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Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

February 14, 2019 | Author: Ashley McCrary
Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting

My first love has always been baking. Before starting my blog, I had a little cupcake business called Sweet Little Things & Co. During this time I was still teaching, so I would teach all day and bake all night. I worked so hard at building my business, I was featured on an episode of Cupcake Wars on The Food Network, which was a really cool experience. My blog wouldn’t be complete unless I shared my amazing chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting. 

Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting

I stopped baking because I was falling into a really unhealthy habit with always having sweets in the house and having to taste test all my new recipes. I ended up putting on a lot of weight and my battle with PCOS spiraled out of control. Even though I now run a health blog, it is fun to share my old full-fat cupcake recipes with all of you.

Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting

I love finding balance in healthy living and showing my girls that it is okay to indulge in “treat” food every now and then. When I do make my cupcakes, my girls know that it is a special treat, and they get so excited. I want them to understand that indulging in these types of foods is good on occasions and actually does our body good, but it’s not okay to have one every day.

Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting

I am excited to share to share all my secrets for my chocolate cupcakes and how to make a box cake mix taste homemade. Most all of my cupcakes are from scratch, but I wanted to develop one that would save time and money in the kitchen.

How to make a box cake mix taste homemade?

  1. Instead of following the box instructions and adding in 1 ¼ cup of water, add 1 ¼ cup of whole milk instead. It adds so much flavor, fat and density to the cake. It almost gives it a velvety texture.
  2. Always add an extra egg On the box it usually calls for 3 eggs, I usually add 4, which gives the cake a firmer consistency and holds it together better.
  3. I always add 1/3 cup of instant pudding mix to all my cupcake recipes whether it is from scratch or a box. It makes it so moist and adds additional flavor.
Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting

What are the best box cake mixes for these Chocolate Cupcakes?

  1. Duncan Hines is my favorite because I feel like their chocolate mix always comes out fluffy and moist. It also has a really rich chocolate flavor that I love. I also feel like this specific brand always mixes nicely without any big lumps.
  2. Betty Crocker is also a great choice because I feel like their mixes always deliver a pretty shiny cake that looks really pretty. It also tastes moist and decadent.
  3. Pillsbury is a great option, but my least favorite of the 3. It has a good texture, I just feel like the batter mixes a little lumpy and doesn’t bake smooth like the other options.
Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting

How do I get fluffy buttercream frosting for these chocolate cupcakes?

The key to making buttercream frosting fluffy….

  1. A good mixer makes all the difference: Use a standing mixer with the whisk attachment. I have found that using my whisk allows me to get air evenly throughout the frosting that helps with the fluffy texture.
  2. Soft butter is your friend: Don’t you even think about using hard butter. Soft butter is your friend when getting a good fluffy buttercream. I usually leave my butter out a couple of hours and it serves as the perfect texture to start with.
  3. Whip the Butter: Always beat the butter first and allow it to get really fluffy. I will usually turn my mixer on medium to high speed for 4 to 5 minutes that will help the butter get light before adding in the powdered sugar.
  4. Sift the sugar:Make sure to always sift the powdered sugar. Since the sugar is sitting in a bag, it can become lumpy and hard. Sifting it will allow it to mix smoother and give you a better finished product.
  5. Add sugar slowly:  I find that the most important part of this process is adding in the powdered sugar slowly. I recommend adding in a cup and allow it to mix together completely before adding the next cup.
Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting

Do you have to refrigerate buttercream frosting?

Buttercream frosting made with small amounts of milk are safe to leave out at room temperature for two to three days. Buttercream made with cream cheese or the French-Style buttercream however, is not safe to leave out and should be refrigerated.

Can you make buttercream frosting in advance?

In my opinion, buttercream is the absolute best taste and fluffiness the day it is made. However, you can mix this in advance and store in the refrigerator until use. Before piping, I recommend sitting out at room temperature then mixing it up with a spoon.

Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting

There ya have it. Believe it or not, making cupcakes from scratch if you don’t already have all ingredients on hand can be a little pricey. Sometimes, if I am in the mood for an indulgent treat, I love grabbing a box cake mix and making it my own. My buttercream frosting, which is made from scratch is the main showstopper in this recipe. It is so good you can honestly eat it like ice cream.

Click on the picture below to pin this recipe to your Pinterest board:

Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting

Shop my chocolate cupcake post post:

Love these chocolate cupcakes? Be sure to check out my other favorites below:

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Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

These decadent and moist chocolate cupcakes are the perfect dessert for any occasions. These are made with easy ingredients and take no time at all to whip up. The fluffy buttercream icing takes these delicious chocolate cupcakes to a whole new level.

  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 1214 cupcakes 1x



Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 box double chocolate cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil (plus 1 tbsp)
  • 1/3 cup instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 6 strawberries (cut in half)
  • 1/3 cup melted milk chocolate (for drizzle)

Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 sticks butter ((or 1 cup))
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp whole milk



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a (12) cup muffin pan with white paper cupcake liners. (If you have extra batter, add to an additional muffin pan.
  2. Add the box cake mix to a bowl along with the 1/3 cup instant chocolate pudding mix. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Instead of adding water, sub 1 1/4 cup whole milk, along with an additional egg (4 total) and 1/3 cup oil plus 1 tbsp.
  4. Pour half the wet mixture into the dry and mix together. Continue adding the other half of the dry mix until completely combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only halfway (don’t go overboard here, make sure to just do halfway so they rise correctly). Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Top with a fresh strawberry and drizzle with melted milk chocolate.

Buttercream Frosting

  1. In a stand up mixer or hand mixer, whip the butter together on medium/high speed until fluffy (around 4 mins). Sift the confectioners’ sugar before slowly adding to the butter.
  2. Slowly in your confectioners’ sugar (1 cup at a time) along with gradually adding in your whole milk. Mix until combined. (Adjust the consistency of the frosting as needed by adding more confectioners’ sugar or cream).
  3. Add the vanilla extract and continue mixing on medium and beat all ingredients together for 2-3 minutes. Here you will add more milk to thicken out the icing. If the icing becomes too thin, add in a little confectioners sugar.
  4. Once cupcakes are cool, use a piping bag and ice cupcakes as desired.


 Make sure to sift the confectioners’ sugar before adding to the butter.
  • Author: Ashley McCrary
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Dessert

3 thoughts on "Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting"

  1. Heidi says:

    I made these for my daughter’s birthday and I have never had cupcakes this good! I will never go back to making the box mix the old way. Thank you so much for this incredible recipe!

  2. Nancy says:

    Sorry she you say “oil” what kind are you referring to? Vegetable oil? Or can you sub canola? I didn’t see any reference to this and I’m not a big cake maker so maybe it’s obvious! Thanks!!!

    1. Ashley McCrary says:

      Vegetable oil or coconut oil.


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About Me

Welcome to Healthy Little Peach. I’m Mac, the lady behind the recipes. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle that consists of a mix of healthy whole foods, and full-fat comfort meals. Life is too short not to enjoy good food while maintaining a healthy body and mind. Here you will find gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, and even full-fat comfort recipes. Let’s have fun in the kitchen together!

About Me

Welcome to Healthy Little Peach. I’m Mac, the lady behind the recipes. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle that consists of a mix of healthy whole foods, and full-fat comfort meals. Life is too short not to enjoy good food while maintaining a healthy body and mind. Here you will find gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, and even full-fat comfort recipes. Let’s have fun in the kitchen together!

(AD) With the back-to-school season right around the corner, life can get pretty busy. I'm here to help with a quick and easy lunchbox idea featuring @StarKistCharlie Hot Buffalo Style Tuna Creation Pouch. If you are not a fan of spicy, don't fear, these little pouches come in 23+ varieties and you can find them in the tuna aisle in the grocery store or online. Most of the pouches have 10g+ lean protein per single-serve pouch and 110 calories or less. I love serving these with my favorite fruits and veggies to make them a complete lunch or snack. These pouches are also great for a post-workout protein-filled snack. Just tear it open and eat straight from the pouch. #EverydayGoals

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2 @StarKistCharlie Hot Buffalo Style Tuna Creation Pouches
2 tablespoons mayo
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With school starting, life gets so busy and meal time can be super hectic. I’m here to help with my top favorite Costco finds that will make meal time a breeze! 

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Every year I let the girls pick out a theme for their birthday cakes and I try to make it magical. This year Eloise wanted a chocolate cake with watercolor buttercream along with pink and teal macarons. It turned out better than I imagined and Eloise absolutely love it!!!

🧁For the buttercream, I used my recipe that is located on my site. You can also find it in my profile

🍰As for the cake, I  used my box cake mix hack. This is seriously my favorite way to make a cake because it tastes straight from the bakery. See the hack below

✨Follow the box cake mix instructions but with these changes 
Tip 1 Add one more egg (or add 2 if you want it to be very rich)
Tip 2 Use melted butter instead of oil and double the amount
Tip 3 Use milk instead of water
Tip 4 if using for cupcakes fill 3/4 of cupcake liners with the mix.
✨Bake according to the box and remove it two minutes early and let them sit for a couple of minutes in the tin. ✨Remove and allow them to cool

🍓I used Bonne Maman Strawberry Jam for the middle 

#reels #cake #buttercream #macarons #birthdaycake #birthdaycakeideas #baking #bakinghacks #cookinghacks #chocolate #chocolatecake #thebakefeed @thefeedfeed #thefeedfeed #foodblogger #foodphotography #asthetic
8 years ago you made me a mother and everyday since has been so much brighter. 

It’s such a joy watching you grow up. I hope you know how much you are loved and cherished. Can’t wait to see what you do in this world, kid! 

We love you, Sweet Eloise. Happy 8th Birthday!!

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Follow @healthylittlepeach for more recipes, tips and tricks. 

✨This cozy, protein-packed Chicken Zoodle Soup is a recipe you don’t want to miss! A healthy twist on a classic favorite, this soup is a winner!

See my profile for my full recipe or you can find it at

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