Good morning! I hope your week is going well so far. It has flown by on my end. I’m back with a recipe today, and will be posting my 20 Weeks pregnancy update later today and Friday FAQs tomorrow.
As you may know, I’ve been busy revamping reader-favourite blog recipes and shooting new photography for the Oh She Glows Recipe App. As I re-test old favourite recipes, I often find myself improving upon them in various ways (such as easier-to-follow directions, better tips, the addition of metric units of measure, or simply by creating something that tastes even better!). I kept saying that I wished there were a way I could share with you guys both what I’m up to and the recipes I’m revamping! Then it dawned on me…well, why don’t I just share quick, mini posts doing just that? Initially, I brushed the idea off because I’ve never done “bite-sized” posts before, but it could be fun. With summer quickly approaching, short and sweet posts might be nice here and there! So why not turn it over to you, dear readers, and see if this is something you’d be into?
Basically my idea is this: I pop in with a mini recipe post sharing a recipe that I’ve revamped (or, occasionally, a new quick and easy recipe I’ve added to the app) along with one or two new photo(s). There will be a brief hello/update from me, and then the recipe! Boom. Bob’s your uncle. (Wait, do people say that anymore? lol) Anyway, I’d love to hear what you think!
I’m kicking off today with my all-time favourite vegan chocolate cupcakes from way back in 2011. I had a major craving for cake last week (thanks Shari!), so this seemed like the next logical recipe to revisit. I ended up streamlining the written directions/ingredient list, adding metric units of measure (weight/volume), and pairing the cupcakes with a salted buttercream frosting. I also tested a gluten-free version (using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour), however I wasn’t happy with the outcome (the cupcakes were quite dense). I think I’ll have to work on a custom gluten-free flour blend in the future!
Fail-Proof Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
These are my go-to, never-fail vegan cupcakes! They are the perfect cupcake for all of your celebration needs. You won't believe it when you see how much they rise while baking. I top them with a layer of salted buttercream and sprinkles for a festive twist. They never last long! For the fluffiest cupcakes use all-purpose flour, however the recipe is pretty forgiving so feel free to use white spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour in a pinch (bake times may change slightly). Recipe updated from my 2011 version.
For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup (220 g) natural cane sugar
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) grapeseed oil*
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (210 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (27 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the salted buttercream:
- 1/2 cup (100 g) vegan butter**
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (250 g) powdered icing sugar, sifted if necessary
- 1 1/2 to 3 teaspoons unsweetened almond milk, as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- Sprinkles, for decorating***
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners.
- For the cupcakes: Add the milk, sugar, oil, vinegar, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. With electric mixers, beat the wet ingredients on low speed until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until no clumps remain.
- Gradually add the dry flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat just until smooth and no patches of flour remain.
- Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, about two-thirds full for each.
- Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or until the cupcakes slowly spring back when pressed gently with a finger. A toothpick inserted into the centre should also come out clean. Cool the cupcakes on a cooling rack.
- For the buttercream: In a large bowl, beat the butter and vanilla with electric beaters until light and fluffy.
- Add the icing sugar, gradually, while beating on low speed. Now, add in the milk to thin it to your desired consistency, while gradually increasing the speed. I add a teaspoon at a time. If at any point you add too much milk and the buttercream becomes runny, simply add more icing sugar to thicken it back up. You want a nice spreadable consistency that is not runny.
- Add the salt to taste and beat again to combine.
- Once the cupcakes are completely cool, spread a thick layer of frosting on top of each, followed by a generous amount of sprinkles. Enjoy!
- Leftover cupcakes will keep for a couple days in a sealed container, or you can freeze them for up to 1 month. I freeze them uncovered at first and then once they are frozen solid, I wrap each cupcake individually in foil. Then I place all of them into a large freezer zip bag, pressing out all the air.
- * You can also use melted coconut oil in this recipe, however make sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature (no cold milk!) to prevent the coconut oil from hardening upon contact.
- ** I use soy-free vegan buttery spread (by Earth Balance), however feel free to use any kind of butter you prefer.
- *** Look for natural sprinkles (without artificial dyes), such as "Let's Do Organic" brand.
Hi – can the cane sugar be swapped for coconut sugar?
Hey Jac, I wouldn’t recommend substituting coconut sugar here, as it can be quite drying; the cupcakes likely wouldn’t be as moist and they might crack on the tops. But if that isn’t an issue for you then knock yourself out! If you need a sub, white sugar is your best bet for maintaining the recipe’s original texture, moistness, and flavour. Cane sugar is actually very similar to white sugar (the most similar of all vegan sweetener options, in fact!). You can substitute at a 1:1 ratio. Brown sugar might work, too, and maybe impart a richer flavour. Hope this helps!
I loooooove these! The cupcakes and frosting are bloody delicious. I will say that they get a little dry on day 2, but still freaking tasty!
These look amazing! I’ve been struggling to find an excellent vegan cupcake recipe, and several people pointed me towards these. However, we have a chocolate allergy to consider (crazy, right?!) – I could leave out the 1/3 cup chocolate to make them vanilla…but what would I sub in as a dry ingredient? just more flour? thank you!
Hey Jennie, Thank you! Unfortunately, these don’t adapt well to a vanilla version that I know of. My vanilla attempts were a bit gummy. Cocoa powder doesn’t absorb as much liquid as flour does, so if you add 1/3 cup more flour the batter will probably be quite dense and possibly dry. Your best bet is probably looking for a vegan vanilla cake recipe online, but if you do any experimenting please let us know how it goes! :)
Does the cupcake recipe double well?
Hey Claire, Oh good question. I don’t think I have doubled it before! If you try anything please let me know how it goes.
Just made these tonight for my daughter’s birthday tomorrow. Mmmmmm soooo delicious!!! The icing was made with coconut oil instead of vegan butter. I actually wanted the coconut flavor and it worked with coconut flakes on top!! Oh so yummy. Because for me, nothing complements chocolate better than coconut!
i meant to give this a 5 star rating. Sorry about that. It’s worth the raving reviews! Nice and light and fluffy too!
hey Holly, Oh I love the coconut oil + flakes idea…great combo with chocolate for sure. I just saw your rating too, thanks so much for your feedback! Happy birthday to your daughter. :)
I just saw your comment just now. Thank you :-) She loved them!
That’s great news! Thanks Holly :)
So yummy! I subbed real butter for vegan butter (we stay away from fake foods) and these were terrific. Thanks!
Hey Jane, I’m so glad you enjoyed them! Thanks for trying them out.
I made these for a charity bake sale at work and they went down so well ☺ even with non-vegans! The sponge is lovely and moist but fluffy at the same time. Definitely going to try and make a full cake using this recipe too.
Oh that’s great news! If you have my first cookbook, there’s a great 2-layer chocolate cake recipe which was adapted from this recipe. :)
I am not vegan but i made these last night and they taste amazing! they’re really dense (in a good way), rich and if i didn’t know they were vegan I don’t think i would be able to tell. I adapted the frosting recipe as I wanted to make that chocolate too, but I’m sure it would taste! Would definitely recommend this recipe
Hey Laura, Oh that’s so great you loved them! We do too. :) I heard from a blog reader last week that she made it into a themed birthday cake for her little one’s birthday. It’s quite a versatile recipe as a base. Thanks for your review!
I would like to make these for a vegan family member but won’t have time to make them to day of, or even the day before. Would the cupcakes freeze well do you think? Thank you!
Hey Natalie, Yes they should freeze just fine (cool them fully and then tightly wrap). I’m not sure how the frosting freezes though.
Thanks Angela, I will try to freeze the cupcakes and I can make the frosting a day or two ahead of time which should be fine in the fridge for a couple days I should think. I’ll let you know how they turn out!
Thank you! Ur a lifesaver, my son is allergic to dairy, eggs and nuts. And it can be challenge to celbrate birthdays when I myself am not a baker. But thank you for sharing this amazing recipe I have been using it for last 5 years and now he feels involved in class celebrations because I freeze a batch and send in his lunch box when needed. Thanks again ❤️
Aww that’s so sweet Karm…just picturing your son being able to celebrate with his class is so touching. Thanks for sharing!
oopsie, I couldnt stop eating the batter!
served these along with your carrot cake at dinner party to none Vegans and at the very end it came up in discussions that I was a plant base eater and they were all shocked! No one had the slightest idea. Can I reach through my computer and give you a hug for making my life easier?
Awww that’s so sweet! Thank you Michele :) I’m so thrilled to hear this.
Recipe looks great and easy to follow. I would like to make these gluten free for my daughter’s b-day party. I don’t normally cook gluten free and am unfamiliar with how to do so.
Can you please tell me how to make the cupcake portion gluten free. I’m assuming I’d swap out the flour, but I’ve tried using several gluten free flours and don’t have much luck. Any assistance is much appreciated.
Hey Dori, Thank you! I have tried to make a gluten-free version before using all kinds of different flours and store-bought mixes and I never arrived on anything that I really loved enough to share. I’m so picky with my baked goods. If I do I will definitely share! :)
Can I use soy milk or coconut milk? My daughter in law has a nut allergy. No almond milk.
Hey Karla, I think any plant milk should work okay as long as you like the flavour! If using soy milk, there will likely be curdling when the vinegar is added…just to warn you :)
Can’t wait to try these but just had one question… the apple cider vinegar in the recipe, what is it used for? I thought perhaps to make buttermilk but the recipe doesn’t mention it? Help!
Hey Elisa, The vinegar is there so it can react with the baking soda and help the cake rise. I used apple cider as it’s a bit sweeter than other varieties. Hope this helps!
These are bliss. So light and fluffy and yum. I used olive oil and it worked well too. Thank you!
So glad to hear that Ian…thanks!
Yes, please work on a gluten free version as these look great!
Thanks Angela! Will do :)
Is it possible to substitute the cocoa powder with cacao powder?
Hi Elizabeth, I haven’t tried it, but I can’t see why not! Cacao and cocoa powder tend to be interchangeable in many recipes. I’d love to hear how it goes!
I made these today f0r a dinner tomorrow night. Super easy to make and I love that there is not a lot of ingredients. less ingredients the better! The frosting was so delicious. I added orange natural food coloring and black sprinkles to make it real festive since halloween is around the corner. There is two reasons why I didnt give this recipe five stars. 1. The cupcakes weren’t very high 2. For some reason the cupcake was sticking to the liner.
Other then that FANTASTIC
Hey Stephanie, I love those festive touches…thanks for sharing! I’m happy to hear the cupcakes were a hit.
I will be making a gluten-free version of this recipe in the coming weeks. Thank you for sharing ?
I’d love to hear how it goes :)
What is powdered icing sugar? Is it just powdered sugar?
Did anyone try making it with a little less powdered sugar? Thanks.
Yes that’s exactly right! Thanks for clarifying :)
The weight for flour is wrong as it should be around 180 grams. The first batch I made was much too dense because I used the 210 grams listed in the recipe, but the second batch with the correct amount of flour turned out great. Thank you!
A few years ago I finally asked my mom if she had the recipe for the “banana split dessert thing” that she made a long time ago, and she was able to dig it up for me. It took me approximately 2.2 seconds to assemble what I needed and I’ve been enjoying it at least a couple of times a year ever since!
Made these today for my Granddaughter’s 2nd birthday. She is allergic to dairy and egg so vegan cupcakes are perfect. The cupcakes turned out great. I used dark chocolate. The recipe was easy to follow. Thank you!
I LOVE these cupcakes! They are so moist, I’ve made them countless times now for herbivores and omnivores and everyone in between. I’ve made them for baby showers, engagement parties, and birthday parties and EVERYONE loves them!! Also, they are incredibly easy to make, this is probably the best cupcake recipe I’ve ever made, even better than traditional cupcakes in my opinion.
Can this recipe be made into a single cake instead of cupcakes?
I made these last weekend for my daughter’s 19th birthday. She is vegan, we are not. Everyone said they were amazing. The salted buttercream was to die for!
can I use part coconut oil with the grapeseed? Likely I’ll have the answer by the time you get this since I don’t have enough to make 1/3 and need to top it up. No time to get more.
As we are under a stay at home order here, I made these cupcakes that I have made many times before because I needed a little joy! Thank goodness for this recipe and so many of your other recipes! I used coconut milk this time instead of almond, but it is the coconut milk in a tetra-pak that is watered down.
SO good, SO easy! Didn’t have grapeseed oil so used hazelnut oil instead, the batter tasted like nutella.
These are my go to chocolate cupcakes! Thank you so much for the recipe.
I was wondering if this recipe could also be used to make a cake? If so, do you have an estimate on how baking times would change? Thank you again and again!
These are delicious — I used gluten free flour and they are moist and tasty.
Can i freeze them with the buttercream on them?
Holy moly!! I made these for Mother’s Day and they were a HIT!!!! Everyone raved about them, and no one guessed that they were vegan! Thank you!!
Best AND easiest dessert recipe ever.
I’ve made this several time a year for as many years as I’ve known about this recipe. Always a hit!
Absolutely amazing. They were a hit with everyone. Rich and chocolatey, just doesn’t get better than this.
I love this recipe but now need to make it gluten free. What do I use for flour?
Can you tell me how to store the icing?
I made cupcakes for the birthday party and I would like to bring icing to the party so that kids can put the icing themselves.
Tomorrow is the party.. should i make it tomorrow morning? Or i can make it today and store in fridge?