How To Make One Chocolate Cupcake

(Image credit: Maria Midoes)

Chocolate cupcake cravings are a real problem for those of us without an office or classroom to share a whole dozen with. Ditto for those of us without a decent cupcake bakery nearby. Enter: the single-serve chocolate cupcake. It’s baked in a toaster oven with just a few pantry staples, and it’s here to solve all our problems with a rich and chocolatey answer — not to mention a perfectly tender crumb. And if you’re wondering about a vanilla cupcake, we’ve got you covered there, too.

This Is Not a Mug Cake

Microwaved mug cakes have risen in popularity for their ease and immediacy. However, what they offer in speed, they lose in texture. Most chocolate mug cakes require a scoop of ice cream or drizzle of caramel sauce to stay moist. This cupcake, however, is truly as delectable as the best bakery cupcakes — moist and rich in chocolate flavor with a fine crumb. It does require you to heat your toaster oven and dirty a few bowls, but the results are infinitely more impressive than minimal mug cakes when a true cupcake is what you’re after.

Ingredient Shortcuts Make One Cupcake Possible

This recipe calls for self-rising flour for a few reasons. It eliminates the need for additional chemical leavening, like baking powder, so there’s no need to measure out a tiny amount of baking powder and salt. Buying a pint of egg whites is also a great shortcut if you plan on baking these cupcakes regularly. One tablespoon (or half of a large egg white) is all you need for a single cupcake.

Cocoa and Chocolate

Dutch process cocoa powder is ideal for this cupcake recipe, as self-rising flour is risen by baking powder, and the acidity of the Dutch process cocoa won’t over-inflate the cupcake. Use your favorite cocoa powder and splurge on your favorite semi-sweet chocolate — the amounts are small, but make a big difference in the quality of this single-serve chocolate cupcake.

12 Ratings

How To Make One Chocolate Cupcake

Makes1 cupcake


For the cupcake:

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    egg white

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons

    self-rising flour

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dutch-process cocoa powder

  • 1 tablespoon

    whole milk or almond milk

For the frosting;

  • 2 ounces

    semisweet chocolate, melted

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    vanilla extract


  • Toaster oven (optional, but recommended)

  • Oven-safe ramekin

  • 2

    paper cupcake liners

  • Small mixing bowl

  • Small whisk

  • Small spatula

  • Wooden spoon


  1. Heat the oven and prep the baking vessel: Arrange a rack in the middle of a regular or toaster oven and heat to 350°F. Stack 2 cupcake liners together inside a small, oven-safe ramekin.

  2. Cream the wet ingredients: Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, egg white, and vanilla extract in a small bowl until smooth.

  3. Add the dry ingredients: Add the self-rising flour and cocoa powder, then mix with a spatula until mostly smooth.

  4. Add the milk: Gently stir in the milk, being careful not to overmix.

  5. Bake the cupcake: Pour the batter into the prepared liner. The liner will be quite full. Bake until the cake is set and springs back when touched, 18 to 20 minutes.

  6. Cool: Cool the cupcake completely on a wire rack while preparing the frosting.

  7. Make the frosting: Beat the melted chocolate, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together in a small mixing bowl until smooth. You can do this by hand, but it will take at least 5 minutes of mixing to get a smooth mixture.

  8. Frost and decorate: Frost the cupcake and decorate with sprinkles, if using.

Recipe Notes

Ramekin: Use the smallest ramekin you have that will hold a standard cupcake liner, and make sure you line it with 2 paper liners to avoid the cupcake from spreading while baking.

Self-rising flour substitute: Whisk together 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and a 1/4 teaspoon fine salt. Measure off 2 tablespoons to use in this cupcake. The rest can be stored in an airtight container for future use.