Friday, February 8, 2013

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting - vegan

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Have you been looking for your go-to, un-fussy, everyday chocolate cake (or cupcake!) recipe? Look no further, folks, because I've got it for you. I first came across this eggless chocolate cake sometime last fall, filed it away pinned it, and rediscovered it recently. The first time I made it was disappointing, not only because I forgot the baking soda, but because it wasn't terribly chocolatey. I did some thinking, some chocolate craving, made some bread, and tried again. The results were fantastic.

First, I added some real chocolate so that these cakes weren't relying solely on cocoa. I used the good stuff, but because I only used a couple ounces, it won't set you back tons of dough (pun intended). I also reduced the amount of sugar, and I tried a new (to me) oil. I used grapeseed oil. It has a much lighter taste than my standard olive, and it really let the chocolate shine.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Finally, I topped these lovelies with some chocolate frosting. Et voila, chocolate comfort. Mr Official Taster even admitted he couldn't tell these were vegan. The best part? You really only need two bowls to make these- one for the cake and one for the frosting.

Chocolate with less dishes to wash? Priceless.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake - vegan
adapted, quite a lot, from Swapna's Cuisine

I learned something! 1 cup of brown sugar weighs the same amount as 1 cup of white sugar. Fun fact. I'd love to try this recipe again with sucanat, but I can't tell you it also weighs 150g, so go with the volume measurement if you use it.
During one incarnation of this recipe, I used raspberry vinegar, but sadly, the taste didn't really come though. Perhaps a very strongly flavored vinegar would impart more of it's particular flavor. If you try, let us know, yes?

2 oz bittersweet (70% cocoa or more) chocolate
1/3 C (75 grams) vegetable oil
1 ½ C (195 grams) flour
3/4 C (150 grams) white or brown sugar
¼ C (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 C (240 ml) warm water (comfortably warm, not hot or lukewarm)
1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F and place rack in center of oven. Line a cupcake tin (this makes 12 cupcakes), or, alternatively, grease, line, and flour an 8-inch square cake pan.

In a medium bowl set over a double boiler, melt chocolate and oil together. Set aside and allow to cool a bit (until it's lukewarm-ish). Sift in the the flour, sugar, sifted cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. With a fork or whisk, mix all the ingredients together until well blended.

Ladle batter into cupcake tins, filling each cup 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed and/or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes or so. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to finish cooling on a wire rack before frosting.

If you're making a cake, pour batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. If you're serving directly from the pan, you can skip the grease/flour/papered pan part of the above instructions.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
adapted from Whisk Kid

This frosting is a handy one to have in your arsenal because it's quick to make and a nice chocolate- not too sweet, not too bitter. Just as a note, this is one of those buttercreams that does dry out and get sort of crusty, rather than staying creamy. It doesn't bother me, and I found it delicious for breakfast. 

This amount worked pretty perfectly for 12 cupcakes, but if you want to use this to frost a layer cake, you probably want to double it.

If, perhaps, you want something a little prettier for Valentine's Day, I suggest Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

2.5 oz (71 g) good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I used the same Ghirardelli bittersweet as I did for the cupcakes)
1/4 C (59 g) vegan butter, room temp (I used Earth Balance)
1 1/2 C (234 g) powdered sugar
1/2 Tbsp cocoa
2-4 Tbsp non dairy milk (or orange juice would be tasty)

Melt chocolate in a double boiler and allow to cool to room temperature. Beat in the butter until creamy, about a minute. Sift in half of the powdered sugar and all of the baking cocoa, then beat until thickened and mostly combined, adding 1 tablespoon of milk to loosen. Add remaining sugar and beat until combined, adding up to 3 tablespoons more of milk, one at a time, until desired frosting consistency is reached.


  1. Kate, these cakes look delicious :) How did they taste? (Great i bet!)

    And i agree, the less washing up - the better haha

    1. nice and chocolatey, thanks :) Happy baking!

  2. They look great, I'll give them a try! I'm venturing into Dairy free and looing for the perfect cupcake recipe and this looks perfect thanks :)

    1. thanks, Jo! Dairy free baking is not nearly hard as it sounds initially- you'll do just fine :)

  3. Hey Kate!
    I just discovered your blog today and I love it!!! I'm also sesitive to milk and a lot of the time I'm eating vegan so your blog fits perfecttly (!!!) into my world :) Great pictures and amazing recepies (can't wait to make the cupcakes!!)
    xox from snowy Switzerland!

    1. thank you and welcome! I think you'll also find it's not too hard to find good substitutes :) Happy baking!

  4. A fuss-free and delicious chocolate cupcake!

    1. I think so! I hope you try them :)

  5. Hi, just wondering if this recipe makes 12 cupcakes?


    1. Hi Liz! Yes, this makes 12 cupcakes, and the frosting recipe is about the right amount for 12 as well. Happy baking!

  6. Thank you for sharing these on YHL. I will definitely have to give them a try one day soon, especially since my hub randomly requests chocolatey goodness in the midst of paper writing!

    1. and thank you for visiting! happy baking :)


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