clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
close up side view of vegan chocolate cupcake topped with vanilla frosting and chocolate shavings.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Lexi
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 dozen 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


You need these Classic Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes in your life. They're easy to make, decadent and topped with a rich vanilla buttercream frosting. Plus, they're gluten free. You won't be able to stop at just one!




  • 2 cups gluten free all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temp
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz freshly brewed espresso (or 1 tsp instant espresso powder)
  • 1 1/4 cup nondairy milk (we used oat)
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan dark chocolate

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 1 cup vegan butter, softened to room temp
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 2 tsp nondairy milk



  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a muffin/cupcake tin with liners.
  2. Melt chocolate in the microwave 30 second intervals until fully melted and set aside to cool slightly while you make the batter.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
  4. Beat butter using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar and continue mixing until incorporated. 
  5. Add in applesauce, maple syrup, vanilla and espresso and continue mixing at a medium-low speed. 
  6. Slowly mix about half of the dry mixture into the wet, then slowly stream in half of the milk until incorporated. Repeat until all of the dry mixture and the remaining milk is incorporated. The batter should be thick, but pretty smooth. 
  7. Add in melted chocolate and continue mixing until smooth and creamy. 
  8. Use a cookie scoop to transfer batter to muffin tins. Fill about 3/4 of each tin. 
  9. Bake for 23-26 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven, transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting. 


  1. Make sure butter is completely softened. Cream butter in stand mixer or in a mixing bowl with hand mixer. 
  2. When light and fluffy, slowly incorporate powdered sugar (about 1/2 cup at a time). 
  3. When fully incorporated, add remaining ingredients and mix at medium-high speed for about 30 seconds, until super light and fluffy. 
  4. To frost cupcakes, use a piping bag or simply use a knife or spatula. Optional: sprinkle frosting with chocolate shavings. 


Vegan butter: make sure to soften the butter to room temperature before using in both the cupcakes and the frosting. If it's not softened, it won't incorporate well with the other ingredients. 

Nondairy milk: we prefer using oat milk in this recipe for its creamy texture and mild flavor. You can also use cashew, almond or soy milk.

Dark chocolate: any dark chocolate will do, but we prefer something around 70-80%. Note that dark chocolate is NOT the same as unsweetened chocolate. 

Cocoa powder: we use unsweetened cacao powder. You can also use regular baking cocoa, but be sure to opt for unsweetened.

Unsweetened applesauce acts as a binder in place of eggs to keep these chocolate cupcakes fully vegan. It's an essential ingredient in this recipe.

Storage: since these cupcakes don't contain any dairy products, you can store them covered at room temperature for up to 5 days. You can also store in the refrigerator if preferred (or if you live somewhere very warm). 

Make sure to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting, otherwise the buttercream will melt.

Topping ideas: we love simple chocolate shavings, but you can also top these vegan chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles (perfect for a birthday!), fresh raspberries, mini chocolate chips or crushed cookies.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 252
  • Sugar: 24.2 g
  • Sodium: 273 mg
  • Fat: 11.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35 g
  • Fiber: 1.6 g
  • Protein: 1.8 g