vegan chocolate cupcake with vegan vanilla buttercream frosting

The Best Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting!

Easy, one bowl, vegan chocolate cupcakes! No eggs, no dairy. Vegan Vanilla Buttercream stable at room temperature! Whether you are vegan, dairy free, or egg free, you will love these delicious vegan cupcakes with buttercream frosting!

Why learn a dairy free, egg free, cupcake recipe?

Whether you are vegan yourself or not, most people know someone who is vegan. A lot of people are not vegan but need to avoid dairy and egg products because of allergies or intolerance.

This is why I made it my mission over a year ago to test vegan cupcake recipes, and find one that is actually delicious that I could take to family gatherings and potlucks. We have to help make sure our dairy and egg restricted friends can enjoy some cake on their birthday too!

After tweaking ingredients, mixing methods, and tasting a lot of frosting 🙂 after several batches I finally have my favorite recipe ready for you!

Ingredients for Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes

  • Organic, fair trade, cocoa (I use Thrive Market brand)
  • Boiling Water (I always use filtered water)
  • Espresso Powder
  • Granulated White Sugar
  • Organic Grape Seed Oil (I use Thrive Market brand)
  • Vanilla extract (also from Thrive Market)
  • Organic All Purpose Flour
  • Whisk
  • Bowl
  • Cupcake Pan and 12 reusable liners (I use these from OXO)
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Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients

  • 8oz of Vegan Stick Butter (I have only used Earth Balance Vegan Butter Sticks) at room temperature (set out on counter 2 hours before baking)
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Stand Mixer with Paddle Attachment (I have a Kitchen Aid)

Vegan Chocolate Cupcake Instructions

Step One

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the inside of each silicone cupcake liner with grape seed oil (optional, helps the cupcakes release easier). Or line each cup with a paper cupcake liner. Set aside.

Step Two

Using a kitchen scale in grams, weigh out the fair trade organic cocoa powder into your large mixing bowl, add the espresso powder, and boiling water. Whisk together, and let it sit so the chocolate flavor develops and it cools down a bit.

Step Three

Next add the organic grape seed oil, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, organic all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk well until the batter is smooth with no lumps. It will be the consistency of very thin pancake batter.

Step Four

Now add the white vinegar, and whisk together. It will start to bubble! Quickly add equal amounts of batter to each cupcake liner. Bake the cupcakes for 27 minutes (or until toothpick comes out of the middle clean).

Step Five

After baking, remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes, then remove to cool on the counter for at least another hour before frosting.

You can freeze the cupcakes in an airtight container and thaw out later too!

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Instructions

Step One

Add vegan butter sticks to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and beat for a few minutes until the butter is nice and fluffy.

Step Two

Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, begin to mix in on low and increase speed as the sugar gets mixed in, beat until it’s a nice smooth consistency.

Step Three

Frost the cupcakes once completely cooled. I left the frosted cupcakes out at room temperature and the frosting did not melt! If your room is hot store them in the fridge. You can also store the buttercream in an airtight container for later use, just bring to room temperature before you frost.

Optional Peanut Butter Vegan Buttercream Frosting!

You can also add in some peanut butter at the end to make a peanut butter frosting! I just eyeball about a tablespoon (add more or less depending on how strong you want the peanut butter flavor to be).

Optional Raspberry Vegan Buttercream Frosting

I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve read online you can add powdered dehydrated fruit like raspberries to create a raspberry flavored frosting, I’ll try this soon and let you know! Strawberries would be delicious too!

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, Dairy Free Cupcakes, Egg Free Cupcakes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 12 Cupcakes


  • 1 Cupcake Pan
  • 1 Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Stand Mixer
  • Silicone Cupcake Liners


  • 18 grams Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Cup Boiling Water
  • 1 tsp Espresso Powder
  • 1/3 Cup Grape Seed Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour check your flour label and weigh out in grams
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare the cup cake pan and liners. I like to coat the inside of each silicone liner with a little grape seed oil to help the cupcakes come out without sticking.
  • Add cocoa powder and espresso powder to the bowl, pour the boiling water over top, whisk together, and set aside for a few minutes for the cocoa to bloom (develop better taste). Let the mix cool a bit before the next step.
  • Now add the grape seed oil, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the cocoa mix and whisk well until no lumps.
  • Add the white vinegar and stir together. You will see the mix start to bubble! Quickly add equal amounts of batter to all 12 cupcake liners.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 27 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when dipped in the middle.
  • Let the cupcakes cool completely before icing.
  • For home use I'll just keep them in the silicone liners, it helps them stay a little fresher I think. If you are taking them to a potluck or party, you could bake them in non-toxic paper cupcake liners, or just remove them from the liners, place on a tray, and then add the frosting.

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream
Stable at room temperature vegan vanilla buttercream! Can add other flavors too!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert


  • 1 Stand Mixer with Paddle Attachment
  • 1 Spatula


  • 8 oz Earth Balance Vegan Stick Butter (2 small sticks from 4 pack)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar (add less or more depending on how sweet you like it)


  • Creamy Peanut Butter OR
  • Dehydrated fruit, like raspberry, ground into powder.


  • Add butter to stand mixer and cream until light and fluffy.
  • Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar.
  • OPTIONAL: Add Peanut Butter or Dehydrated Fruit Powder for optional flavors!
  • Mix with paddle until smooth and creamy. Scrape down sides with the spatula as needed.
  • Wait until cupcakes are completely cool before frosting!
  • Store unused frosting leftovers in airtight container in fridge, and bring to room temperature before using.

Thanks for reading! Let me know how it goes below or send me a message on the contact page! Happy Baking!

Thrive Market

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