Classic Chocolate Cupcakes

How many times have we all heard the dreaded comment: “Pretty good for a vegan dessert….”

No, stop right there. Not today.

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As my Valentine’s gift to all of you out in blog land, I present with a fluttering heart, my perfect chocolate cupcakes. I know, every recipe out there claims to be the “ultimate” or “best ever,” but stick with me here, try these little cakes and you will never go back to that hodge-podge little brownie you usually end up with when omitting animal products.

Right from the start, you have to know that this batch will be different. After all, just look at those tops – they rise in the oven, such a novel concept! A firm, almost chewy exterior protects a soft, moist cake for the body. Oh, the flavor? A chocolate to suit any tastes – not too overpowering or sweet for the mature palate, but sure to be an instant kid pleaser without any alterations neccissary.

I made a double batch of these and gave them out to some test subjects friends yesterday, all of them traditional dairy / egg consumers… and not one of them had any idea. I got rave reviews, they absolutely couldn’t get enough of them. When everyone was stuffed and couldn’t eat other bite, kids we walking out the door with two or three in their hands to horde for later! Needless to say, I returned home with only an tray, with the odd fallen sprinkle or two.

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Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Vanilla Soymilk
2 Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line medium cupcake tins with papers. The papers do tend to adhere themselves a bit to the cake, so you could sprinkle the papers with just a little bit of flour or cocoa powder… but you really don’t have to. They’ll still come out just fine.

Mix all of the dry ingredients a medium size bowl – no electric mixer required. Combine all the wet ingredients in separate bowl – *EXCEPT VINEGAR.* Add your wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until everything is mixed in, but don’t go crazy trying to beat out every single little lump. Now, add the vinegar quickly and stir in – pour batter into the pans and immediately put them in the oven. Bake for approximately 14 to 18 minutes. Allow them to cool in the pan for just a little bit, and then I placed mine on newspaper as a make-shift cooling rake until I was ready to frost them.

Makes one dozen lovely little snacks.

Printable Recipe

For the holiday, the obvious choice for this batch was to go the pink route, so I opted for a sugary sweet strawberry frosting, topped off with adorable little pink and white heart sprinkles. I admit, I was in a bit of a time crunch, so I cheated a little and used a store bought vanilla frosting as a base. For those of you planning on recreating these masterpieces at home, be sure to check labels carefully – Not all brands are vegan! For the proper flavoring, I added in about 1/3 cup of pureed frozen strawberries, along with a little less than a teaspoon of strawberry flavoring for an extra kick. No artifical coloring required, this is exactly what I ended up with.

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…Now, who says vegan baked goods can’t compare?

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28 thoughts on “Classic Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Thank you so much for such a DELICOUS recipe! Well, i’m actually not certain how the finished product tastes, but the batter is very good. I made heart shaped cupcakes. If they don’t turn out, that’s okay, because I ran out of oil, then had to half the dry ingredients, without a scale.

    Anyway, thank you. I’m sure I will be very happy in 10-14 minutes!

  2. omgd, i want to make these cupcakes!!!!!!!!! one question: what type of vinegar do i use? white or apple cider? but i’ll be sure to make these!!!!

  3. Absolutely amazing recipe! This is my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe from now on. The cupcakes came out perfectly moist and just chocolatey enough. You would never know that these are vegan cupcakes. I am waiting for them to cool, so that I can slather on peanut-butter-cream-cheese-buttercream frosting. LOL.

  4. Hey Hannah, I was wondering, what kind of vinegar do you use? And is it okay to use plain soymilk and then add in vanilla extract?
    Thanks!

  5. I made these cupcakes for my husband’s birthday and they were the rave of the party! I also used your Ganache and Frosting recipe’s from the Root-beer Float Cupcakes. I added the ganache in the middle and I’m pretty sure everyone had at least two each! XD

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  6. I just found your website searching for chocolate cupcakes recipes. I was hesitant to try a vegan recipe but.. they are so delicious! I will make again. Now I want to try your other recipes.

  7. The cupcakes looks delicious…i can’t wait to make it! I was wondering, what kind of vinegar do you use? Is it okay if i use plain soymilk and then add in vanilla extract? Thank you.

  8. WOW! I am in love with these cupcakes. I’ve made them twice now, and they are perfect; and SO easy. The first time, I slathered them with a tangerine icing and took them to a party–they were a huge hit. Today’s batch rose even more beautifully than the first one (I ran out of regular sugar, so substituted 1/4 cup of brown sugar; but I don’t think this has anything to do with them rising so nicely). I’m serving them to out-of-town company tomorrow. THANK YOU for this recipe! Yum, yum, yum.

  9. i’ve never made a vegan recipe before, so i was very hesitant to try these! we eat organically and my hubby drinks vanilla soy milk…so i had all of the ingredients on hand. these were so amazing! the only substitute i made was replacing the sugar with evaporated cane juice. they came out so moist and cake-like! i just dusted the tops with powdered sugar. i am so excited to try some of your other recipes! thanks so much. :)

  10. These are in the oven right now! I had some measurement fiascoes – no, that’s not the 1/2 slash 1 cup cup, that’s the 3/4 slash 1 1/2 cup – that involved some frantic math on scraps of paper. Turns out i ended up upping the recipe by 1/3rd. But the batter tastes great, and since there’s no eggs i could eat it as i liked. I’m not vegan, I’m not vegetarian, I’m not, well, anything… but i still wanted to make these over other cupcakes.
    Looking forward to taking them out! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  11. I have been using this recipe for nearly 4 years now and it’s still the best I’ve ever had. I always use chocolate almond/soy/whole milk rather than vanilla and I top them with whipped cream. Sometimes I throw chocolate chips in. They’re always awesome. Even the batter itself is great. Thank you!!

  12. I just made these tonight, and they are great!! The easiest and tastiest vegan recipe I’ve ever used. It literally took me only like 10-15 minutes to make these. I used rice milk, and I think I’ll make a cream cheese frosting. Even the batter is tasty :D

  13. As long as you’re making vegan cupcakes, you may as well use the “right” kind of cupcake papers. I use brown paper cupcake papers made by a company called “if You Care”. They are a bit on the pricey side, but they are earth-friendly, and as a bonus, they tend to not stick to most cupcakes!

  14. You, Hannah, are my go-to … even when I dig way back into your archives. Let me tell you this quick story. My friend — and one of my most important teachers — is fighting a very advanced cancer and going through a challenging treatment. She said to me in passing she craved chocolate cake — nothing fancy, no chips or sprinkles or icing. Not even my beloved pumpkin-cookie butter cake … one of my all-time favorite Hannah recipes? Nope. Just a plain ol’ chocolate cake. She thought it would be the one thing she could handle. I knew that I could count on you to provide the perfect recipe. And, you did. My cupcakes are perfect. And, I am so very, very grateful!

    1. THIS absolutely makes my heart sing. This recipe is so old that even I forgot about it, and here it still lives on, thanks to you! And yes, THANK YOU so much for spreading that love and giving it new life. It means so much to me that you would dig through the archives to pull out such an old but tried-and-true gem. This makes my whole week. <3

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