One of the best ways to have a (somewhat) healthier dessert without giving up any flavor or texture, is to whip up a vegan chocolate baked treat. These chocolate cupcakes -- moist and thick, and topped with a light and fluffy frosting -- are the perfect dessert for just about any occasion. Depending on how you frost them and how you top them, they're ideal for anything from stocking the school bake sale to serving at a fancy dinner party. I added a fresh raspberry to the top of each. Other great ideas include strawberries, blueberries, candied citrus peel, a sprinkle of cinnamon, or a dusting of cocoa powder. This recipe is inspired by Oh She Glows.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients, including the buttercream frosting ingredients, which start at Earth Balance buttery stick

  • 1 cup unsweetened original almond milk
  • 1 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1.5 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup fair-trade cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery stick, softened
  • 2 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened original almond milk
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cupcake tin with unbleached paper cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl and using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the almond milk, oil, sugar, apple cider vinegar, vanilla and almond extract for about one minute.
  3. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
  4. Spoon the batter into the cupcake tin, filling each well to about two thirds full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  5. Set aside to cool on a wire rack. Be sure to allow the cupcakes to completely cool before frosting.
  6. To make the frosting, in a large bowl and using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the 1/2 cup of Earth Balance buttery stick. Add in the almond milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix until well combined. Gradually add in the powdered sugar. Begin with about one cup and keep mixing until completely combined. Add more one-quarter cup at a time until you have the consistency you want. Because I don't like my frosting too sweet, I only used about 2 cups of powdered sugar, but if you like it sweeter or thicker, add more. Beat for several minutes until fluffy.
  7. Fill a pastry bag with the frosting and frost each cooled cupcake. Top with a berry or other topping of choice. Serve and enjoy!

chocolate cupcakes

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

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
These moist and rich vegan chocolate cupcakes are topped with a sweet and fluffy vegan buttercream frosting.