These failproof vegan chocolate cupcakes should be a staple in every baker’s household! They are soft, light and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness, and they taste delicious served with dark chocolate buttercream frosting. The perfect basic bake for any special occasion!
Chocolate cupcakes. There’s nothing better.
In case you couldn’t tell from a quick scroll through my blog, I am a HUGE chocolate lover. Brownies, cakes, truffles, tarts…
You name it, I’ll eat it if it contains chocolate.
But one thing I haven’t made for the blog yet? Some basic chocolate cupcakes! After perfecting my vanilla cupcakes, I thought it was time to start focusing on more basic/staple recipes and get my chocolate cupcake recipe up too.
I’ve been making these cupcakes for a while now, and you may have noticed I’ve used a similar recipe for my Oreo cupcakes and candy cane cupcakes. But because they are so simple and versatile, I thought they deserved a post of their own! So here we are.
A basic, staple recipe!
I love this recipe because it’s so simple. They are the most failproof chocolate cupcakes you’ll ever find! There’s no vegan butter, no flax eggs and no seeds of any kind required to make these cupcakes.
When I first started vegan baking, I added chia seeds to everything I baked.
The results were always alright, but I always hated that gummy texture the seeds left behind. Plus, they always got stuck in my teeth. Yuck.
When baking my Biscoff donuts one day, I accidentally forgot to include the chia seeds my recipe called for. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the donuts still held together, and were even lighter and fluffier than they were with the seeds added.
So from then on, I skipped chia seeds in baking altogether.
And for the recipes that don’t have quite the same texture without an egg replacement, such as my double chocolate chip cookies, I use flax eggs instead. I find the taste and texture way more subtle!
Want more vegan cupcake recipes? Try these:
How to make vegan chocolate cupcakes
Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F and line a cupcake tray with 12 paper liners.
In a small bowl or mug, mix together 140ml (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) of soy milk with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Set it aside for a few minutes and allow it to curdle. This will act as a vegan buttermilk substitute.
To a large bowl, add 100g (3/4 cup) of self-raising flour, 1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and 100g (1/2 cup) of caster sugar.
Mix everything together until there are no lumps of flour or cocoa powder left.
Now add in the buttermilk you made earlier along with 3 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix well until smooth, making sure none of the dry mixture is stuck at the bottom of the bowl.
I prefer to use a neutral-tasting oil such as rapeseed/canola because it allows the chocolate flavour to shine through. I find stronger oils such as coconut or olive oil to be a little overpowering.
Spoon the cake batter into your cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes. You can double check that they’re ready by inserting a toothpick through the middle. If it comes out clean, they’re ready!
After the cupcakes have been out of the oven for 5 minutes or so, transfer them to a wire rack and leave them to cool down completely.
What to top the cupcakes with
You can eat the cupcakes just on their own or you can add some frosting for a more indulgent dessert. If you don’t fancy the chocolate buttercream in this post, here are some other ideas:
- Biscoff buttercream
- Dark chocolate ganache
- White chocolate ganache
- Vanilla buttercream (find the recipe in my vanilla cupcakes post)
- Cream cheese frosting
A quick and easy chocolate buttercream recipe
For the frosting in the pictures, I used Betty Crocker’s accidentally vegan chocolate fudge frosting for convenience. But I thought I’d include an easy buttercream recipe in this post in case you can’t/don’t want to use ready-made frosting.
All you’ll need is 600g (5 cups) icing/powdered sugar, 120g (1/2 cup) vegan butter and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.
This will give you enough frosting to pipe onto all 12 cupcakes. If you plan to spread on the frosting instead of piping it, you’ll need a lot less. I’d say you could probably half the buttercream recipe.
In a large bowl, soften the vegan butter until it’s easy to mix. Add in the icing sugar and cocoa powder, a little at a time, mixing as you go. I like to add the sugar and cocoa powder to a sieve so that it’s easier to mix together.
Once you’ve mixed it all in, it should have a nice, creamy consistency that will stand firm when piped onto the cakes.
However, if it’s too thick, you can add a splash of plant-based milk to loosen it a bit. Likewise, if it’s too thin or runny, you can fix it by adding more icing sugar until you get your desired consistency.
Love chocolate? Check out my other vegan desserts:
- Chocolate truffles
- Scottish macaroon bars
- Oreo tiffin
- Chocolate layer cake
- Best ever vegan brownies
- Cadbury’s Crème Eggs copycat
This recipe will make around 12 averaged-sized cupcakes so unless you’re baking for a party, you might have some leftover!
For cupcakes without frosting, you can just pop them into an airtight container and keep them at room temperature in a cool, dry place such as the kitchen cupboard. They will last around 4-5 days this way.
If you have added any type of frosting to the cakes, they may need to be refrigerated depending on what you used. Vegan buttercream usually holds up quite well at room temperature but things like chocolate ganache and cream cheese frosting will need to be refrigerated.
Yes! These cupcakes are great for freezing in advance and defrost nice and fluffy, the same way as they are before going into the freezer!
If you’d like to freeze them, you can just place them all into an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. I’d recommend freezing them without frosting for best results- this will taste nicer if you add it on the day that you plan to eat them!
To defrost, just transfer the cupcakes onto a plate or wire rack and allow them to sit at room temperature for a few hours until soft and fluffy.
I hope you enjoy these failproof cupcakes as much as I do! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment and rating below.
Happy baking! Xo
A basic vegan chocolate cupcake recipe for light and fluffy sponges! No fancy ingredients and super easy to make.
- 140 ml Soy milk (½ cup + 1 tablespoon)
- 1 Teaspoon Apple cider vinegar (sub for white vinegar)
- 100 g Self-raising flour (¾ cup)
- ¼ Teaspoon Baking soda
- 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 100 g Caster / superfine sugar (½ cup)
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 3 Tablespoons Vegetable oil
- 120 g Vegan butter (½ cup)
- 2 Tablespoons Cocoa powder
- 600 g Icing/powdered sugar (5 cups)
- Splash Plant-based milk (optional)
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C/325°F if using a fan or convection oven) and line a 12-hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
Mix the soy milk and apple cider vinegar together and set aside. This will become your vegan buttermilk.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and sugar until well combined.
Now add in the vegan buttermilk along with the oil and vanilla extract. Mix well until you have a smooth cake batter.
Divide the batter between your 12 cases and bake for 15 minutes. Check they're ready by inserting a toothpick through the centre- if it comes out dry, they're done.
Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat the vegan butter until it’s slightly soft.
Add in the icing sugar and cocoa powder, a little at a time, mixing as you go. I like put the sugar and cocoa powder through a sieve together before adding it to the butter.
Once you’ve mixed it all in, you'll have frosting that will stand firm when piped onto the cakes. If it’s too thick, add a splash of plant-based milk. If you want it thicker, add more icing sugar.
- Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days
- The frosting recipe will produce enough to pipe onto all 12 cupcakes. If you plan to spread on a thin layer of the frosting instead of piping it, half the recipe.