This is our absolute favourite chocolate cupcake recipe. One time, when I was very young, someone made a deep, dark chocolate cake and there was a perfect, thin layer of maple frosting on it. Since that day, I have dreamed of replicating that dessert. I’ve been using this chocolate cupcake recipe for a while now, but I wanted to give it its own dedicated recipe because it deserves it. Chocolatey doesn’t do it justice. Moist and airy, nostalgically deep and dark and perfect in every way, you don’t need another chocolate cupcake recipe.
The magic texture is a fascinating chemical reaction between the acidic cocoa powder, baking soda, the hot coffee and vinegar. As though a little volcano was making perfect bubbles in this fantastic cake. Please take note that the cake is not dense enough be used in any context other than cupcakes, so don’t try a layer cake! It’ll collapse on itself. Trust me, I’ve done it more than once. Perfect chocolate layer cake will have to wait for another day.
The Best Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from this recipe
2 cups all purpose flour (gluten-free one; use brown as the rice flour component)
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot espresso, or hot brewed coffee
1 cup canola oil, or other neutral oil such as sunflower
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon egg replacer + 1/2 cup water, mixed well
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 F. Prepare a muffin tin with liners. In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until very well combined. The batter will be relatively thin, but it should look dark and make ripples when you lift the spoon out of the batter. Fill each liner with about 2/3 full. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake bounces back at your light touch. Cool on baking racks for a few minutes, before carefully turning over and cooling completely.
3/4 cup non-dairy margarine, softened
2 to 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 to 5 cups icing sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons non-dairy milk, if needed
Using a hand, or stand, mixer, beat the non-dairy margarine on medium speed, for several minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, beat to combine. Add the vanilla and 1/2 cup more powdered sugar and beat again to combine. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar, tasting as you go along until it is where you like it. Add an additional tablespoon of maple syrup and the non-dairy milk, if needed. Pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes in desired shape.