These wonderful cupcakes are heavy on the chocolate and light on the guilt. Why? First because chocolate is good for you — science says so — so you can't feel bad about eating is. And second because they're free of any oils, dairy or refined sugars. All the sweetness comes from honey and fruit, and apple even stands in for the oil! Yet they're still moist and oh so decadent! Talk about a dream dessert.
This recipe was inspired by Forks Over Knives

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Cook time: 20 minutes 

Total time: 35 minutes 

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Date Frosting


  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened original almond milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup unfiltered honey
  • 1/4 cup apple puree or unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup cupcake tin with paper liners.
  2. Melt your two ounces of chocolate in a double boiler. Simply fill a pot with an inch or two of water and place a sauce pan on top of it. Bring the water to a boil and place your chocolate in the sauce pan. Stir the chocolate as it melts. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat, and set it aside to let it cool for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and vinegar and stir together. Set aside for 1-2 minutes. Then add in the honey, apple puree (or unsweetened applesauce), vanilla and melted chocolate and stir to thoroughly combine.
  4. In a separate large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until the batter is combined and there are no large lumps.
  5. Spoon the batter into the cupcake tin, filling each well to about three-quarters full. Place the tin on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. While the cupcakes bake, prepare your frosting. Place the dates in a blender and pour the boiling water over them. Let them sit in the water for about 10 minutes to soften, squishing them down every once in awhile with a spoon. Blend the dates on high until they are completely smooth. You want them to be as smooth as possible.
  7. Add in the cocoa, salt and vanilla, and blend the mixture until all the ingredients are combined, scraping down the side of the blender every so often. Spoon the mix into a bowl and place it in the fridge to chill.
  8. When the cupcakes are done, pull them from the oven and let them sit in the tin for about 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes from the tin and place on a wire rack to finish cooling.
  9. When the cupcakes are completely cooled, pull the icing from the fridge and using a spatula or an icing bag, ice your cupcakes. Enjoy!

chocolate cupcakes

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Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.