Recipes / Veganism

Meat-Free Monday Recipe: Vegan Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Happy Belated Halloween, Everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, donned fab costumes and saw lots of adorable little trick-or-treaters.  I thought in honor of all the sweets people eat on Halloween and considering that today is World Vegan Day, I would post one of my fave vegan desserts.  If you like chocolate, then these cupcakes are for you!

Cupcakes are cute, portable and tasty.  Never a big sweets fan, I began to crave them once my options were limited once I became vegan.  Dairy is in everything…if you’re a vegan or gluten intolerant, you know what I’m talking about.  But no need to deprive yourself.  While there are some places that know how to make fab desserts like Babycakes in NYC and LA, Candle 79 in NYC and Cafe Indigo in New Hampshire, many restaurants serve lackluster vegan desserts.  Making them at home, you can indulge in decadent delights.  Not a vegan, you can still enjoy vegan treats as they are often healthier and lighter than their dairy-laden counterparts.

This cocoa cupcake and chocolate frosting recipe comes from one of my fave cookbooks, The Joy of Vegan Baking, by the baking goddess extraordinaire, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  Seriously, this book contains the most delish recipes; every cook or baker’s library should have it on their shelves.  You don’t need eggs to have a moist cake or cupcake.  Baking soda and vinegar, the alkaline and acid, react creating a binding agent…basically one moist, fluffy, kick-ass cupcake.  The only thing I’ve changed in the recipe is the type of vinegar.  The original recipe calls for white vinegar but I prefer apple cider vinegar as it imparts a slight sweetness.  The frosting is divine; fluffy, creamy and chocolate-y.  It’s so good, I sometimes eat a few spoonfuls by itself!   These cupcakes are sheer perfection; sweet from the sugar and vanilla yet balanced by the rich intensity of the cocoa.  Your friends and family will never guess these indulgent treats are vegan.

Cocoa Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar (vegan or unrefined sugar)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold water
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Place cupcake liners in muffin pan.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa and baking soda.  Stir together.

Make a small well in the dry ingredients.  Add oil, water and vanilla extract.  Then add apple cider vinegar.  Mix until just combined but be careful not to overmix.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter into cupcake liners.  Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.  After 15 minutes, check to see if  done by placing a knife into the center of one of the cupcakes (one near the center of the pan) and pull out.  If it comes out clean with no batter, then they’re done.

Once done, remove from oven and place each cupcake on a wire cooling rack (this will prevent soggy bottoms).  Let cool completely before frosting.  If you frost too soon, frosting will melt and slide off.

Frost, eat, enjoy!

Yields 10 cupcakes

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup non-dairy butter (Earth Balance), softened
3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3-4 tablespoons vanilla soy milk (or other non-dairy milk such as rice milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Take butter out of fridge and warm to room temperature.  Make sure butter is softened, it will make a world of difference in how your frosting comes out.

With an electric hand mixer, cream butter on low-speed.  Add confectioner’s sugar and cocoa, cream for a couple of minutes on low-speed.  Add vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of milk.  Beat on low-speed until all ingredients combined.  Then beat on high-speed until light and fluffy.  Add 1-2 more tablespoons of milk if it’s too dry.

Can store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Re-whip before using.

Yields enough for 8-10 cupcakes

Bon appetit!


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