These moist vegan chocolate cupcakes are possibly the fluffiest you will try. They're made using Dutched cocoa powder and freshly brewed coffee, giving them a deep dark chocolate flavor, reminiscent of Devil's food cake!
I love frosting them with rich whipped vegan ganache. You can top them with chocolate Swiss buttercream which is light and airy, or easy chocolate frosting as well.
🔪 What To Expect From This Recipe
- Easy to make. With just 15 minutes of prep time and minimal equipment. You don't need a stand mixer for these cupcakes.
- Moist and flavorful. With an intense dark chocolate flavor, they are super moist thanks to a combination of vegan yogurt, olive oil, and hot coffee.
- Fluffy and tender. Although their flavor is incredibly rich, these chocolate cupcakes are delicate, light, and fluffy and will melt in your mouth thanks to vegan buttermilk.
- Great for special occasions. Great for birthday parties, Mother's day, Valentine's Day, or just general baking!
- Allergy-friendly. They're made without eggs, dairy-free, and nut-free.
📝 Ingredients Needed
Here's everything you need to make this simple vegan chocolate cupcakes recipe from scratch:
Notes about the ingredients
Find the full list of ingredients, quantities, and instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Dutch-processed cocoa powder. This ingredient is key to getting that deep, rich, dark chocolate flavor in your vegan cupcakes. Dutch cocoa has been alkalized and is less acidic than natural cocoa powder. If you're unsure whether a cocoa brand is Dutched, check the package for acidity regulators such as potassium carbonates.
- Vegan Greek-style yogurt. I recommend using thick Greek-style, but unsweetened soy yogurt or coconut yogurt is also fine. This is essentially a vegan egg replacer. It helps to keep moisture in the cupcakes without using applesauce, commonly seen in vegan chocolate cupcake recipes.
- Soft brown sugar. It has a higher water content than regular granulated sugar and adds moisture and a slightly caramelized taste that pairs so well with chocolate.
- Hot coffee. Although you won't really taste coffee in these cupcakes, it intensifies the chocolate flavor. Hot liquid also helps to bring out the best flavor in cocoa.
- Olive oil. I personally love the combination of chocolate and olive oil, like in my no-churn chocolate ice cream, the flavors complement each other so well. You can however use any other neutral oil such as rapeseed oil or sunflower oil.
🥣 How To Make Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
(1) Mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Add the olive oil and sugar to a stand mixer or large mixing bowl and cream them together with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds.
(2) Add in plant-based yogurt and vanilla extract and mix again until combined.
(3) Whisk in the vegan buttermilk (a mix of soy milk and apple cider vinegar).
(4) Add the mixed dry ingredients and hot coffee to the wet ingredients in 2 increments.
(5) Whisk the mixture between each increment until combined. Be cautious not to overmix the batter, only whisk until the dry ingredients have been just combined.
(6) Divide the batter into a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners. Fill the liners no more than three-quarters.
(7) Bake the chocolate vegan cupcakes in a preheated oven for 20-22 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
(8) Make the vegan whipped chocolate ganache and pipe it on top of each cupcake.
👩🍳 Recipe Success Tips
- Measure the recipe in grams, a kitchen scale will always give you the most accurate results. If you plan on measuring with cups, follow the scoop and sweep method.
- Be careful not to overmix the batter. Because we're using hot coffee and oil instead of butter, the batter for these cupcakes will be quite thin. This is normal, so don't be alarmed!
- Make sure that the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting them with chocolate ganache. If you're in a rush, you can pop them in the refrigerator to chill quicker.
💬 Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can freeze with or without frosting for up to 3 months in an airtight container Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
If you plan on eating them within a day or two, they're best stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
You can keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just bring them back to room temperature for 2-3 hours before serving as the ganache frosting will harden when chilled.
I tested them using both vegan butter and oil and found that butter made the cupcakes a little too dense. Oil gave them an incredibly light texture, so I do find it better for chocolate cupcakes.
Vegan vanilla cupcakes, on the other hand, I find are best when made using vegan butter!
🧁 More Vegan Cupcakes
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Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
- 120 ml (½ cup) soy milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 50 g (½ cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 140 g (1 cup + 4 tsp) plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teasoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil, or other neutral oil
- 180 g (⅘ cup) soft brown sugar, *see notes
- 100 g (⅓ cup + 2 tsp) vegan Greek-style yogurt, or soy/coconut yogurt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 120 ml (½ cup) hot strong coffee
- 1 batch vegan ganache, whipped according to instructions
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (356°F). Line a 12-hole muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- To make the vegan "buttermilk" add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar to a medium bowl or jug, stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the olive oil and sugar to a stand mixer or large mixing bowl and cream them together with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds. Add in yogurt and vanilla and mix again to combine. Whisk in the vegan buttermilk.
- Add the dry ingredients and hot coffee to the bowl of wet ingredients in 2 increments. Whisk to combine between each one, being careful not to overmix the batter. The batter will be quite thin, so don't be alarmed!
- Divide the batter between the cupcake liners using an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop. Fill the liners no more than three-quarters.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes. Check they are done by piercing them with a toothpick or a knife, the knife should come out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool further for 30 minutes to cool completely.
- Make the vegan chocolate ganache and whisk it into whipped ganache (Full instructions are in the blog post).
- Transfer the whipped ganache to a piping bag fitted with an open star nozzle and pipe it on top of each cupcake.
- These cupcakes are best served at room temperature. Always store them in an airtight container. If you're keeping them for more than a couple of days, refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I recommend taking them out of the fridge for at least 2-3 hours to bring them to room temperature before serving. Especially if you’re topping them with vegan ganache which stiffens up when chilled.
- Some sugar in the US is not vegan, if in doubt use organic sugar.
- To make fewer cupcakes, use half of the recipe for 6 cupcakes. You can also make 18 smaller vegan buns with this recipe.
- You can freeze them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. This can be done with or without frosting too.
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