These Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes are tender, fluffy, and EASY to bake. Topped with a simple chocolate buttercream, these cupcakes taste just like the ones we all know and love – without the eggs and dairy!
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Classic chocolate cupcakes made without eggs, milk, or butter? Yes, please! These sweet cakes taste just like “the real deal”. They are fluffy, tender, and moist. And, of course, they’re topped with a classic American buttercream. Sweet and delicious.
So what sets these cupcakes apart from other vegan cake? They’re made with standard pantry staples that you most likely have on hand already. Plant-based butter and milk are used in place of dairy. And sparkling water is used in place of eggs – a neat trick I recently learned from The Kitchn. Because this recipe uses sparkling water instead of other egg replacers (like flaxseed or chia) the cake texture is just like that of a regular, egg & dairy filled cake! You’ll add a little corn starch to the dry ingredients to help bind the cake together (that’s typically an egg’s job) and keep it from being too crumbly. And I have no doubt that you will love the tender cake!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- All-purpose flour makes up the bulk of the cupcake’s dry ingredients. You can use a bleached or unbleached variety. I haven’t tested this recipe with other flours.
- Corn starch acts as a binder to hold the ingredients together since there are no eggs in this recipe. Arrowroot starch will work as well (you’ll use the same amount).
- Baking powder and baking soda work together to help the cupcakes rise
- Salt enhances flavor.
- Plant-based butter brings moisture and flavor to the cupcakes and makes up the buttercream frosting.
- Granulated sugar sweetens the cupcakes. You can use your favorite sugar – white sugar, coconut sugar, raw cane sugar, or unrefined cane sugar. Just note that the gram measurements will vary based on the sugar you use.
- Vanilla extract adds flavor to both the cupcakes and frosting.
- Sparkling water replaces eggs in this recipe. Feel feee to use whatever bubbly, carbonated water you like (flavored or unflavored).
- Almond milk adds moisture to the cake and frosting. You can use a sweetened, unsweetened, or vanilla almond milk. Other plant-based milks should work as well.
- Powdered sugar makes up the bulk of the frosting. I don’t recommend any substitutes.
More Vegan Recipes
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp (114g) all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp (16g) corn starch
- 3/4 cup (60g) natural (regular) cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (113g) plant-based butter, softened
- 2/3 cup (150g) white granulated sugar (see Note 1)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (100g) sparkling water (see Note 2)
- 3/4 cup (165g) almond milk, warm or room temp
- 3/4 cup (170g) plant-based butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (40g) natural cocoa powder
- 3 cups (360g) powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp almond milk
Make the Cupcakes
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line your cupcake pan(s) with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, add the flour and corn starch. Sift in the cocoa powder. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until combined; set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the plant-based butter and sugar until fluffy (for around 30 seconds). Beat in the vanilla extract and sparkling water - the batter will look "separated" and watery at this point.
- Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Beat in 1/2 of the almond milk. Repeat. Finally, beat in the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients until batter is combined and smooth.
- Spoon or scoop the batter into the lined cupcake wells, filling them around 2/3 full. I was able to fill 14 standard cupcake liners. Bake cupcakes at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcakes comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes (this allows the tender cake to firm up a bit). Gently remove the cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely - they should not feel warm to the touch at all.
Frost the Cupcakes
- Once the cupcakes are totally cool, make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat the plant-based butter. Beat in the vanilla extract and sifted cocoa powder.
- Slowly beat in the powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp of almond milk. If needed, add more almond milk, 1 tsp at a time, until the frosting reaches a smooth and spreadable consistency. If it becomes too thin or melty, add a tad more powdered sugar (or cocoa powder, to avoid adding more sweetness).
- Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with your favorite tip (I used a #6B). Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes, adding sprinkles, if desired, every two or three cupcakes - if you wait until all cupcakes are frosted, the sprinkles won't stick.
- Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature, or in the refrigerator if your space is especially warm.
1. Sugar: you can use your favorite granulated sugar in this recipe. Coconut sugar, raw sugar, or unrefined cane sugar will all work. You'll want to measure out 2/3 cup of whatever sugar you choose - the gram measurement will vary depending on the sugar.
- 2/3 cup raw sugar = 142g
- 2/3 cup unrefined cane sugar = 160g
- 2/3 cup white granulated sugar = 150g
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar = 110g
2. Sparkling Water: you can use your favorite sparkling (or bubbling/carbonated) water. I recommend something plain, but a flavored sparking water will work as well.