Last updated on April 17th, 2023 at 04:09 pm
Rich, moist and deliciously light, these vegan chocolate cupcakes are super simple to make and guaranteed to please vegans and non-vegans alike. I have made these cakes to cater birthday parties for big and small people and they are always a winner.
Made using everyday kitchen ingredients, these cupcakes come together in around 30-minutes. If you are looking for a classic chocolate cupcake that happens to be vegan, you're in the right place.
Why We Love These Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
These vegan chocolate cupcakes will not steer you wrong.
Top with a quick and simple basic chocolate frosting or indulge in my vegan chocolate buttercream frosting.
How Can I Make a Cupcake Without Eggs?
If you've read my article DIY Vegan Egg Substitutes you'll know that before you choose an egg replacement for plant-based cooking, you need to know what the egg does in the original recipe.
In traditional cupcakes eggs provide moisture, fat and structure. Eggs coagulate as the cake bakes and, with the starch from the flour, form the crumb.
Meanwhile butter, and all fats in general, create baked goods that are more tender. Think about a plain bread roll verses a buttery brioche bun. Butter also provides flavour.
So, how do you create an eggless cupcake recipe? The answer is simpler than you think.
In this recipe we are using a mixture of buttermilk (for a tender crumb), sunflower oil (for fat) and leavening agents for lift and structure.
All of these ingredients are most likely in your pantry! Don't worry, we're going to make the buttermilk ourselves. Are you ready?
Sources: Baker Bettie and Baking Sense.
Equipment You'll Need
This eggless cupcake recipe is pretty dang simple - no beaters or blenders required. You are going to need:
1 x 12-cup cupcake pan.
1 x whisk.
2 x large mixing bowls.
Ingredients and Substitutions
All-purpose flour. Nothing fancy here, you could use cake flour but all-purpose is my go-to. It's easy to find and I always have some in my pantry.
Natural cocoa. Again, I use regular old cocoa in a lot of my baking because it's readily available. Don't use Dutch processed cocoa - we are using baking soda in this recipe which doesn't activate with Dutch Processed Chocolate. So regular it is!
Buttermilk creates a tender crumb. We are going to combine apple cider vinegar with dairy-free milk to make our own.
Dairy-free milk. Soy milk makes the best vegan buttermilk. I've also seen it made successfully with pea milk. Something about the protein in these two types of dairy-free milk works better than other types to produce a thick buttercream most similar to traditional buttermilk.
Raw Caster Sugar. I prefer raw caster sugar when baking with chocolate because you get a more caramel, fudgy flavour but regular caster sugar will work too.
Step-By-Step Vegan Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
You'll find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
This recipe for vegan chocolate cupcakes is easy-peasy. It only takes a few steps.
Step 1. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the sugar.
Step 2. Combine apple cider vinegar with dairy-free milk (not coconut) to make vegan buttermilk in a separate bowl. Whisk in the oil and vanilla.
Step 3 and 4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Whisk until just combined and fill your cupcake (patty) liners half-way. Only half-way - this is important.
Step 5. Bake for 21 minutes at 175 degrees C.
Then, it's the fun part. Allow the cakes to cool and top with your favourite frosting.
Wouldn't it be great if all ovens worked the same? But they don't. Bummer.
I have a SMEG oven and it has something called Fan Assist. I bake my cupcakes at 175 degrees C (350 degrees F) set with an oven thermometer for 20-21 minutes and they come out perfectly.
Ovens can vary in temperature by up to 20 degrees! So, the best way to ensure perfect baking is to use an oven thermometer. They are only a few dollars and you get a perfect temperature whether you have a convection or conventional oven.
Recipe Tips and Guides (Don't Skip this Section)
Cupcake Random Facts
I can't help myself, I love a random food story or factoid.
The first official use of the term cupcake was in 1828 in a cookbook written by author and etiquette expert Eliza Leslie.
According to the Guinness Book Of World Records the largest cupcake was baked in Sterling, Virgina in 2011 and weighed 1,176.6kg (2594 lb).
The most expensive cupcake ever made cost $42, 000 and was embellished with .75 carat diamonds. Whaaaaaat?
These gorgeous vegan chocolate cupcakes taste just like traditional cupcakes but are so much simpler. Because we aren't using butter or eggs there is no creaming or faffing around.
They are quick, simple and fantastically light. Perfect for your next birthday party or simply a lovely treat. Oh, and if you're after the mother of all buttercreams, try my vegan chocolate buttercream recipe. I would never steer you wrong where chocolate is concerned. Pinkie swear. Enjoy, x.
Yup! Wait until they have cooled completely before popping your un-frosted cupcakes in a freezer proof bag or sealed container. They will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. To thaw, leave them out on the kitchen counter until thawed completely. This will take a few hours so plan ahead.
My cupcakes last 4-5 days on the kitchen counter in a cooler climate. Pop them in the fridge if you live in tropical or hot areas for up to 5 days.
Indeed. You can swap out the all-purpose flour for a baking gluten-free flour or try the gluten-free mix I use in my Coconut Gluten-free Vegan Pancakes with Banana. It's a great all-rounder flour mix.
You can make an 8-inch cake with this recipe and you'll need to increase your baking time to around 30-minutes. For a full cake recipe try my Best Vegan Chocolate Cake.
Besides adding an appealing tang, adding acid to batter creates vegan cupcakes that are moist and delicious. Buttermilk helps tenderise gluten by breaking down the tough gluten strands.
More cake recipes!
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Easy Vegan Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
- 1 cup / 150g all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon / 45g cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ¾ cup / 165g raw caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup / 250ml soy milk or dairy-free milk
- ⅓ cup / 80ml sunflower oil or another neutral flavoured oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven to 175°C/350°F (conventional) or 155°C/311°F (fan) and set it up so your oven rack is in the middle. Line a 12-pan cupcake tray with patty liners.
- Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in to a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar and set aside.
- In a 1-cup measuring cup, add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Fill the remaining cup with dairy-free milk and stir. Set aside for 3 minutes.
- Transfer the milk - now buttermilk - to another bowl and whisk in the oil and vanilla.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together until combined. Don't overmix the batter or you'll end up with rubbery cakes. Whisk until any larger lumps are gone but no more.
- Fill the patty liners half-way with the batter. Only fill to half-way, no more.
- Pop the filled tray on to the middle rack of the oven and bake for 21 minutes or until risen and cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and sit for 5 minutes before turning them out to cool.
- Once cooled completely, top with your favourite frosting.
When I make these I don’t tell anyone they’re vegan at first. My clients prefer these over regular chocolate cupcakes. Amazing!
Oh, how great is that!? I love it. I think taking the v-word out of the kitchen is a great idea. Just make great food. Thanks so much for letting me know, Gigi xx
I love Vegan chocolate cupcake recipe. This article is nicely written with amazing pics. Thankyou
I made these for a vegan friend a while ago and decided to make them again, I’m not vegan so I was wondering if I could dairy milk or not. Great recipe!
You can use dairy milk. No worries. I am so happy you want to make them again. 🙂
Perfect. Chocolate. Cupcakes. Delicious, moist and easy. I love them. The kids love them. You’ll love them.
Katrina Varcoe-Cocks says
They look amazing. And if they’re like any of your other cup cakes they’ll taste incredible. If I use almond milk as an alternative will that change the flavour too much do you think or will the cocoa hold it’s own? Personal preference I guess- I just have almond milk already.
Thanks, Kat xx
Hello! Almond milk is fine. We add vinegar to it anyway so the flavour will be changed in that process. I find soy and oat milk provide a thicker consistency but almond milk will be fine too xx
Kat Varcoe-Cocks says
Thanks Amanda - the almond milk worked fantastically. I also carefully read your instructions. I tend to over mix batter but stopped way before I normally would and the texture worked out great. My oven was hotter than I thought so I did over cook them slightly. The flavour was great and the frosting made them delicious but - Oh no - I'll have to cook another batch this weekend just to get them perfect :-). My kids are super happy!!
Oh, fantastic! You can never have too many cupcakes. I am so happy you enjoyed them. Thank you!