Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan chocolate cupcakes. Made with both cocoa and chocolate, they’re intensely dark and chocolatey. So much so no one will ever notice they’re vegan.

A batch of vegan chocolate cupcakes on a wire rack with half of them iced and a bowl of frosting beside the cupcakes.

They vegan chocolate cupcakes possess an intensely dark chocolate smack that no one would even dream belongs to a cupcake that lacks customary cake ingredients like butter and eggs. And the secret to the airy texture is aquafaba, that trendy starchy liquid found in canned beans or chickpeas that’s been making appearances in vegan baked goods like crazy the last several years. It’s like a secret weapon for vegan baking. We know. It didn’t sound compelling to us, either. And then we tried it. Swear there’s not a trace of beaniness in these little lovelies. In fact, we can pretty much guarantee no one’s even going to know they’re vegan if you don’t tell them. Originally published August 29, 2017.Angie Zoobkoff

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 45 M
  • 4 H
  • Makes 12 to 18
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Vegan for Everybody cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • For the vegan chocolate frosting
  • For the vegan chocolate cupcakes


Make the vegan chocolate frosting

If you’re making the vegan chocolate cupcakes using coconut cream, you can skip the first two steps and proceed with step 3. If you’re making the cupcakes using coconut milk, pop the unopened cans into the refrigerator and leave them for at least 24 hours to ensure that two distinct layers form.

If you are using coconut milk, skim cream layer from each can and measure out 3/4 cups cream (save any extra cream and the milky liquid for another use).

In a microwave safe bowl, combine coconut cream, chocolate chips, and salt and microwave in 30 second intervals at 50 percent power, whisking occasionally, until melted and smooth, 2 to 4 minutes. Alternately, in a saucepan set over low heat, stir together coconut cream, chocolate chips, and salt until melted and smooth. Transfer to bowl of stand mixer. Place plastic wrap directly against surface of chocolate mixture and refrigerate until cooled completely and texture resembles firm cream cheese, about 3 hours, stirring halfway through chilling. (If mixture has chilled for longer and is very stiff, let stand at room temperature to soften but still cool.)

Make the vegan chocolate cupcakes

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine water, cocoa, chocolate, oil, and vanilla and microwave in 30 second intervals at 50 percent power, whisking occasionally, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Alternately, in a saucepan set over low heat stir together the water, cocoa, chocolate, oil, and vanilla until melted and smooth, taking care not to burn the chocolate. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, using a stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip aquafaba and cream of tartar on high speed until the mixture forms soft peaks, 3 to 9 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir chocolate mixture into flour mixture until batter is thoroughly combined and smooth, about 1 minute. Stir one-third of whipped aquafaba into batter to lighten, then gently fold in remaining aquafaba until no white streaks remain.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake until tops are set and spring back when pressed lightly, 16 to 20 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.

Let cupcakes cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

While the cupcakes are cooling, finish preparing the frosting. Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip at high speed until fluffy, mousse-like soft peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes, scraping down bowl halfway through whipping. Spread frosting evenly over cupcakes and serve.

Print RecipeBuy the Vegan for Everybody cookbook

Want it? Click it.


    • *Do not use natural cocoa powder in this recipe as it gives the cupcakes a rubbery, spongy texture.

    • **Not all brands of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate are vegan so check the ingredient list carefully of whatever brand you intend to use.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    There are no vegans in our household, but I love a cupcake, so I decided to try this recipe. These chocolate cupcakes are excellent. They're moist, fluffy, and very soft, deep chocolate-y flavor that's not too sweet and just sweet enough. I never knew you could get such a great cake texture without an egg in sight!

    They rose beautifully and we're perfectly baked at 20 mins. I used almond milk and included the optional espresso powder. I used store-bought frosting so can't comment on that part of the recipe.

    I’ve been hearing a lot about vegan baking with aquafaba, but I have been a bit dubious of using that creamy substance from a can of beans in my baked goods. However, after making this recipe, I am a convert. I thought these chocolate cupcakes were moist and had a rich flavor.

    The chocolate frosting made with coconut fat was also delicious! I think you could get creative with this recipe and add some dissolved espresso powder to the frosting to make a lovely mocha flavor. Also, I filled a few of my cupcakes with raspberry jam before adding the frosting and they were delicious.

    #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Back to Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes on Leite's Culinaria