Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
These vegan chocolate cupcakes are light and bouncy like Hostess cupcakes – but leagues better. They dome absolutely perfectly and they’re filled and topped with a rich and creamy vegan version of my chocolate ganache made with coconut milk.
To give these cupcakes a great chocolate flavor, I use both cocoa powder and melted chocolate. Remember that not all chocolate is vegan. I use Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Bars [paid link], which are vegan.
Instead of eggs, these cupcakes use soft tofu. It may sound funny, but you will never know the tofu’s there once the cupcakes are baked.
Many people have asked why I use apple cider vinegar in my vegan baking. The acid from the vinegar activates the baking soda and helps to give the cupcakes their wonderful dome. Like the tofu, you don’t taste it in the cupcakes.
I highly recommend using a food processor for this recipe to ensure that the tofu is totally smooth. Nobody wants to find chunks in their cupcakes unless they are chocolate chip cupcakes. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender instead.
Pour the smooth wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. If you add the dry ingredients to the food processor, you risk over mixing.
The ganache is my favorite thing about these cupcakes. That’s why I make a ton of it and load the cupcakes up with it – inside and out! It is thick enough to sit on top of the cupcakes and not drip off, but it remains smooth and creamy.
To make the vegan ganache, simply pour hot, full-fat coconut milk (the kind that comes in the can) over chopped up chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and then stir until all of the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth and uniform in color.
Prep the ganache in advance because it takes about an hour to thicken in the fridge. Once it thickens, whip it with an electric mixer and add a little powdered sugar.
Either dip the cupcakes directly in the ganache (if you don’t plan to fill them) or make filled cupcakes by removing a chunk of each cupcake, filling the hole with ganache, and spreading more ganache over the top. (Use the removed pieces to make cake truffles or cake pops!)
Top with your favorite vegan sprinkles to make the cupcakes extra fun! (Some sprinkles aren’t vegan because they contain beeswax.)
When I originally made these cupcakes in 2009, I threw a cup of fresh basil into the food processor with the wet ingredients to make chocolate basil cupcakes. You could do the same thing with fresh mint. The cupcakes come out great that way!
If you prefer a big frosting swirl to the ganache, try my vegan buttercream made using either homemade vegan butter or Country Crock’s Plant Butter.
For a s’mores cupcake, make a marshmallow-like vegan frosting using aquafaba (the liquid from a jar of chickpeas).
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup soft or silken tofu 4 1/2 ounces
- 1 cup soy milk use any non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 ounces vegan chocolate melted in a double boiler or in 20 second bursts in the microwave
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 ounces chopped vegan chocolate
- 4 ounces full-fat coconut milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- vegan sprinkles to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add tofu, soy milk, vinegar, vanilla, and oil and process until completely smooth.
- Pour contents of the food processor into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
- Fold in melted chocolate.
- Mix in water and stir slowly until fully combined.
- Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when touched.
- Heat coconut milk in a pot on the stove or in the microwave until it is steaming but not quite boiling.
- Pour over chopped chocolate.
- Let the coconut milk sit on the chocolate for thirty seconds. Then, stir until smooth.
- Chill for at least one hour in the refrigerator to thicken.
- Remove from the refrigerator and use the whisk attachment on an electric mixer on high speed for five minutes to incorporate air into the ganache.
- Mix in the powdered sugar a little at a time until smooth.
- Use a knife to core a hole in each cupcake, going almost to the bottom of the cupcake. Eat the extra cake pieces or use them to make cake truffles or cake pops.
- Fill the holes with ganache and spread ganache over the top of each cupcake until smooth.
- Top with vegan sprinkles!
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