These super moist vegan chocolate cupcakes are loaded with chocolate flavor. These easy cupcakes are made with everyday ingredients, making them your new favorite cupcake recipe. Top them with creamy vegan chocolate frosting for parties and celebrations of all kinds.
There’s something pretty special about cupcakes. You can decorate them however you like and they come perfectly portioned for one serving. How great is that!
I’m happy to share with you that it’s easy to make chocolate cupcakes vegan! It may seem difficult to bake with eggs or dairy, but my tips today should help pave the way for the best egg and dairy-free cupcakes ever!
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Using natural cocoa powder infuses these cupcakes with chocolate flavor and interacts with the other ingredients to produce light and fluffy cupcakes
- Apple cider vinegar helps soften the protein in the flour, creating a tender crumb
- Using everyday ingredients keeps these cupcakes easy to make on a moment’s notice!
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
- Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
- Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
- Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
- Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
- Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
- Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
- Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
- Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
- Flour — I recommend using all-purpose flour or you can substitute whole wheat pastry flour.
- Granulated sugar — I find granulated sugar works just fine, or you can substitute coconut sugar.
- Cocoa powder — I use natural, not Dutch-process, unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Salt — You can use table salt or sea salt.
- Baking soda — Make sure yours is fresh by testing a bit in vinegar. If it bubbles, your batch is good to go.
- Cornstarch — You can use cornstarch or substitute arrowroot powder.
- Vegetable oil — I used canola oil, or substitute olive oil or melted refined coconut oil.
- Vinegar — I used apple cider vinegar, or you can use white vinegar.
- Vanilla Extract — I find this to be an optional ingredient, but if you have some on-hand, it is a nice touch.
How to Make Vegan Cupcakes
I’ve noticed several vegan cupcake recipes looking kind of complicated. That seems antithetical to the whole idea of a cupcake. They should be easy. Fun. Simple, even! So, I’m happy to announce that it’s oh-so-easy to make this vegan cupcake recipe!
Step One: Mix the Dry Ingredients
This recipe requires mixing these together in a mixing bowl: all-purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and cornstarch.
Step Two: Mix the Wet Ingredients
In a separate bowl combine the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Give it a stir.
Before you pour this in with the dry ingredients, STOP! Ask yourself these questions:
- Is the oven preheated to 350°F?
- Are the cupcake muffin compartments prepared? You can either paper them or grease them.
If you can’t answer a resounding YES to both of these questions, then take a chill pill. Seriously. Do not mix the wet and the dry ingredients until you’re ready to bake. Why? Because we want to take advantage of the chemical reaction that occurs when combining baking soda with the vinegar.
That’s not the only role vinegar plays in this recipe, but it’s one of them. And it’s important!
Vegan cupcake batter should be a little on the thick side. That helps create a slight dome in the cupcakes.
Step Three: Distribute Batter into Cupcakes Compartments + Bake
Once you’re ready to bake, go ahead and pour the water mixture over the flour mixture and stir to combine. I like to get a whisk and give it a few stirs until any flour lumps are gone. You don’t want to overmix, but you also don’t want a bunch of those pesky flour bumps either.
I use a cookie dough dispenser to distribute the cupcake batter evenly between the cupcake compartments. Be sure to fill your compartments between 1/2 and 1/3 full.
Best Vegan Frosting
Now that your cupcakes are done and you’re itching to eat them (of course!), let’s talk about the frosting.
I love using colorful sprinkles too! You’ll see I used a Wilton 1M tip (paid link) to make that beautiful frosting tip.
Of course, if you’re wanting to make healthy chocolate cupcakes, you could go a little lighter on the frosting.
Are vegan cupcakes healthy?
A vegan cupcake may be healthier than a standard cupcake because it’s cholesterol-free and possibly lower in saturated fats. It also is healthier for the environment because it’s free of animal products. However, a vegan cupcake is still an indulgent dessert and should be consumed in moderation.
How long do vegan cupcakes last?
A vegan cupcake has the same shelf life as a non-vegan, traditional cupcake. A vegan cupcake, when stored in an airtight container, will keep about 3–4 days at room temperature and up to 10 days in the fridge. They can even be frozen for up to 3 months when stored properly.
Are Betty Crocker cakes vegan?
Many Betty Crocker cake mixes are made without milk or eggs and therefore are safe for vegans to eat. Simply substitute a flax egg for the eggs called for on the back of the package and you’ll have a very simple, easy vegan cake!
That’s it for these chocolate vegan cupcakes.
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Line two muffin pan compartments with cupcake papers, or spray each compartment with vegetable spray.
- Combine in a large mixing bowl the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt baking soda, and cornstarch. Stir to combine.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the vegetable oil, water, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- Pour the water mixture into the flour mixture and gently fold until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 2 to 3 minutes and then remove them from the cupcake pans. Allow them to cool completely before frosting.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.