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+ servings

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Yields: 12 servings


For the cupcakes

  • 2 cups / 240 g unbleached, all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/2 cup / 50 g cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons / 170 g cane sugar or coconut sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups / 10 fluid oz. cold water
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider or white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Ugandan Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 cup / 2.66 fluid oz. neutral vegetable oil (such as safflower, grapeseed, canola, or refined avocado)

For the creamy peanut butter frosting

  • 8 tablespoons / 115 g vegan butter of choice, at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons / 130 g smooth, creamy peanut butter at room temperature (for the icing to work, it has to be very smooth, so avoid a natural brand that tends toward any grittiness or separation)
  • 2 cups / 240 g powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tablespoon / 0.5 fluid oz. non-dairy milk of choice (more as needed)


  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly oil or line a muffin/cupcake baking sheet. To prepare the cake, whisk the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, vinegar, vanilla and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until batter is shiny and smooth (a few tiny lumps is OK, but do mix until the mixture looks glossy).*
  • Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until the cupcakes have firm tops and a toothpick inserted into one of them emerges clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack and allow them to cool entirely before decorating.
  • To prepare the icing, place the butter and peanut butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the vanilla and sugar. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, until you have a smooth mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a spatula and swap the paddle attachment for the whisk attachment.
  • Mix again on low speed, drizzling in the tablespoon of non-diary milk as you go. The icing should stay thick and spreadable but become creamy and loose enough to be able to pipe
    smoothly. If you need an extra drop or two of non-dairy milk, use your judgment and add it.**
  • Follow the “Better Your Bake” video instructions for preparing a piping bag and decorate your cupcakes. Alternately, you can decorate by hand. Iced cupcakes can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Enjoy!


* This cupcake batter can also be made with a liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup. Omit the sugar and reduce the water to 1 cup total. Add 1 cup syrup to the wet ingredients and proceed. The finished cupcakes will be slightly denser, but they'll still rise nicely and taste delicious!
**If you don't have a stand mixer, mix with a hand-held beater on low speed to incorporate all ingredients except for the non-dairy milk. Then add the milk and whisk by hand (using a regular whisk) to finish the icing.