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« Thoughts on Going Vegan: Week 1 | Main | Lavender Lemonade »

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

As my heart beats for dark chocolate, my father's heart beats for milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is a soft spot for him, a weakness he owns up to with his head held high. He is the man who pours too much chocolate syrup onto his ice cream, sneaks handfuls of chocolate chips from the freezer when he thinks no one is looking, and enjoys his version of s'mores when we sit around a bonfire—Hershey's chocolate sans marshmallows and graham crackers. After dinner, my father and I dig through the cupboards like addicts, seeking out chocolate in any and every form to satisfy our cravings.

Perhaps the chocolate gene is inherited.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

When I started baking, my father was excited about all the chocolate treats that would line the countertops. The chocolate cake and cookies and ice cream would bring a smile to his face so wide that when I look back on it I'm reminded of a child at Christmas time. However, the period of bliss was temporary. Looking to expand my repertoire, I started branching out and the baked goods that lined the counter tops were suddenly without chocolate.

With the scent of baking in the air, he'd come home from work and bound up the stairs to see what I had created. More often than not, his smile would falter as soon as he'd see what I had made. He would turn away to cover his obvious disappointment—heartbreaking for any daughter to see—and suggest that next time I make him a nice chocolate cake.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

After moving out of my parent's house, with the entire world of baking at my feet, I found myself making chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. I'm didn't think anything of it at first, not questioning where this urge suddenly came from. It wasn't until after I saw the cupcakes resting on the countertop that I suddenly felt guilty for creating the very dessert my father so often looked forward to (and was so often denied) when now I couldn't share them with him. I never knew it was possible to feel guilty about cupcakes without eating them.

I called up my father and confessed about the cupcakes I had baked, promising that the next time I came home I would make him the ultimate chocolate cake. He told me he was already looking forward to it. I swear I could feel that childlike smile begin to spread across his face again.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

These Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes are a chocolate lover's dream. The chocolate cupcakes are moist and light, supporting the weight of a whipped chocolate glaze. The glaze is made with coconut milk so it does lend the faintest coconut flavor, but most people won't be able to detect it (alternatively, for a non-vegan version, you could easily substitute the coconut milk for heavy cream). These cupcakes are perfect to feed to those with dairy/egg allergies, vegans, or for anyone who loves a rich chocolate cupcake.

One Year Ago: Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Yields 12 cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, oil, and water. Using a spatula, mix the batter until smooth.

Divide batter evenly between 12 baking cups (about 3/4 full). Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from baking pan and allow to cool to room temperature.

Whipped Chocolate Glaze
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (use dairy-free to keep vegan)
1/2 cup coconut milk (or heavy cream, for non-vegans)

Place chopped chocolate into a mixing bowl. Set aside.

On medium-high heat, bring coconut milk to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the milk from scorching. Pour milk over the chocolate, making sure that the milk covers the chocolate. Allow to sit for several minutes before stirring until smooth. Allow frosting to rest on the counter until it cools down and thickens to a pipe-able consistency (anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes).

Beat the frosting for several minutes until it incorporates air and feels lighter. Place frosting in a pastry bag (or plastic bag with the corner cut out) and pipe frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.

Reader Comments (34)

These look amazing! I'm adding them to my to-bake list :)
06.8.2012 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
I loved this post. Start to finish. The gorgeous photos, the lovely words. It made me think of my own father, and how wonderful it is to shower someone (anyone) with treats. Those cupcakes look absolutely deeeelightful...
06.9.2012 | Unregistered Commentermovita beaucoup
These cakes look incredible, I'm fussy with chocolate cake but these look lovely and moist. Such a beautifully written post, and I love the quotes you have with your recipes xx
06.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex
MMMmmmmmmm... These look so good I'd eat them for breakfast! Love the story about your dad too. :)
06.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMonna
Sounds devine. If I need to omit the powdered espresso what could I substitute?
06.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecki
I used to make cupcakes all the time, but then I stopped.I don't know why, though. These look gorgeous, and I think I would actually like to try the vegan kind. I've never had anything vegan and I'e only have one treat that was gluten free. I need to expant my horizons :P

Oh and that chocolate frosting is something I would kill for, just so you know ;)
These look absolutely gorgeous - the shot which shows the inside is so moist and the icing looks lovely and fudgy - who knew you could achieve that with just coconut milk and chocolate? Yum.
06.9.2012 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
Extremely yummy!!!!! I have to try this egg-free dough, it looks really moist and tender. (I've inherited the chocolate gene from my father, as well ;-)
Just made the cupcake part, but added two mashed bananas,
and made a peanut butter glaze for the top.
Came out beautifully! :)
06.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
Thank you for this wonderful recipe! It's difficult to find good vegan dessert recipes...
06.10.2012 | Unregistered Commenterqooapfel
i have organic unsweetened coconut milk would that work? what about lite coconut milk?
06.10.2012 | Unregistered Commentersaniel
Saniel-- The coconut milk should come from a can, not a carton. It isn't the milk that's meant to be used as a dairy substitute for drinking (this will NOT work for this recipe). You'll find this milk in the baking aisle. Full-fat or lite versions work equally well.
06.10.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
HI! i LOVE making vegan chocolate cupcakes, so I'll be trying this recipe as an alternative to the one I usually use. They look fabulously moist and scrumptious - can't wait to try it out! xx
06.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
Hi :) I'm so excited that you decided to do a vegan recipe! Your cupcakes look so yummy - can't wait to try!
06.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStarGazer
I usually bake with lots of butter and love making cupcakes. I went to bake some cupcakes for the kids tonight and no butter. Found this recipe and thought I'll give it a try. I did not tell the kids they were vegan and they loved them. So did I! Wonderful chocolate taste and very moist. These will be replacing my go to chocolate cupcake recipe. Thx.
06.11.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEllyn
I just wanted to let you know that I love the quotes you include with your pictures. They're always so fitting, funny and witty.
06.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
OMG these look amazing!! I can't wait to try them. my friends won't even know they are vegan (double win, since they usually think that "vegan" means gross!)
Loved this frosting! I just tried it with vegan chocolate cupcakes as well. So creamy, you'd never miss the heavy cream.
06.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmily Codik
I just finished making a batch and I'm sorry to report back they came out too dense for my tastes :( They rose beautifully and looked great, but the texture was more like a muffin than a cupcake to me. I didn't make any substitutions and even weighed out the flour. I wonder what happened...?
06.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteph
Would rice milk instead of coconut milk work for the glaze? Thanks!
06.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenternav
Nav-- I would use soy milk or almond milk before rice milk simply because the consistency is thicker and both milks have a creamier taste. That said, you could give rice milk and try and let us know how it turns out!
06.29.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Could i replace the coconut milk in the frosting for regular or 1% milk?
07.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
Shannon-- I would use cream or coconut milk. Regular milk simply doesn't have a high enough fat content to bring the chocolate together and it will turn very grainy/gross and not turn into smooth frosting.
07.20.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Hi. I made these today for my friend who visited with her little dairy/egg sensitive 3 yo. Added 1 banana - the cupcake was delicious! The icing turned out grainy (still tasted nice tho). Wondering if using lite coconut milk which contains water made this happen? or i did microwave chocolate (ah shortcuts!) on low to soften (didn't think it overheated but maybe it did). Thoughts? Great pictures and will make these again. We sat in the backyard and our little girls had a glorious time decorating the cupcakes. Thankyou :)
08.1.2012 | Unregistered Commenterali mair
Ali Mair-- The coconut milk shouldn't be the issue (you can make ganache with water without getting a grainy texture). I'm guessing the chocolate overheated slightly (even if a small part overheats, the entire batch will turn grainy) or you simply didn't stir enough to melt all of the small, grainy pieces which is the most likely suspect.
08.1.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I'd like to make this recipe with bananas intead of chocolate, should i increase the amount of flour? Or just skip the chocolate and add 2 smashed bananas?

PS: I've made this with chocolate and they turned out amazing, i love how simple this recipe is!
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterValentina
I tried this last night and because I didn't have a cupcake pan, I just used a glass baking dish greased with coconut oil and the cake came out perfect!!!!! I also was short on flour, so I substituted 1/2 cup of maseca (for making corn tortillas) and dark chocolate cocoa powder, and I didn't have espresso powder, so I left it out. Nonetheless, it still came out great, perfectly baked in 20 minutes! The icing, however, did not come out great because I used an ENTIRE CAN OF COCONUT MILK. I was so excited about using the can I had in the cabinet that I failed to see the 1/2 cup it called for an just used the entire can. So needless to say, the "icing" came out really runny. I kept whisking and whisking and it just never got fluffy. LOL! I also didnt have chocolate chips so I used a packet of hot cocoa powder. I just ended up sticking it in the freezer for a little, and It became like a sort of icecream for the cake! Thanks!
11.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCherry
Absolutely loved the recipe. The recipe asks for espresso powder. Can that be substituted with instant coffee powder ? I live in India. We don’t get espresso powder. However I do have a Nespresso machine. Would a shot of espresso coffee make do ?
01.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterVrinda Modi
Vrindi-- You can use instant coffee powder or substitute the 1 cup water for 1 cup of strong coffee. Both should work!
01.2.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
what changes to the recipe should i do for making them in microwave. We dont have convection mode in the microwave in my lab. And how much will it take for them to bake in a microwave???
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTrishla
Trishla-- I have no idea how to change this recipe so you can make them in the microwave. In fact, I think if you even tried to bake them in there that they would taste badly (very rubbery). I'd suggest holding off on making this recipe until you either get an oven or find a friend who has one.
01.22.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Beautiful cupcakes and even more beautiful pictures. They're stunning!
02.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSoya
I have stumbled across your recipe and made these cupcakes today with my 3 year old son who is dairy and egg intolerant. These cupcakes are amazing (especially the icing), I have been searching the ends of the earth for a recipe that is dairy and egg free, yet also satisfies the most discerning of chocolate cake eaters - your recipe provides exactly that. Thank you :)
02.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCandice
I found this recipe probably about 6 months ago. I think I've made these at least a dozen times and they are always a hit! There are my new go to recipe for cupcakes. They taste great and are easy to make. Thank-you!
05.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

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