Primrose Bakery's chocolate cupcakes recipe

(311 ratings)

Moist chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing to decorate how you like. Visit goodtoknow for more cupcakes

Triple chocolate cupcakes with ganache
Preparation Time50 mins
Cooking Time20 mins (may need an extra 5 mins)
Total Time1 hours 10 mins

This chocolate cupcake recipe from the Primrose Bakery in Covent Garden makes 16 regular-sized cupcakes or 48 mini-mouthfuls if you want to use them as treats for friends or guests - although we could probably manage 48 mini cakes by ourselves because they are so delicious!

These moist chocolate cupcakes are made with real dark chocolate (use the best quality for the tastiest results) and are frosted with chocolate buttercream icing.

Primrose Bakery decorate them with a glossy chocolate top and white chocolate curls, but you can decorate them however you like but we recommend little chocolate curls or sprinkles.


For the

chocolate cupcakes


  • 115g good quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa if possible
  • 85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 185g plain flour
  • 3/4tsp baking powder
  • 3/4tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

For the

chocolate buttercream icing


  • 350g 70% dark chocolate
  • 225g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract, good quality
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted




  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (fan)/190ºC/375ºF/gas mark 5.
  2. Line either a muffin tin (for regular-sized cupcakes) or a mini cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
  3. Melt the chocolate (the easiest way is in a microwave on a medium heat for 1 min stir and then microwave again for a further min, but be very careful not to burn the chocolate!) Leave to cool slightly.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric hand beater until pale and smooth. In a separate bowl and with clean beaters beat the egg yolks for several mins. Slowly add the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well. Next, add the chocolate to this mixture and beat well.
  5. Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Combine the milk and vanilla in a jug. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate, butter and sugar, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Beat very well after each addition.
  6. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Carefully fold the eggs whites into the main batter using a metal spoon. Do not beat or you will take all the air out of the cake.
  7. Spoon the mixture out equally into the tins depending on the preferred size. You do not need to fill the cases with mixture, about two-thirds full will work best as the cakes will rise considerably in the oven. The batter will be of a fairly liquid consistency so take care when spooning out as it can end up being very messy! You could even use a jug to pour the batter into the cupcake cases if it gets too difficult to spoon.
  8. Place the trays in the oven and bake for between 20-25 mins for the regular size cupcakes or approx 15 mins for the mini cupcakes. Leave in their tins for 10 mins or so before placing on a wire rack to cool.
  9. For the chocolate buttercream icing: melt the chocolate in a bowl or plastic jug in the microwave until smooth and a thick pouring consistency. A general guide would be to heat at 30 secs intervals on medium, stirring in between, to avoid burning the chocolate. Leave to cool slightly.
  10. Beat the butter, sugar, milk and vanilla with an electric hand beater in a bowl until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat until thick and creamy. If it looks too runny to use when trying to ice cupcakes or cakes, simply keep beating, this will thicken the icing and improve its consistency. Then ice the cupcakes.
Top Tip for making Primrose Bakery's chocolate cupcakes

The icing can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Remember to beat well before re-using. You can buy cat cake toppers at

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The Hummingbird Bakery's vanilla cupcakes recipe

The founders of Primrose Bakery, Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas originally started off baking their unique cakes for children’s parties, before realising it wasn’t just the kids who loved their deliciously sweet treats. Primrose Bakery was founded in 2004 and started off with just one shop on the famous north London road, Primrose Hill. Fourteen years later, the now sole owner of the brand, Martha, has two other stores - one in Covent Garden and another in Kensington. If you fancy having a go at baking one of their famous cakes yourself, check out the recipe pages for their famous carrot cake or the delicious chocolate cupcakes. You’re sure to find the sweet treat you’re looking for with one of these recipes. As well as the successful Primrose Bakery stores, Martha (and Lisa) have released five best-selling recipe books that are full of simple, foolproof recipes. Once you’ve got the baking down to a tee, why not try one of their signature decorating classes? It’s here that you can learn the Primrose Bakery signature swirl, palette knife techniques and how to create a masterpiece with piping. All of the classes are taught at one of their famous shops by their head chefs. It’s a great day out for the family or a lovely gift for someone special. And the best thing about it…you can take everything home with you to eat!