Easy Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
I’m just putting it out there: this recipe is a keeper. The thing with vegan cake is once you find a good recipe, you stick to it and NEVER LET IT GO. That’s exactly I did with this easy chocolate cupcake recipe!
These vegan chocolate cupcakes are the perfect thing to make for birthday parties, movie nights, or just casual Wednesdays. The cupcakes themselves come together pretty quickly; if you are in a pinch you can use store-bought frosting instead of making the ganache. Though if you’ve got time, make the ganache – it’s so worth it.
Why you’ll love these cupcakes:
- They’re completely vegan and made with no weird ingredients
- They’re moist, fluffy, rich and chocolatey all at the same time.
- Coconut milk ganache frosting.
- See reason number 3 🙂
What ingredients will I need?
Some vegan cupcake recipes call for weird ingredients like flax eggs, avocados (?), applesauce, and vinegar. Tasty ingredients nonetheless, but they have no place in a chocolate cupcake recipe. You’ll be happy to hear these cupcakes are made with NO weird ingredients, NO eggs, and NO dairy! And best of all, they’re loved by vegans and meat-eaters alike!
The secret to making vegan cupcakes rise comes in the form of bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice. These ingredients undergo a chemical reaction in the oven to produce carbon dioxide gas, which translates as the air bubbles in our cake. You should see the reaction starting when you mix the lemon juice into the batter!
So making cupcakes = science experiment = basically homework, right?
How to make vegan chocolate cupcakes step-by-step:
As always, you’ll find the full recipe and instructions at the bottom of this blog post.
- Prepare the ganache frosting by heating the coconut milk and stirring in the chopped dark chocolate. Transfer to a bowl and leave in the fridge to firm up.
- To make the cupcakes, measure out the dairy-free spread (I use Vitalite here in the UK) and caster sugar into a bowl (photo 1). Cream together the dairy-free spread and sugar until soft and fluffy (photo 2).
- Stir in the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, measure out the dry ingredients. Gradually add the dry ingredients (photo 3) and soy milk to the mixture, folding after each addition.
- Continue adding the dry ingredients, folding after each addition. I did this in 5 increments.
- Once you have folded in all of the dry ingredients and soy milk, add the lemon juice. The mixture will begin to fizz as the lemon juice reacts with the bicarbonate of soda. Gently fold in the lemon juice, so as to not lose any air bubbles.
- Divide the mixture between 12 muffin cases (photo 7). Tip: use a ladle or ice cream scoop to evenly portion out the cupcake batter!
- Bake the cupcakes at 180°C/ 350°F for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (photo 8). Do not open the oven during the first 10 minutes of baking, or else the cupcakes will deflate.
- Leave the cupcakes to cool in the muffin tin for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool (photo 9). The cupcakes will need to be COMPLETELY cool before you add the ganache frosting. If you are in a pinch, you can transfer the cupcakes to the freezer.
How to ice cupcakes like a pro:
- Fit a piping bag with a star-shaped piping nozzle (photo 10).
- Fold the piping bag over a glass so you can easily fill it with the ganache (photo 11). Add the cooled ganache until the piping bag is half full.
- Fold over the sides of the piping bag from the glass, and twist the top of the piping bag around so the ganache doesn’t spill out (photo 12). Now we’re ready to start piping!
It’s a good idea to practice piping on a small piece of grease-proof paper, to allow you to get used to piping icing. Once you are ready, start frosting the cakes! Applying even pressure and starting from the outside, pipe a swirl onto the cupcake which works its way inwards. Once you get to the center, gently push down with the piping nozzle before pulling it up to create a ‘peak’ on top. You’ve just iced your first cupcake!
Tip: Starting from the outside and working your way in gives you a classic cupcake swirl. If you’d like to make cupcakes with a rose swirl, you can start piping from the inside and work your way out!
I like to top these chocolate cupcakes with cacao nibs. They’re a natural alternative to sprinkles and look super pretty atop the ganache!
Recipe tips & variations:
- Don’t over mix the batter – it will overwork the gluten in the flour creating a chewy cupcake.
- The ganache does take a while to firm up – if you are in a pinch you can use store-bought frosting.
- If you do not wish to pipe on the ganache, you can spread it on the cupcakes with a palette knife.
- These cupcakes will store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Whether you bake these vegan chocolate cupcakes for a bake sale, for a decadent treat, or just to lick the bowl, let me know how they go! And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @shivanilf – I love seeing your creations! You can also keep updated on Pinterest and Facebook – I hope to see you there!
More vegan baking recipes:
Easy Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- 1/3 cup/ 100 grams Dairy-Free Spread I use Vitalite
- 1/2 cup/ 140 grams Caster Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2/3 cup/ 240 ml Soy Milk
- 1 1/4 cups/ 250 grams Plain Flour
- 1/2 cup/ 50 grams Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
For the Ganache:
- 1.5 oz/ 50 grams Dark Chocolate roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup/ 75 ml Coconut Milk canned, full-fat
- 1 tbsp Cacao Nibs optional
Make the Ganache:
- Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over low-medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges.
- Take off the heat, and add the chopped dark chocolate. Mix until smooth and store in the fridge overnight, or in the freezer for an hour.
Make the Cupcakes:
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the dairy-free spread and sugars with a wooden spoon. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the soy milk to the larger bowl in 4-5 increments, folding after each addition.
- Stir in the lemon juice. As the lemon juice reacts with the bicarbonate of soda, the mixture will increase in volume. Fold gently so as to not lose any air bubbles.
- Divide the cupcake batter between the 12 muffin cases. Tip: use a ladle or ice cream scoop to evenly portion out the mixture!
- Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Transfer the cooled ganache to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe on the ganache in a swirl starting from the outside. Sprinkle on the cacao nibs and enjoy!
- Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last for up to 3 days.
- If you wish, you can fold in 1 oz/ 30 grams dark chocolate chips to the cupcake batter after step 4, to make triple chocolate cupcakes!