Archive | March, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

29 Mar

Note: Post and recipe updated on 6/1/11. Please see notes in bold below!

I know that I have been promising you this cupcake recipe for almost two weeks now, but life gets crazy! I am working two jobs, going to school, and now I’m moving! Yes, moving! Moving is such a pain in the rear. This will be the third time I have moved in the past 18 months. Oh the joys of being a 20-something. I feel like I’ve been a nomad since I started college.

Because I will no longer be near my beloved Trader Joe’s, I had to put in my two weeks notice. This is my last week. It’s bittersweet, but it’s time to move on and focus on my career. It was a wonderful job with great perks (who doesn’t love wine and food tastings during the workday???) and I will miss it. Most of all, I will miss my coworkers because they are fantastic people. šŸ˜€

With all the changes going on in my life right now, I hope you’ll forgive me for not sharing this cupcake recipe earlier.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla “Buttercream”

-adapted from Oh She Glows

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk (I used Vanilla Almond milk)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules (optional, but it makes the chocolate flavor more pronounced)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

“Buttercream” Ingredients

  • 1 cupĀ Earth Balance buttery stick or equivalent, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (see update below)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp non-dairy milk, to achieve your desired consistency


1. Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 cupcake pans with cupcake liners. With an electric mixer, beat together the following ingredients in a large bowl (non-dairy milk, oil, sugar, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract). Beat on medium speed for a minute or two.

2. Now sift in the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, instant coffee granules and salt). Mix well, until the clumps are gone.

3. Spoon the batter into prepared cupcake pan, about two-thirds full for each. Bake for about 22 minutes at 350F, or until the cupcake slowly springs back when pressed with a finger. Allow to completely cool before frosting.

4. While cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting. Beat the Earth Balance for two minutes. Add in the milk, vanilla, and salt and beat 1 minute more. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating two minutes after each additions. This will ensure a really fluffy frosting. Add non-dairy milk as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

Here are the little guys after baking. I was so pleased with how they looked! They were so shiny!

mix mix mix

This was my first time making a vegan frosting. I was a wee bit frightened.

To apply the frosting, I used piping tip #32, the French Star. I liked it because it still gave that wide, round look but with a little texture.

The cake was absolutely delicious. Vegan or not, this will be my new “quick” chocolate cake recipe, because it’s easier, faster, and cheaper than my other non-vegan chocolate cake recipe. It was so moist and chocolately and everybody loved it.

I had some reservations about the frosting because I am a self-proclaimed butter-lover. I scoff at those who use shortening (the horror!) in their frostings because butter just tastes so. darn. good. AND it’s all natural.

I guess I was expecting this frosting to taste as though it had been made with butter, but in my opinion, it tasted “off.” It was still good, but not up to the standards of real butter (but let’s be honest, nothing really is). Ā If I attempt vegan cupcakes again, I would settle for a chocolate glaze poured over the top (or injected inside!) of the cake.

UPDATE!: I made these again last night (5/31/11) and I cut the sugar in the frosting by nearly half! I took it from 6 cups to 3 1/2 cups and the frosting was amazing! Vegan or not, it was so delicious, and I even had my boyfriend and two friends who were visiting try it, and they all said the same thing, “This is vegan?!?” You would never know. I think the overabundance of frosting in the first trial made it taste far too sweet and somewhat “artificial.” Stick with the revised amount. Additionally, you may need to make 1.5 or 2 times the amount of frosting if you want a really healthy dose on all 24 cupcakes.Ā 

In summary, I am confident that vegans and non vegans alike will enjoyĀ RAVE aboutĀ these cupcakes, and NO ONE will ever guess they are vegan. They are that good!

Make a wish!


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