Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and chocolate sprinkles.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

Indulge in a sweet treat with these Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes topped with a swirl of homemade Cream Cheese Frosting. The cupcake recipe includes unsweetened cocoa powder and buttermilk and the frosting is a simple and delicious combination of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and chocolate sprinkles.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

There’s nothing quite like a chocolate cupcake layered with a generous swirl of homemade frosting. These Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes are topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and make a delicious treat for special occasions.

A chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate sprinkles with the words, "Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes."

This post first appeared on February 8, 2013 and on I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen!

My husband and daughter have an evening ritual: Reading Time. It started when my husband was in graduate school, and he found that this half hour of nightly reading was a wonderful way to spend time with the children. Time was a precious commodity in those days (it still is). Every night, they would cozy up, he with a dry book on economics, she with a novel.

They still have this ritual, but now it seems there’s more chatting than reading. The other night, I overheard him say, “Can you believe you’ll be in middle school? Just a few years.”

Middle school.


Measuring a tablespoon of cocoa powder.
Chocolate sprinkles pouring out of the jar.

When it was my turn for our evening ritual, I gave her the biggest hug before tucking her under the covers. I hear frightening stories about middle school these days, and I felt like having the big, heavy talk on friendships and finding people you trust. But it was already past her bedtime, so I shelved that conversation for another day.

One day, we will have to have that chat. Where we explore who is a friend, how to deal with mean girls, how, sadly, even grown ups don’t, well, grow up. The nonsense she will find in middle school will carry over to high school, to college, and beyond. Even the office. Even the blogging world.

But for now, I want to focus on her, her sweetness, and a world where there is integrity.

A world sweet with cupcakes.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes topped with Cream Cheese Frosting.

I want to share these Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with you today. It’s a little early Valentine’s treat I made. I hope it sweetens your day.

More Dessert Ideas:

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Roasted Berry Cupcakes
Pineapple Upside Down Cake Doughnuts
Fresh Cranberry Tea Cake
Strawberry Shortcake (Vegan)

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

Indulge in a sweet treat with these Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes topped with a swirl of homemade Cream Cheese Frosting. The cupcake recipe includes unsweetened cocoa powder and buttermilk and the frosting is a simple and delicious combination of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 421kcal


Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons best quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, stir together water and cocoa powder until smooth with no lumps. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly with each addition. In a separate bowl, whisk together the two flours, salt, and baking soda. Add the vanilla to the buttermilk. Stir in the flour mixture, in two steps, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Mix until just combined. Add the vinegar and beat into the mixture.
  • Distribute the batter in the muffin pan; an ice cream scoop helps to make sure it is evenly distributed. Place in oven and bake for about 22 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Mix/whisk together the butter and the cream cheese until fully incorporated. Slowly add the sugar in 1/2 cup increments, blending well. Whisk in the vanilla. Store in refrigerator until ready for use.


Lightly adapted from Red Velvet Cupcakes with Mascarpone Cream Cheese Icing, via Epicurious.


Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 341mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 579IU | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante


Recipe Rating

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  1. Naomi

    Wow, your story really spoke to me today. My daughter has (almost) completely made it through middle school and we are looking at high school next year. I’m scared out of my mind! It sounds like you are doing such a great job creating that supportive atmosphere at home… I hope I’m doing the same. It’s tough :)

    Perfect cupcakes, perfect story. Thanks!!

  2. Becky

    That is just crazy that you are thinking of middle school with your daughter. My best friend also has a daughter about in middle school and it’s been rough but she’s a tougher and more beautiful girl because of it! And I’m sure all of your home cooked food will help her through the teenage years :)

  3. Gina

    Hi Liren Sweetie, I hope you didn’t think I was picking on you or anyone in particular. I think you tapped into it perfectly here, it’s about self-esteem and not falling into those pitfalls of everyone else is doing everything right and I’m doing everything wrong. I value your friendship and the way you take care of your family. I know for my daughters middle school was a struggle, kids that age are horrible and if you don’t help them all you can letting them know it’s okay to be different and be themselves it’s easy for them to fall into the wrong crowd. If moving to the next level in this business is the right thing for you, then I say go for it with abandon. I just know for me I just still have things I can’t make sense of in mind.

    • liren

      My dear Gina, the thought crossed my mind, but I know you well enough to know better. You were right on EVERY point, and I know I can certainly add a few more to your list! I laughed when I read your post! I certainly didn’t feel personally offended, it just called to mind what I was feeling the night I wrote this.

      I started this post a few nights ago, before I read your post, and I will tell you the story one day when we see each other again in person (hopefully soon). Let’s just say that for me, who was just happy enough to go along and do my thing, all of a sudden, I found myself caring. And I ran into a situation where I for the first time, felt excluded. And I’m too old to care about it, so I am moving on.

      We all find ourselves taking different paths with our blogs, and your’re right, we just have to do what makes sense for us.

      Hugs back, Gina. Have a great weekend! xo

    • liren

      Thank you, Jen, she has a good heart. And she loves her reading time with daddy. I hope it lasts a long time!

  4. carrian

    Love your ritual, and I think elem-high school is hard. I was so picked on and my relationship with my parents was essential to my growth. Love that you are creating the same home for your children. It will be so worth it.

    • liren

      I couldn’t agree more, Carrian. My elementary school classmates were not exactly the most thoughtful or considerate, save a few (and I still keep in touch with them today), but it was definitely my family that gave me confidence. I hope we are doing the same! Parenting is tough, isn’t it?

  5. Jean

    I remember having that conversation with my mom at that time and, I think, again in high school. I was very trusting so I didn’t see past the duplicity that some people even at that age were already good at. I have never forgotten her telling me that when it came to friendships it was about quality, not quantity. I was nervous, too, about my nephews and niece entering middle school. I was so afraid of them being exposed to the uglier side of life (stuff that I was oblivious to and didn’t realize until much later was around me). I feel confident that your daughter will be adequately prepared for middle school thanks to the work you and your husband have been doing from Day one.

    Now about these cupcakes…I want some!

    • liren

      You’ve hit the nail on the head, Jean. Duplicity is perhaps the scariest of all. It’s easy to understand what is outrightly mean. It’s easy to understand when people are not behaving the way they should. But when young ones (and not so young ones) are in a situation where they learn that kindness is not sincere, that is very hard to deal with. How I wish I could package them in a bubble sometimes!

  6. Barb | Creative Culinary

    Middle school is hard Liren and you hit the nail on the head…the stuff that happens there doesn’t seem to end for some. But I think your daughter has a huge advantage. First a mom who is loving and aware and willing to discuss what it takes to thrive but something I think matters more than mom’s would like to acknowledge. A close relationship with Dad. For all of the love I thought I showered on my girls, I was a single mom and their self image was so very impacted by their father and in a nutshell; he failed them. I read once that Dad’s are really a girls first boyfriend. Where they gain confidence with a member of the opposite sex; even where they practice flirting…all in the safe haven of someone they know loves them. His attention today will help to give her confidence for tomorrow.

    My children are still looking for their father’s love;; your daughter is so lucky to just have it.

    • liren

      Oh, Barb, your experience with your girls sheds so much light and truth to the importance of fathers. For years our society placed nearly all focus on both girls and boys success and self image on mothers, but truly, dads matter. And I think we are finally at a place where men understand that and embrace how important they are to children. It’s one thing to provide financially, yes, that is important, but to provide emotionally is critical. I can only hope that our best is enough for our daughter. I am sure your daughters would say the same for all you have done for them, Barb.

    • liren

      Thank you, Jennifer. I love the little rituals and moments we create with our families. It reminds me of what is important.

  7. Flavia

    These are lovely Liren. Even lovlier is how your daughter and husband read together in the evenings. It’s small rituals like these that stay with children forever, so don’t stop. Even if she encounters nonsense in middle school, she will always come home to the love, safety and traditions you have for her at home.

    • liren

      Oh, Flavia, I do hope you are right! We try our best, and we can only hope. I pray that she knows we are always here for her, no matter what. My mother used to remind me, “you can tell me anything. I am your best friend.” And now I tell her the same.

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