halloween (vegan) cupcakes

vegan cupcakes

No, I’m not vegan. Or vegetarian. I just like to experiment. I didn’t even realize these cupcakes were vegan when I first chose the recipe. I was merely intrigued that it relied solely on baking soda and vinegar for the leavening, so I had to try it. With a work potluck coming up, what a great time to experiment… My unknowing test subjects would be none the wiser… MWAHAHAHAHA (that’s my evil laugh, in case you were wondering… it was Halloween after all).

I was really excited for some reason when the batter bubbled up. Like, really excited. Filled with childhood glee excitement. Remember when you were little and you had to make that volcano for science class? Pretty much the same concept: baking soda + acid = bubbles. I wish I’d gotten a picture, but I was too busy staring at the mixture in excitement. Plus, I wanted to hurry and get them in the oven before it was too late…

(Side note about leavening agents. Baking soda is “single acting”, while baking powder is “double acting”. Because baking soda is “single” acting, had I stared in awe until all of the bubbles stopped before baking them, my cupcakes would not have risen so beautifully. Especially since there were no other ingredients in the recipe for them to rely on for rising. Baking powder, on the other hand, both reacts when mixed, and then again when heated. So if you ever wondered what that meant on the can, now you know… I’m just chock-full of useless information.)

Anyway, the recipe is simple. Step one: Sift dry ingredients. Sifting is a good idea here, just because cocoa tends to clump together, and we want to have all of the baking soda (and everything else) evenly distributed. If you don’t have a fine mesh sieve, just whisk vigorously… but not too vigorously or you’ll end up covering your kitchen (and yourself) in flour. Not as pretty as covering either in flowers, unfortunately.

Step 2 – 4: Stir wet ingredients, fold wet into dry, bake!


The result is a light, moist cupcake with a subtle chocolate flavor. Quite subtle. Red velvet subtle. BF’s brother said if he were blindfolded, he wouldn’t be sure that they were even chocolate cupcakes. So yes, very subtle, but I thought it was a pleasant subtle. Texture was great, flavor was good, but subtle.

You can turn up your chocolate volume by adding a little more cocoa (I think you could easily up it to a 1/2 cup), chocolate chips, or even chocolate frosting. I had done quite a bit of baking that day, so I actually cheated and used my favorite store-bought frosting: Party rainbow chip (NOT the same as funfetti. Funfetti is garbage and this is delicious). My orange cupcakes are actually just party rainbow chip dyed orange.

I mean, I enjoy baking, but I’m not a caterer. I’m not wasting allll that time making cupcakes and decorating them just to have them destroyed minutes into a work potluck. Let’s be realistic here. Plus, I was really craving rainbow chip cupcakes… now that I think of, I don’t know if I even ate one. Darnit! >.< Oh well, maybe I’ll have to make another batch…

“Vegan” Chocolate Cupcakes

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brewed coffee (or 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of espresso powder or instant coffee granules)
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil

1 Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Prepare a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2 In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt until there are no visible clumps (cocoa tends to clump up).
3 In a separate bowl, mix together the coffee (or water plus coffee granules), vinegar, vanilla extract, and olive oil.
4 Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until they just come together. The mixture should be thin and rather lumpy.
5 Ladle the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about two-thirds of the way full. Place in oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
6 Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a rack. Once cool, you can eat plain, sprinkle with powdered sugar, or drizzle or coat with frosting.

*If you want to make a cake instead of cupcakes, double the recipe and use two 8-inch round cake pans and cook for 35-40 minutes.

[ Adapted from Simply Recipes ]