photo of hand reaching for chocolate cupcake on white plate with sprinkles

About This Small Batch Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

This small batch chocolate cupcake recipe makes just ONE chocolate cupcake, topped with an easily customizable buttercream frosting of your choice!

The recipe instructs you to make a big batch of cake mix that can be stored indefinitely. From there, it provides you with instructions on how to make an individual cupcake from the mix!

The sweet, soft, dense, and moist chocolate cupcake is made with a “secret” ingredient that doesn’t require you to halve eggs awkwardly or use its different parts exclusively like other small batch baking recipes.

The recipe comes from my friend (and Food Network star) Molly Yeh in her new cookbook, Home Is Where The Eggs Are. Learn more in the next section!

photo of molly yeh's cookbook home is where the eggs are on marble tabletop

Why You Should Make The Recipe

Here are all the reasons to make this small batch chocolate cupcake recipe:

This small batch chocolate cupcake recipe comes from Molly Yeh’s new cookbook, Home Is Where The Eggs Are.

Molly Yeh is the host of the Food Network cooking show, Girl Meets Farm. I’ve been lucky to call her a friend for many years now—in fact, we met through blogging!

Molly began her career as a blogger at My Name is Yeh. From there, she published her first cookbook, Molly On The Range, landed a deal for her TV show with Food Network, and is now opening Bernie’s, her first restaurant, in East Grand Forks, Minnesota.

It’s been incredible see her star just go up and up. I’m especially excited about her new book because it, like her first book, it’s extremely personal and biographical. This time around, it chronicles the start of her journey as a mom and officially settling into family life on her farm. Many of the recipes are quick, easy, and convenient, suiting her busy and action-packed lifestyle.

The chocolate cupcake recipe is VERY small batch and makes just ONE cupcake.

This small batch chocolate cupcake recipe from Molly’s book is VERY reflective of the quick, easy, and convenient recipes of her new book. The recipe instructs you to make a dry cake mix that makes enough for 12 that you can store indefinitely. However, she then provides instructions on how to make just ONE cupcake from that mix—making it a VERY small batch recipe!

Molly writes that she was inspired by the scene in Bridesmaids during which Kristen Wiig’s character bakes just one, very elaborate and delicious looking cupcake.

The small batch recipe uses a neat trick that doesn’t require you to measure out eggs in a weird way.

I’m no stranger to small batch baking—in fact, I have an extensive collection of small batch recipes on Hummingbird High! I was also interviewed by The New York Times about my expertise in developing small batch baking recipes.

However, most small batch baking recipes end up using weird quantities of eggs. Some recipes will instruct you to “halve” an egg by whisking it up in a bowl and measuring out half. But I hate that. What do you do with the other half of the egg?!

So instead, I stick to making recipes that exclusively use egg yolks (like these Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies, or these Ube Mochi Donuts) or egg whites (like these Small Batch Blueberry Scones or Flourless Chocolate Cookies). You can still use the other egg parts for recipes like Egg Yolk Chocolate Chip Cookies and meringues, at least. But still—I’ll be the first to admit that yes, even with my way, you still end up with weird egg leftovers.

Which is why Molly’s recipe is GENIUS. Instead of using eggs, she instructs you to use MAYONNAISE to make the cupcake. Mayonnaise already contains most of the ingredients—eggs, oil—you need to make a cake, anyway. Pretty smart, right?

close up photo of chocolate cupcake with sprinkles and squiggle frosting on white plate

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make this small batch recipe, here’s your shopping list for the recipe:

Shopping List For Small Batch Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

  • granulated sugar
  • all-purpose flour
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • kosher salt
  • baking soda
  • mayonnaise
  • coffee
  • unsalted butter
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • pure vanilla extract
  • kosher salt

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and their potential substitutions:

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Please use unsweetened cocoa powder and not Dutch-processed cocoa powder in this recipe! Unsweetened cocoa powder is slightly acidic, whereas Dutch-processed cocoa powder is not. This slightly acidic nature allows it to react with the baking soda in the recipe better, leading to a fluffier, more tender crumbed cupcake!

Coffee

You need 1 Tablespoon hot brewed coffee to make the small batch chocolate cupcake recipe. If you want to skip the caffeine, substitute with 1 Tablespoon freshly boiled hot water!

photo of two chocolate cupcakes on white plates on marble tabletop

How To Make Just One Chocolate Cupcake

Here are the basic steps to make just one chocolate cupcake from this small batch chocolate cupcake recipe:

  1. Make the cake mix by combining the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in an airtight container.

  2. Mix together 3 Tablespoons of the cake mix with 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise and 1 Tablespoon coffee to make the cupcake batter.

  3. Assemble the cupcake and bake it.

  4. Make the frosting.

  5. Decorate the cupcake and enjoy!
@hummingbirdhigh JUST. ONE. CUPCAKE. RECIPE. from #mollyyeh’s new cookbook! 🥰 #smallbatchbaking #bakingrecipe #bakingtiktok ♬ Luna, amore e no – Piero Piccioni

Best Recipe Tips

  • Molly recommends setting the butter for the frosting out to soften as you make the cupcake. She says that by the time it’s done baking, the butter will be at the perfect temperature to make into frosting!

  • It’s important to cool the cupcake completely before frosting. If you frost the cupcake while it’s still warm, it will melt the frosting!

More Small Batch Recipes

More Chocolate Cake Recipes

Get the Recipe: Small Batch Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

This small batch chocolate cupcake recipe makes just ONE soft and moist chocolate cupcake from a homemade dry cake mix recipe!
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Ingredients

For the Dry Cake Mix

  • 1 ½ cups (6.90 ounces or 195 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (5.30 ounces or 150 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (0.75 ounces or 20 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted if necessary
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

To Make One Chocolate Cupcake

  • 3 Tablespoons (1 ounce or 30 grams) dry cake mix (from the recipe above)
  • 1 Tablespoon (0.50 ounces or 14 grams) freshly brewed hot coffee OR freshly boiled water
  • 1 Tablespoon (0.45 ounces or 13 grams) mayonnaise

To Make Frosting For One Chocolate Cupcake

  • 1 Tablespoon (0.50 ounces or 14 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (0.55 ounces or 15 grams) confectioners' sugar, sifted if necessary
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of kosher salt

Instructions
 

To Make The Dry Cake Mix:

  • Make the dry cake mix. In a medium container with an air tight lid, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Seal the container and shake to combine the ingredients.
  • Store for occasional use. The dry cake mix will store at room temperature in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year.

To Make One Cupcake:

  • First, prep the oven and baking pan. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a single cavity of a muffin pan with a paper liner.
  • Make the cupcake. In a small bowl, combine 3 Tablespoons (1 ounce or 30 grams) of the dry cake mix, 1 Tablespoon (0.50 ounces or 14 grams) freshly brewed or boiled and still hot coffee OR water, and 1 Tablespoon (0.45 ounces or 13 grams) mayonnaise.
    Use a rubber spatula to mix the ingredients until just combined.
  • Assemble the cupcake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake the cupcake. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached. The top of the cake should bounce back when gently pressed.
  • Cool before frosting. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out the cupcake to cool on the wire rack completely before frosting.

To Make Frosting For One Cupcake:

  • Once the cupcake is cool, make the frosting. In a small bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon until soft and creamy.
    Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt, mixing vigorously until smooth and combined, about 1 minute.
  • Finish assembling the chocolate cupcake. Spoon the frosting over the cupcake and use an offset spatula to spread it across the top of the cupcake. Alternatively, you can use a piping bag to decorate the cake. Garnish with sprinkles or the toppings of your choice.
    Enjoy immediately!

Notes

  • Molly recommends setting the butter for the frosting out to soften as you make the cupcake. She says that by the time it’s done baking, the butter will be at the perfect temperature to make into frosting!
  • It’s important to cool the cupcake completely before frosting. If you frost the cupcake while it’s still warm, it will melt the frosting!
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Michelle holding Weeknight Baking cookbook covering her face.

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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.