Rich and decadent vegan chocolate cupcakes, that you would never believe are plant based! This easy recipe comes together in one bowl (no mixer required!) and each moist and flavorful cupcake is topped with swirls of light and fluffy chocolate peanut butter frosting.
for the chocolate cupcakes:
1–1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour¹
2/3 cup (64g) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1–1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (144g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (106g) (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (120g) olive oil
1–1/3 cups (315g) water or coffee, at room-temperature
2 tsp (10g) pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp (14g) apple cider vinegar
for the vegan peanut butter chocolate buttercream:
2 oz (55g) bittersweet chocolate (60-80% cacao),² chopped
2 cups (240g) confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted as needed
1/4 cup (24g) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup (113g) vegan butter,³ softened
1/4 cup (66g) creamy peanut butter
1 tsp (5g) pure vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt, to taste
1 Tbsp non-dairy milk³, as needed
optional: chocolate peanut butter hearts, mini peanut butter cups, sprinkles or nonpareils, for decorating
for the chocolate cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 ℉. Line two muffin tins with 16 paper liners.⁵ Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sugars, until combined. Add the olive oil, water, and vanilla, and whisk until well combined. Drizzle the vinegar over the top. It should react, light and frothy, as you stir it into the batter, until just combined.
Use a cookie scoop to divide the batter between your prepared pans. It will be fairly thin. Bake each muffin pan individually for 21-23 minutes, until the cupcake tops are barely puffed, and a cake tester inserted into the center of each comes out mostly clean.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then carefully transfer to a baking rack to cool completely before frosting.
for the peanut butter chocolate buttercream: Melt the chopped chocolate in the microwave or using a double-boiler. Set aside to cool.
In a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, softened butter, and peanut butter on low speed until the sugar is incorporated. Then turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Turn the mixer off, drizzle in the melted chocolate, vanilla, and salt, and beat again on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the milk as needed until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. It should be fluffy and spreadable, but hold its shape on the cupcakes.
When the cupcakes have cooled completely, use a piping bag to decorate the cupcakes with swirls of frosting. Top each with a mini peanut butter cup and sprinkles. Enjoy!!
¹ I’m in the process of testing this cake with a cup-for-cup gluten free all-purpose flour blend. Will report back with my results!
² Most of the flavor of the buttercream comes from the chocolate, so use your best! The confectioners sugar in the frosting will balance out most of the bitterness in the chocolate, so a very dark, bittersweet chocolate works well.
³ I used Earth Balance (soy free) vegan butter to keep the frosting vegan to match the cake. However, you can use regular unsalted butter and cow’s milk or cream for a traditional buttercream as well.
⁴ Unfrosted, the cupcakes will stay moist for 2-3 days if tightly covered.
Keywords: vegan chocolate cupcakes, peanut butter chocolate frosting, easy, one bowl, vegan baking, egg free