Baking · Buttercream and Frosting · Chocolate · Vegan

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan chocolate fudge cupcakes with decadent chocolate buttercream. This recipe makes a dozen delicious chocolate cupcakes that are a breeze to make and taste like they’re from a bakery!

Chocolate cupcakes that are perfect for simply any celebration or occasion, but especially great to bake in time for Easter!

These chocolate cupcakes are soft, fluffy and topped with ultra smooth and creamy chocolate buttercream. One bite of these cupcakes and no one will guess they’re vegan.

The cupcake batter takes all of just 10 minutes to prepare. Start by making a vegan ‘buttermilk’ and to do this you’ll mix plant milk with vinegar – this mixture will help the cupcakes rise as they bake. In a mixing bowl you’ll combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Next, add oil and vanilla extract to the vegan ‘buttermilk’ mixture you prepared at the start of the recipe. Add that to your dry cake mix ingredients and then add plant milk/coffee and whisk until you have a smooth batter.

As with most chocolate cupcake batters, this one is runny so I’d recommend pouring the batter into a jug or using an ice cream scoop to distribute between the paper liners.

Bake the cupcakes until risen and springy to the touch. Then leave to cool completely, but as they cool you can make the buttercream and leave it in the fridge ready to decorate the cupcakes later on.

For this vegan chocolate buttercream, I swapped the butter for vegan baking spread, the icing sugar and cocoa powder is kept the same and then to lighten buttercream I’d normally add some double cream (I prefer adding cream instead of milk) so I switched my usual double cream for oat cream.

Testing out this vegan chocolate buttercream, I would say that the oat cream/plant milk is totally optional. I prefer a super creamy buttercream so add this extra ingredient to loosen my buttercream. However, even without the vegan cream the buttercream is easy to pipe, so don’t go out of your way to get vegan cream especially as your buttercream will taste great and have a wonderful creamy texture.

I usually make chocolate buttercream with melted chocolate, but I’d seen a lot of vegan chocolate buttercream recipes called for cocoa powder, so I decided to stick with adding cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate this time. This decision did have an added benefit too as it meant I could keep my supply of dark chocolate for future bakes and to snack on when I’m in need of some chocolate!

Top the cupcakes with grated dark chocolate, vegan mini speckled chocolate eggs or your desired cake decoration. If these cupcakes appear on your table over Easter I really do hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

(Makes 12)


Chocolate Cupcakes:

120ml plant milk (I use soya but any plant milk will work)

1 and 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

200g caster/granulated or dark/light brown sugar

180g plain flour

40g cocoa powder, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

80ml vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

120ml plant milk + 1 teaspoon instant coffee – the milk will need to be warmed before adding the coffee

Chocolate Buttercream: 

150g dairy-free baking spread

400g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

30g cocoa powder, sifted

2-3 tablespoons vegan cream or plant milk (optional) – add enough until the buttercream has reached your preferred consistency


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  2. To make the cupcakes: In a jug, mix together 120ml plant milk with the vinegar and leave it to one side – this makes a vegan-style buttermilk and will help the cupcakes rise when baking.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Whisk together until combined.
  4. Now to the dry ingredients add the oil, the plant milk/vinegar mixture you prepared earlier along with the vanilla extract.
  5. Heat the remaining 120ml plant milk until warm (approx. 30 seconds in the microwave will do or place on the stove top and heat until warm) and add the coffee. Stir to dissolve the coffee in the milk and then add this mixture to the other ingredients.
  6. Whisk until you have a smooth batter free of any lumps. Distribute the cupcake batter between the paper liners and bake for 18 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of one of the cupcakes. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  7. To make the buttercream: In a large mixing bowl, cream the dairy-free baking spread until softened – about a minute or two should do. Now add the icing sugar in two batches, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and continue mixing for a further 5-7 minutes until the buttercream is pale and creamy.
  8. Add cocoa powder and the vegan cream/plant milk (if using) and mix for another 30 seconds until thoroughly combined. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with piping nozzle and decorate the cupcakes. You can spread the buttercream on each cupcake if you prefer. Decorate the cupcakes further as desired.

The cupcakes will keep stored in airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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