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Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes, up close and personal

I love baking for parties. Primarily this is because I like getting feedback from big groups of people, friends and family on any baked goods that I make because I often like to try out new recipes on these occasions. It’s also fun to bake large quantities of food, or to decorate extra-large cakes from time to time. The only challenge – aside from deciding what to make in the first place – is that some recipes are just too small to work well for a party. A recipe can usually be doubled, and multiple batches can be baked, but it’s easiest if you can just work from one recipe.

These mini chocolate cupcakes are easy to make and the recipe makes enough for 4-dozen mini cupcakes! At first, when you realize that each cupcake is only about two bites, it doesn’t seem like 4-dozen will actually feed that many people. After all, when you put out full-size cupcakes, each guest usually takes a whole one. The thing about parties is that people rarely eat that much dessert and, while they might take a full size cupcake, not everyone eats the whole thing. Everyone eats a whole mini cupcake (no waste) and not everyone goes back for seconds, so you probably won’t even need to provide extras.

I like this recipe because the cupcakes turn out very moist with a good, deep cocoa flavor to them. If your oven won’t hold the pans to bake all the cupcakes at once, or if you don’t have enough mini cupcake pans to make 48 cupcakes at a time and need to wait for a pan to cool before reusing it, don’t worry about it. The batter can sit around for a little while without adversely affecting the cupcakes’ ability to rise in the oven. The first batch might be a bit poofier, but some down time (as long as you don’t play with the batter while it’s sitting around and get it overmixed), shouldn’t hurt it one bit.

Cream cheese frosting is always a hit and it’s easy to work with, so that’s what I used for these cupcakes. Feel free to use any other kind of frosting that you’d like, however.

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp instant coffee powder (optional)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk (low fat is ok)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 48 mini muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa power, instant coffee powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and vinegar. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.
Distribute batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
6-oz cream cheese, room temperature
6 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp milk or cream
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar

In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter. Beat in vanilla and milk (start with 1 tbsp and add additional if you wish to thin the frosting), then add in the confectioners’ sugar gradually until the frosting reaches your desired consistency (make it a bit stiffer if you wish by adding additional sugar).
Fill a pastry bag with a star tip, or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off, and pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

Makes 4-dozen cupcakes

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  • nickki
    June 28, 2008

    Wow, they look absolutely delicious! Bet they taste like little mouthfuls of heaven. If only I wasn’t out of vanilla extract, I’d be making these right now! x

  • beth
    June 28, 2008

    These look so cute and delicious too!

  • dawn
    June 28, 2008

    I would pop those in my mouth like bon bons. They look amazing.

  • janelle
    June 29, 2008

    ok, i made these last night….DELICIOUS!!!! the bad part, i wanna eat em all up!!!

  • Joe
    June 29, 2008

    I love mini desserts Nic – these look great!

  • Jenny
    July 1, 2008

    Makes me want to like the page. 🙂

  • Gerry
    July 1, 2008

    they all look so lovely and yummy! i must try baking it myself. can anyone tell me:
    Buttermilk – what is the difference w/buttermilk and fresh milk. can i use fresh milk ?
    confectioner’s sugar – are they icing sugar?

  • Gerry
    July 1, 2008

    they all look so lovely and yummy! i must try baking it myself. can anyone tell me:
    Buttermilk – what is the difference w/buttermilk and fresh milk. can i use fresh milk ?
    confectioner’s sugar – are they icing sugar?

  • Missy
    July 4, 2008

    Will try making this soon! By the way, can I use olive oil for the veg oil?

  • Erika
    July 7, 2008

    I’m wondering where you get instant coffee powder? The coffee aisle at the market?

  • Louvelette
    July 7, 2008

    looks good…i will definitely try baking these cupcakes =)

  • Brittany
    July 11, 2008

    Those look delicious! The thing I love about mini cupcakes is that they feel like such a guilt free indulgence because of their tiny size! The only problem is that I usually end up justifying more of them . . . the taste buds prevail again!

  • deanna
    July 30, 2008

    hi BB,

    i tried to bake this recipe 2 days ago and the batter was very dry. the batter was not the usual cake consistency type. i noticed there isnt any egg in the recipe. the cup turned out bitter and floury-taste. what is wrong with my effort? i did follow exactly all the steps required. thanks. i will not give up on this recipe. cheers

  • vrinda
    December 31, 2008

    I was looking for cake recipes without butter,thanx a lot….


  • Shantee
    January 31, 2009

    hey, i tried baking these adorable mini cupcakes today and it didnt turn out good at all 🙁
    the batter was so dry and it’s unusual for cupcake batters. i had to add an egg to moisten it up but even that couldnt save it. the taste was bland 🙁

  • Nessakym
    May 17, 2009

    Same problems as above. Followed recipe to a tee, and batter was closer to the consistency of cookie dough. Added more milk and oil.. they turned out looking ok, but were bland… very bland. This recipe will not be staying in my book, to say the least.

  • Jessica
    September 24, 2009

    i found the batter to be a little thicker than most cake batter but i baked it anyway and it came out tasting great. the frosting is delicious too, they were a hit at the party and there were none left over!

  • Kathleen
    November 11, 2009

    Made these tonight and they were great! Batter was just thick enough that I could use a cookie scoop to fill the cupcake tins super easily (but not too dry like some others noted). Best part: half hour start to finish (done baking) for the cupcakes! If I had made the frosting immediately they’d be done start to finish in an hour, I’d say. The tiny things bake and cool so quickly. First time using my new tiny tins – love them! Made 36 for me, and twice as much frosting as I needed so I’ll put it in the freezer and whip up another batch another time.

  • Gayle
    December 5, 2009

    Just made this minis this afternoon. it was for an order. i love the batter (no eggs, that i can lick it off the spatula :D) it was a first for me to use oil, apple cider, and sugar all together without the use of butter and eggs! 🙂 – the result? the cupcakes were all so moist and creamy. 😀 to die for.
    ..regarding the frosting, i was wondering how you made yours stiff to stand? mine was so soft, that it wouldn’t stand 🙁 i just made a zigzag and round frosting with it..
    .. i made 4 and 1/2 dozens. 😀

  • karine
    March 29, 2010

    Made these today – and they are PERFECT!
    I see some comments about the batter being dry? When I made it, it was moist and nice. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  • Anonymous
    May 12, 2010

    buttermilk has a higher fat content- I used skim milk and everything turned out great! so quick and easy!

  • Donna
    December 31, 2010

    These weren’t horrible, but not as good as a devils food cake mix. I will not use this recipe again, would advise that you not try it.

  • Robin
    January 22, 2011

    This cupcake recipe was amazing! I made half of a recipe because I only had one mini muffin pan and they turned out AHH-MAZING! I used a watermelon scoop to distribute the batter to all the tins, and it was not too dry as others have said. The coffee powder really brought out the taste of the chocolate too. I usually do not like frosting, but this cream cheese frosting was not too sweet, and not too bitter. I brought them for a friends birthday and everyone loved them! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  • Jen
    April 1, 2011

    The frosting was good but the cupcakes were dry and grainy. I did not add the coffee powder. Also, my son was playing with the timer so maybe I lost track of time. The batter did not flatten out as it baked so the cupcakes were bumpy on top.

  • Rashmi
    April 6, 2011

    I’m extremely new to Baking and was excited at trying these cute looking Cupcakes. Followed the Recipe EXACTLY and the cakes seem to come out nice but they tasted a lil less sweet for the cakes that I had tried before and also they weren’t moist enough but I did like it and the fact that this is eggless and NO butter too!! May be I’ll try with a 1 full cup of Milk next time.
    Thanks for posting this recipe

  • JB
    May 1, 2011

    Great flavor and texture. Mine sunk in the middle for some reason, but eh. Ten minutes was just right in my oven. The icing tastes all right, but I wish I had put on an icing that sets up a little more. This stays pretty gooey. Definitely a keeper cake.

  • Hannah
    July 5, 2011

    I made a recipe and a half of these for a bridal shower, and they were such a hit! They’re the perfect size for a ladies’ gathering. The cakes were moist, with plenty of chocolate flavor, and the cream cheese icing paired with the chocolate cake was perfect! The batter was a different consistency than I expected, but I followed the recipe exactly, and they came out of the oven looking and tasting perfect. I didn’t have any problems with any of them being too dry, lumpy, or flat. I tinted the icing to match the three colors of the shower decorations, and they were absolutely adorable! I will definitely use this recipe for any large gatherings I have in the future.

  • Kris Rusak
    September 27, 2011

    Arg…I am an experienced baker, however, I did not have any luck with these cute little cupcakes and would love to know what I did wrong. I followed the recipe exactly. The only thing I can think of is that I overfilled them as them bubbled over and were very gooey. Help any suggestions.

  • bharathi
    October 3, 2011

    hi there … can we use these cake recipe and different frosting can the temperature and the cooking time still be the same??

  • rodney
    November 29, 2011

    i could do this by tomorrow for my mom bday,,

  • kale @ tastes good to me!
    January 28, 2012

    Tried these tonight. I don’t know why, but they came out kind of greasy and looked nothing like yours! 🙁 It might be my new gas stove I’m getting used to, or the altitude here in Quito (Ecuador). At any rate the flavor was awesome, so maybe I’ll make some temp adjustments and try again!

  • Kinley
    February 11, 2012


  • Olivia
    February 29, 2012

    Frosting was good, but I have to agree with other reviewers who said the cake was extremely dry. I added extra milk and oil, as well, but after baking these just suck all the moisture out of your mouth. Yikes. Not very good. Wish I had read the comments before making. The only saving grace was that I only made a half recipe instead of a whole so now I only have 24 cupcakes to get rid of instead of 48.

  • kan
    March 23, 2012

    I just finished baking this recipe, they was very bad. 🙁 The cake was very very dry. I should red comments before baking.

  • Sophie
    May 3, 2012

    Made these today to bring to work and they were devoured with great reviews! I added 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, as I usually find receipes without eggs to be a little heavy and dry. The batter was thicker than most cupcakes, but they turned out tasting great. They have the taste and texture of brownies! I used strawberry buttercream icing. Will use again.

  • Malti
    August 1, 2012

    I just tried this recipe and the cupcakes were awesome!!! Thanks for sharing!!! It’s so hard to find a good cupcake recipe!!!

  • Lauren
    October 28, 2012

    I just made these last night and they came out really tasty! I did not experience any problems as others have. I even used gluten free flour and still yummy! I will definitely be making these again. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

  • Terine
    February 10, 2013

    worked perfect for me!!! yummy!

  • Michelle @ MakeMeCake.Me
    April 2, 2013

    Just made these and yum-o! I didn’t quite get 4 dozen mini’s, closer to 3, but no biggie. I loved the thicker batter, which made for easier distribution into those little mini cups. Plus, I was able to use a heaping tablespoon scoop, which made the process even simpler. Thanks for a lovely mini recipe!

  • iheartcafe
    May 11, 2013

    i used coconut milk 🙂 tasted great! love the recipe! will use it again thanks for sharing!

  • EF
    July 23, 2013

    The recipe is amazing. Very rich chocolate flavor and no wgg and butter! Super easy to make (like 5 mins) I don’t find the batter dry as some commented before. But definitely it’s thicker than many other types if cupcake batter.
    I will keep this recipe for sure!

  • Jessie
    February 12, 2015

    I made these for my sons preschool, and I used coconut oil instead of veggie oil, just melted it first. I used organic sugar which is a bit on the grainy side, but mine turned out fine after they sat on the counter for a bit before portioning and baking. I found that if I let it sit for a while first (about half an hour, then gave it a little folding with the spatula) I got smoother results. I liked that it was thick batter, it made it easier to portion because I could just use one of my mini ice cream scoopers. The taste is a tad bland, so maybe these would be good with a filling.
    I made a swiss meringue buttercream to top mine because I needed a stiffer icing and my experience with cream cheese icing is that it tastes like heaven but can be softer. The buttercream icing went amazing with it, like a buttered brownie (if you have not put butter on a hot brownie, I feel sad for you) and I can not wait to show these to the kids, they are sure to love them.
    I may try tweaking the recipe next time, maybe a little bit less cocoa powder as it is VERY drying.

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