This chocolate cupcake Recipe is a lower sugar take on a classic dessert—but it’s filled with chocolatey flavor and creamy frosting that your toddler will totally love!
They might not be quite as sweet as the cupcakes you’d get at the bakery, but they are definitely a treat that your toddler will be happy to dig into! (And I bet you’d like to have one too.) I love to bake these easy chocolate cupcakes with my girls on weekend afternoons when we can bake and eat together.
I love baking for toddlers and I’ve found that it’s easier than many realize to tweak classic desserts to have less sugar. A standard chocolate cupcake recipe has anywhere from ½-1 cup of sugar, but this one has just 1/3 cup. This means that there’s enough sugar to make the right texture and flavor, but they’re suitable for toddlers who aren’t yet supposed to have much added sugars.
These chocolate cupcakes come together in one bowl and are made with straightforward ingredients. The rich chocolate flavor comes from the cocoa powder and vanilla.
Easy Chocolate Cupcake Recipe from Scratch
I know that it’s extremely easy to buy boxed mixes or fully made cupcakes at the grocery store or bakery, and I fully endorse going that route. I do also love making cupcakes from scratch because they are such a simple, yet rewarding dessert.
This easy cupcake recipe is one that you can make with the kids if you’d like to work in a kitchen activity. Let them help measure or let them have a turn with the electric mixer. Just be sure to use a large enough bowl that the batter doesn’t fly all over the kitchen!
What makes a cupcake moist and fluffy?
The key to moist and fluffy chocolate cupcakes is to beat lots of air into the eggs and flour, but to not overwork the batter once you add the flour. That would cause the gluten in the flour to toughen up.
How do you make cupcakes moist?
The moisture in these chocolate cupcakes comes from the sour cream, butter, and eggs. Beating the eggs well before adding in the flour helps to ensure that they bake up both moist and fluffy.
Egg-Free Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
I wanted to make sure that I gave an egg-free option for these cupcakes in case of a food allergy. You can use 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed and 5 tablespoons water in place of the eggs called for in the recipe. The batter bakes up moist and fluffy and it’s actually hard to tell the difference! (That’s an egg-free one above.)
How do you ice cupcakes?
The easiest way to ice cupcakes with a pretty swirl is to put the frosting into a zip top bag, seal it, then snip off one corner. Use it like a piping bag to make swirls on the top of each cupcake. This is also a place where the kids can help!
You can also simply spread it on with a butter knife or off-set spatula.
Frosting Recipe without Powdered Sugar
We like to use cream cheese frosting since it’s naturally lower in sugar than a traditional buttercream, which needs cups of powdered sugar to hold shape. (It’s delicious, but it can be a lot for a tiny toddler!) It also is super easy to make, and is rich and creamy. The recipe here is for a Fresh Strawberry Frosting, which has a pretty pink color. If you want a plain cream cheese frosting, simply omit the strawberries.
This recipe makes a dozen modest-sized cupcakes. These cupcakes are best when they are freshly baked, so make them on the day you plan to eat them if possible and keep them at room temperature. Frost just before serving if possible.
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup butter butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Fresh Strawberry Frosting
- Prepare the Fresh Strawberry Frosting and place into the fridge. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a handheld electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream, vanilla, and milk. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Do not over mix.
- Fill prepared paper liners about 1/2 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly. Remove from oven. After about two minutes, remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Just before serving, remove the frosting from the fridge. Snip off one corner of the bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Garnish with a slice of berry, if desired, and serve immediately.
Fresh Strawberry Frosting: Place 1/2 cup chopped strawberries into a food processor. Grind until very smooth, about 20 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons honey, 6 ounces cream cheese, and 2 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature, and process until very smooth. Spoon into a quart-size zip top bag, seal, and refrigerate until ready to serve.Variations:Omit the strawberries to make a plain cream cheese frosting.Bake cupcakes in a mini muffin tin and reduce the baking time to 12-14 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly.Use whole-wheat pastry flour for 1/4 cup of the all-purpose.Use 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed and 5 tablespoons water in place of the eggs to make them egg-free.
- Serving Size: 1 cupcake
- Calories: 251
- Sugar: 22.5 g
- Sodium: 127.7 mg
- Fat: 13.1 g
- Saturated Fat: 7.7 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 4.4 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 30.5 g
- Fiber: 0.9 g
- Protein: 4.8 g
- Cholesterol: 64.7 mg