The Best Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes are perfection! Moist, rich, chocolatey, and divine! Paired with a vegan buttercream frosting for an absolute treat.
This is hands down the best vegan chocolate cupcakes that we have ever made.
We set out for a goal to make the best chocolate cupcakes, vegan or not, that we have ever tasted. But, it had a stipulation also. We wanted it to be easy. A lot of bakery-style recipes are not easy and we wanted something that was easy enough for the everyday baker but those who are intimidated by baking also.
Next, we wanted this to be allergen friendly. Everyone deserves cupcakes that wants it and chocolate cupcakes at that.
Never miss another recipe! Get our recipes straight to your inbox when you sign up for our weekly newsletter today! Our Top 15 posts automatically sent to you! Plus, enjoy behind the scenes, giveaways, and other exclusive content!
Sign up for our newsletter HERE!!
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THE BEST VEGAN CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES?
Below are notes about the main ingredients before we get into the full recipe located lower in this post on how to make vegan chocolate cupcakes:
While this dairy free chocolate cupcakes does need what seems to be a lot of ingredients, it’s still an easy chocolate cake recipe. In order to make these cupcakes without eggs and without dairy, you need a bit of creativity and chemistry. The end result is so perfect. For these cupcakes you’ll need:
- Dairy Free Milk – Using milk instead of water adds more flavor into the recipe. We have tried this with both oat and almond and there’s not much of a difference honestly. Use either unsweetened plain or unsweetened vanilla flavored milk, but you don’t want any sweetened milk in this already sweet recipe.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Since there are no vegan buttermilks on the market, we use acid to mix with the dairy free milk to make a vegan buttermilk. Acid helps tenderize gluten and therefore making a softer cupcake.
- Flour – The star of the show, we only used all-purpose flour here because we wanted this recipe to be as accessible as possible for everyone.
- Vegan Cane Sugar – Cane sugar is what we are using. If you want to learn more about why your sugar may not be vegan, you can learn more by clicking on the link.
- Cocoa Powder – Obviously needed to make a delicious chocolate cupcake. You want to use an unsweetened cocoa powder here.
- Oil – You want to use a neutral oil – canola or vegetable. Oil helps the moisture in your cupcakes but also helps by slowing down the formation of gluten that yields a very tender and fluffy cupcakes – isn’t that what we all want!
SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS:
- Dairy Free Milk – Any dairy free milk that you like can be used in this. The important thing is just not using a sweetened milk in this already sweet recipe.
- Acid – You can use white vinegar or lemon juice if that’s all you have
- Flour – Cake flour could be swapped for all or half of the all-purpose flour. Also an all-purpose or 1:1 gluten free flour could be used.
- Vegan Cane Sugar – While we haven’t tried, you could replace this with a coconut sugar or date sugar
- Oil – Melted coconut oil could also be used here and it is normal for it to resolidify when mixing. It will melt back down again when baking. Alternatively, you could use applesauce (same amount) of even half oil, half applesauce if you are trying to reduce your oil consumption.
Tips for how to make the best vegan chocolate cupcakes:
See below tips and tricks for making this vegan chocolate cupcake recipe perfect!
- Follow the instructions pretty please. Cake baking is a science, especially when making a dairy free/vegan cake. Every step has a purpose to ensure the perfect vegan chocolate cupcakes.
- While we don’t do it in the recipe, if you are not comfortable baking, we highly recommend sifting the ingredients into the bowl. This loosens the ingredients and make sure there are no clumps leading to a more airy cupcakes.
- Make sure to line with cupcake liners and grease your pans. No one likes cupcake that can’t come out of the pan. It’s one of the most frustrating things and doing these two things will helps.
- Make sure that you evenly distribute the cake batter into the tins.
- When the cupcakes are cooked, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to allow the cupcakes to cool evenly.
- Let the cupcakes cool to touch. DO NOT RUSH. Let it cool completely.
- Use a piping bag and a large round tip and pipe frosting in a circular motion from the middle to the outer edge and up to a peak.
- Get creative.You can also add toppings like sprinkles, crushed nuts or chocolate shavings, or drizzle chocolate syrup. This heps with any imperfections too!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Absolutely! Did I just make your day? You can swap out the vegan all-purpose flour for Gluten Free Cup for Cup flour. You can also swap out the cake flour with a gluten free version. All the other ingredients that we use in this recipe are naturally gluten free and no swaps are needed.
Besides the flour, that you can use gluten free as recommended above, the only other ingredient is the vegan butter which typically contains soy.
Just choose a soy free vegan butter like Flora Plant Butter. Any dairy free milk can be used that is safe for your allergens.
This vegan chocolate cupcake recipe is rich in chocolate while still remaining moist. The right amount of fat (oil) combined with making our own dairy free buttermilk (acid) and adding in leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder) all act together to insure this will not be a dry vegan chocolate cupcake.
Also, the importance of minimally processing the ingredients together. We only mix until combined. We do this because the longer you mix flour, the more gluten forms making for a not so great cupcake.
By adding some acid to your batter, you are creating a vegan cupcake that is moist and delicious. It helps to break down the tough gluten strands, yielding in the most delicious vegan chocolate cupcake recipe. Don’t skip this step!
Yes. You can make this oil free. Replace the full amount of oil for applesauce. It is very important to know that using applesauce does lead to a more dense cupcake.
A vegan chocolate cupcake is better for animals and the environment; however, we still use flour, sugar, and oil in this recipe. We are not claiming that this is a healthier alternative to a cupcake that contains dairy based milk and traditional eggs.
We’ll let you in on a little secret. You can’t even tell the difference. In fact, we’ve served vegan cupcakes to many non-vegans and they had no idea!
What does bloom the chocolate mean?
When you get to the step about boiling the water and adding, you may be tempted to skip that step, but don’t. It’s very critical to do so in order to make this perfect vegan chocolate cupcakes.
You add the boiling water in order to help the cocoa power “bloom”. When cocoa powder is mixed with a hot liquid (you can do this with water, coffee, milks, etc) it allows the powder to dissolves and release flavor particles. Essentially, it brings out all the flavor in the cocoa powder, ensuring you have the best vegan chocolate cupcake ever.
What other frosting ideas could I use on this vegan chocolate cupcake?
Inside our photos, we use Vegan Buttercream Frosting. However, here’s a few more options that we have:
- Vegan Chocolate Frosting
- Using Dairy Free Whipped Topping (Homemade “Cool Whip”)
- Vegan Vanilla Frosting
- Vegan Strawberry Frosting
Can I make this into vegan chocolate cake?
You can absolutely make this into vegan chocolate cake. We recommend that you click over to our best vegan chocolate cake recipe and follow along to the instructions there!
What are other dairy free chocolate desserts I can make?
Whether you are having a chocolate bar of delicious at your next get together, or you just want to have even more amazing chocolate dairy free desserts, we recommend you trying out some of these delicious non-dairy desserts:
- Vegan Brownies
- No Bake Vegan Chocolate Fudge
- Vegan Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Chocolate Mug Cake
- No Bake Vegan Smores Bars with Dark Chocolate Mousse
- Vegan Chocolate Cookies and Cream Milkshake
- Easy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pin these vegan chocolate cupcakes for later!
Simply make the recipe as normal and then instead of greasing cake pans, spray a cupcake pan or liners. Fill each one up 3/4 of the way. You’ll want to reduce the cooking time to 15-20 minutes.
The Best Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350F and prep 24 muffin tins with nonstick spray or vegan cupcake liners.
- Combine dairy free milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract to make vegan buttermilk. Set aside.
- Use a large bowl and hand whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Next add oil and vegan buttermilk (vinegar, vanilla and dairy free milk mixture). Mix with a spatula until just combined.
- Pour in boiling hot water into the batter and carefully stir to combine. Batter will be loose and thin but this is 100% supposed to be this way.
- Evenly split up the cake batter into the prepared tins, filling each one up 1/2 of the way. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes in the pans, then remove and let cool to room temp before frosting.
For the Frosting
- Pick a frosting and click the recipe above. Follow instructions and make while cupcakes are baking. Pipe as desired.
Share a photo of our recipe you made! Tag us @makeitdairyfree and use #MakeItDairyFree on Social so we can feature you!