Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

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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.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Key Ingredients

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.

Adding tofu to cupcake batter

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.

Pouring wet batter over dry batter

Vegan Ganache

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.

vegan chocolate ganache

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.

making vegan ganache

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.

whipping chocolate ganache

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!)

spreading ganache over the top of a filled cupcake

Top with your favorite vegan sprinkles to make the cupcakes extra fun! (Some sprinkles aren’t vegan because they contain beeswax.)

Inside of a filled cupcake


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).

Did you make this recipe? Leave a review!
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
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4.75 from 4 votes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

These vegan chocolate cupcakes are light and bouncy like Hostess cupcakes - but leagues better.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 18 cupcakes
Calories 300kcal
Author Stefani


Cupcake Ingredients

  • 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

Ganache Ingredients

  • 4 ounces chopped vegan chocolate
  • 4 ounces full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • vegan sprinkles to taste


Cupcake Instructions

  • 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.

Ganache Instructions

  • 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!


This is an adaptation of a vegan chocolate cake from the cookbook La Dolce Vegan! [paid link]
Store these cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 199mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 52IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg
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  1. Anasays:

    I’m also wondering about the tofu substitution…since it’s used in lieu of eggs, can I use applesauce instead of tofu?

  2. Melindasays:

    Looks amazing! My daughter has a dairy free friend, and my mom can’t do eggs, so I’m always looking for recipes that accommodate a group! We can’t do soy in our family, though, is there something rose we could substitute for the silken tofu? Maybe a nut milk yogurt?

    • Stefsays:

      I haven’t tried it, but your idea should work. From what I read, you may also need a little cornstarch.

  3. Tamarasays:


    Made the cupcakes… and they rose and sank too airy and stuck to the muffin papers… very disappointed. Thinking it has to do with elevation?

  4. Sarahsays:

    I’ve just made a batch of these, with a few revisions, and everyone has loved them! You can’t taste the tofu and the cupcake has such a wonderful chocolately dense texture-it really is almost a brownie! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  5. bonchasays:

    Just made these with no revisions to the recipe and they have great flavor. You can really taste the basil. I can imagine substituting mint and having them be amazing as well.

    I couldn’t get over the texture of these, moist perfect cupcakes. I didn’t expect it from a vegan recipe!!

    I also made the frosting but I am going to put such a small amount on. These can definitely hold there own!

  6. Eren Arruna Cervantessays:

    I just tried this recipe with mint and it worked wonderfully!

  7. aerandierasays:

    Wonderful recipe! I just made them and they are easy to make, fluffy and the touch and delicious to try!

  8. mollysays:

    Just made these and am so happy i did! They look beautiful and you are right about that ‘hmmm. maybe its mint’ taste. I made a quick little chocolate soy milk and powdered sugar drizzle and they were good to go!

  9. Her Hcgsays:

    I have never eat this flavor,I think the making of Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Basil is really very hard..

  10. Anonymoussays:

    Just made these, and they really did dome *beautifully* and my house smells heavenly. Great recipe!

  11. vincentsays:


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  12. Aparnasays:

    I’m always happy to see bakes that can be done without eggs and still turn out so good.
    I’ll definitely be making them.

  13. Andreasays:

    Very innovative use of your homegrown basil! I will have to give this a try sometime. Thanks for sharing your post with Grow Your Own!

  14. randomly designedsays:

    This looks delicious – thank you for the recipe! I just have one question – is there anything we can replace teh Tofu with? My stomach doesn’t agree with tofu…

  15. divasays:

    these cupcakes are beautiful. i’m intrigued. i really wanna taste em to compare em to chocolate mint ones..

  16. Jennifersays:

    Beautiful! I will say Ive not used basil in baking sweets, let alone cupcakes. I am so intrigued now!!

  17. wheeler's crewsays:

    I agree with Amy. These cupcakes are beautiful. I bet they’d be great with sweet basil ice cream. I can’t wait to make them.

  18. Tessasays:

    I saw basil ice cream the other day and was really excited about the idea! I’ve been thinking about what other desserts it could be added to, and I’m going to have to try the chocolate-basil combination. Your cupcakes look beautiful!

  19. Amy I.says:

    What an interesting combo, they look beautiful! I love the contrast of the brown with the green garnish… very unexpected on a cupcake. Thanks for participating in Grow Your Own!

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