produce carbon dioxide, which lifts the batter as it bakes.

Don’t worry; the finished product will have no after taste, and no one would be able to tell there’s vinegar in it.

making mocha buttercream frosting in a blue bowl

Baking Tips

  • To boost the chocolate flavor, add a teaspoon of instant coffee granules to the batter.
  • I use distilled white vinegar but apple cider vinegar will work, too.
  • If you’re baking this as a cake, you can stir all the ingredients and bake in the same pan. There’s no need to grease the baking pan.
  • I included a delicious mocha buttercream frosting which really goes well with the chocolate flavor but you can just sprinkle the cupcakes with powdered sugar or use store-bought icing if you want to keep things simple.
Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting on a white plate

How to serve

Enjoy these chocolate cupcakes as a midday snack, after-meal dessert, or any time of the day you need a sweet goodie!

How to store

  • You can store unfrosted cupcakes at room temperature for up to days. Keep in an airtight container to maintain freshness.
  • Keep frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator to keep the buttercream from melting, especially during warmer weather. Please note that refrigeration will dry out the cupcakes faster.

More baked goodies

  • Calamansi Muffins
  • Filipino-style Coconut Macaroons
  • Cheese Cupcakes
chocolate cupcakes with frosting

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting

These Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting are the ultimate sweet treat. Super moist and chocolatey, they’re sure to be a family favorite.


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Mocha Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 ounces baking chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


    • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
    • In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well-distributed.
    • In another bowl, combine water, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract. Add to flour mixture and stir together until just combined.
    • Using a scoop or tablespoon, divide batter into prepared muffin pan.
  •  Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to completely cool before frosting.

For the Mocha Buttercream Frosting

  • In a microwaveable bowl, microwave chocolate on HIGH for about 40 to 45 seconds. Stir until just melted and cool to room temperature.
  • In a small bowl, combine milk and instant coffee granules. Stir until dissolved.
  • In a large bowl, combine butter, vanilla extract, and salt and beat for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add melted chocolate and beat until blended, scraping occasionally.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add coffee mixture and beat until desired consistency.
  • Chill buttercream for a few minutes before piping cupcakes.

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