Finally success! Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

I don't like failure. It took me three attempts to get here and I just about quit the second time. First of all, I have an excellent chocolate cupcake recipe. It's so good and fairly easy to make that I wouldn't know why I would even bother trying other recipes. The problem is it's not vegan. Not vegan in soooo many ways. For my vegan-wannabe husband and all the vegans out there, I thought I would give it one more try.

Okay, I know I'm going to sound like a total food snob after this post. The truth is I have been making a lot of cupcakes in the past year such as chocolate, vanilla, nutella, peanut butter, and red velvet cupcakes. Unless it's totally awesome, I just don't want to waste my time making it. To be fair, my bar was set pretty high before I tried my hands on vegan cupcakes. Since they were vegan, my expectations were pretty low but judging by how my husband reacted, my first two attempts at vegan chocolate cupcakes were failures.

In my first attempt, I browsed the Internet and found one called World's Best Vegan Chocolate Cupcake. When I made it I was hugely impressed by how light and moist it was. It wasn't very sweet though and didn't have a lot of taste. The cupcake left a funny aftertaste in my mouth. I think it was all the baking soda and baking powder in the recipe. A typical replacement for eggs in bakes is baking soda and vinegar so I could see why you would be able to taste this more. My husband's not so kind reaction to the cupcake was "No good. It's tastes like soap!" Ooookay.

For my second attempt, I thought I would try a trusted source. Sweetapolita is all about sweets and when I saw the site posted a vegan chocolate cupcake recipe, I knew I had to try it. If a professional known baker in the community can't get vegan chocolate cupcake right, then it's hopeless, right? Either that or my husband and I are the biggest cupcake snobs. Well, I made them and it was definitely an improvement. Only an improvement. It wasn't great either:( My husband said it still reminded him of soap but a bit less than the last ones. It's official, we're cupcake snobs!

I just didn't get it. From all the comments that I have read, even some non-vegans claimed that their favorite cupcakes were the vegan ones. Was I missing something? The lady behind Sweetopolita even said that she couldn't really tell the difference between the vegan and non-vegan cupcakes. I can honestly tell you that I can totally tell.

I said I was done with all this because there cannot possibly be any good vegan chocolate cupcakes out there. I was pretty convinced. Then I got a bit sad:( But really, I can only try so many different recipes, right? Like I mentioned above, I don't like failure. Today I felt a little ambitious. I browsed online for vegan chocolate cupcake recipes again and thought I would create something new from some of the so-called great ones. In particular, I thought the look of these Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting were adorable. I tried a similar frosting using the new Becel vegan margarine I recently bought. By the way, thank you Becel for making a margarine that is vegan but still the same price as the regular margarine. It was only $2.77 for the one pound tub at Walmart! Score :)

My third attempt at vegan chocolate cupcakes were (drum roll please.....) - a SUCCESS! The frosting was yummy and the cupcakes themselves were good. Together, it made a great cupcake. I am even convinced that I may be able to fool a lot of non-vegans with this one and it would be a hit. My husband's response? "OMG, these are good! They don't taste like soap at all." Lol. So there you have it, the cupcake snobs are now happy :)

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes
(Mainly adapted from Vegan Yack Attack)


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

1 cup yellow cane sugar
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract


1 cup vegan margarine
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1 to 1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Mix the first 4 ingredients and set aside. In a mixer, mix the rest of the ingredients. On low, slowly add the dry ingredients from the bowl you set aside until well combined. Do not over mix. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes. Cool.

For the frosting, combine everything but the icing sugar and beat well. Slowly add the icing sugar. After you add about 1 cup of icing sugar, beat at medium to high for a few minutes. If the frosting doesn't look thick enough to pipe, then add more icing sugar. Again beat high until frosting is smooth and looks thick. Pipe onto cool cupcakes and enjoy :)

We added crushed roasted almonds on top for fun :)


  1. ok now we're getting to the interesting stuff! these look sooo delicious, i wonder if the addition of the almond milk helped to make them moist. hope you'll share your awesome non-vegan cupcake recipe too!

  2. Hi again. Thanks for being such a gracious commenter on this blog:) If you try any recipes here, I would love to hear how it goes for you. Are you also on Twitter?

  3. i just tried a half recipe of the chocolate cupcakes, mine rose so well in the oven, thus they were super tender. definitely not dense like i was afraid of with some vegan recipes. i added a bit of instant coffee powder to boost the flavour and i used silk soy milk. my twitter is a one way street, all reading no tweeting!

  4. i forgot to say one of the best parts was licking the bowl, and not feeling weird about eating raw egg!! :))

  5. So glad you got to try it! Love success stories :)

    Licking the bowl? The cupcake batter doesn't have any egg. Did you make some non-vegan?

  6. oh no i meant, i could lick the bowl with vegan cupcake batter because it /doesn't/ contain egg. normally i always want to lick the bowl with non-vegan, but the thought that i'm consuming raw eggs weirds me out.

  7. Hi Susan,

    I made these today. They turned out really well. The whole family loved them. The cupcake itself was delicious. My wife liked the icing even more than non-vegan icing. Personally I found I could taste a small difference in the icing. Although definitely not in a bad way.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    1. You're very welcome Andrew! Happy to hear it turned out great for you :)


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