Easy, moist (vegan) chocolate cupcakes

This might just be the world's simplest, moistest chocolate cupcake recipe, and vegan to boot! Use your favorite frosting to top these cupcakes, or choose from the list below. 

By , Garden of Eating

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    This recipe makes 10 regular-sized, or 12 small cupcakes. For a layer cake double the recipe and use two 8-inch cake pans.
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I am not a vegan and the fact that these cupcakes are is purely coincidence. But it's definitely a happy coincidence for those of you who are vegans 'cause these suckers are good!

I was looking for an easy, moist, not too intensely chocolatey cupcake recipe to make for my son's fourth birthday last week. I read a lot of different recipes before I hit on this one from Simply Recipes. It sounded perfect – simple, moist, and not too rich for my little guy's young taste buds.

This recipe reminds me of the first cake I ever baked as a kid (of course it was chocolate). I must have been about 9 or 10 and I remember it because the cake recipe in my kids' cookbook called for vinegar which struck me as odd even then. But it totally works!

Recommended: Brownie bonanza: A collection of brownies, blondies, and bars

It's no accident that this type of recipe was in a kids baking cookbook – the recipe is so simple and easy that a child can make it. No eggs to crack and beat, no butter to soften or melt – all you need to do is measure and mix!

I think the coffee in the recipe is essential to the flavor so don't skip it although you can use decaf if you're worried about the caffeine (I really would not worry about it unless you know from past experience that you're extremely sensitive to caffeine in baked goods).

I've included links to some frosting recipes (including a vegan option) below but I have not tested any of these. I would include my own frosting recipe but I don't use an actual recipe – I usually just melt chocolate chips, butter, a little heavy cream, confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract in a double boiler and whisk until it's smooth, adding what always feels like a shocking amount of powdered sugar throughout the process. 

One note on the yield, Elise's recipe says it makes 12 cupcakes but I've made it twice now (it's that good!) and I feel that 12 is a little optimistic unless you want pretty small cupcakes. Ten is probably more realistic if you're shooting for a normal-sized cupcake.

But I've nattered on quite long enough. Without further ado, I give you the world's simplest, moistest chocolate cupcake recipe. And vegan to boot!

(recipe on next page)

Easy, moist (vegan) chocolate cupcakes 
Via Simply Recipes
Makes 10 cupcakes (or 12 fairly small ones) – if you want to make a cake, double the recipe and cook in two 8-inch round cake pans for 35-40 minutes
Ingredients

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup organic cane sugar (I use vanilla sugar – it adds an extra yum factor)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup of medium strength brewed coffee 

1 teaspoon white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) olive oil

Unbleached cupcake liners (I prefer to use unbleached paper liners as I suspect some of the bleach must get transferred to the wet batter as it heats up.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners (you can also grease the tin instead but the liners are definitely easier and will prevent anything from sticking.)

2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until there are no visible clumps. If you've got particularly clumpy cocoa or sugar, you can always sift the dry ingredients into the bowl, too.

3. In a small to medium-sized bowl, mix together the coffee (or water plus coffee granules), vinegar, vanilla extract, and olive oil.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just to combine (mixture will be rather lumpy.) 

5. Ladle the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about two-thirds of the way full. Put in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

6. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a rack. Once cool, frost with the frosting of your choice and serve.

A few frosting options if you don't have one you like already (but please note that I haven't tried these recipes):

Vanilla frosting with a whipped cream-like consistency

Cinnamon cream cheese frosting

Buttercream frosting (fair warning: the recipe calls for 4 sticks of butter and 2 pounds of sugar just to frost 24 cupcakes or one 9-inch cake)

Vegan Coconut Icing

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of food bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs and their recipes. All readers are free to make ingredient substitutions to satisfy their dietary preferences, including not using wine (or substituting cooking wine) when a recipe calls for it. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

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