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Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes

  • Author: Elizabeth Buuck
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 18 Cupcakes 1x


Classic chocolate cupcakes with fluffy vanilla American buttercream swirls and rainbow sprinkles.



For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1/2 C (1 Stick) Salted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 C Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 C Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Lg Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 C Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/4 C Buttermilk, at room temperature

For the Vanilla American Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 C (3 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 6 C Powdered Sugar
  • 46 TBSP Heavy Cream, at room temperature


For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350 and line cupcake pans with 18 liners.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the mixer, starting and ending with dry ingredients. Start with 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/2 of the buttermilk, repeat.
  • Stop mixing when there are a few streaks of flour remaining to prevent overmixing. Do a final mix with a rubber spatula.
  • Use a standard ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into the prepared pan, filling the liners 3/4 of the way full.
  • Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached.
  • Cool completely while you prepare the buttercream.

For the Vanilla American Buttercream

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 10 minutes, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl several times.
  • Add the salt and vanilla, mix to combine.
  • Add the powdered sugar 1/2 at a time, mixing on low for 3 minutes after each addition.
  • Add the heavy cream 1 TBSP at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Use a piping bag with a large round tip to pipe buttercream onto cooled cupcakes. Then, use an offset spatula to create a swirl in the center of the buttercream.
  • Top with rainbow sprinkles. Serve.


Cupcakes will keep at room temperature for up to 24 hours, or for up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container.

Keywords: classic chocolate cupcakes, chocolate birthday cupcakes, rainbow sprinkle cupcakes