Vegan Gluten/Dairy-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

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by Michelle Jewell

Let me preface this recipe by saying I love sweets, chocolate especially. I mean LOVE. Sweets are my vice; I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, but, I could probably use a 12-step program for chocolate. So, now that we’re all on the same page about my sugar addiction, it probably comes as no surprise that I’ve never jumped onto the super-healthy-eating bandwagon with both feet. I definitely eat better now than I did when I was younger and without a family, but sugar and carbs are my friends and they’ve been with me a long time, so I’m not about to kick them to the curb.

I am, however, always open to finding ways to improve my diet as long as I don’t feel deprived. After joining a dance company last year, I realized that there are some tweaks I could make that would be beneficial to my waistline and my overall health. Many of my fellow dancers are young and eat very clean and healthy. A number of them are vegetarian, vegan, have food allergies or prefer not to eat gluten or carbs. When we have a potluck, there’s always plenty of nutritious food. But, I’m still the perennial dessert-bringer to all functions, and I really don’t want to have anyone feel left out because they can’t savor the yumminess. Knowing my audience, I decided to search out some alternatives that will check all the boxes for everyone: healthier, restrictive-diet acceptable, and delicious.

The recipe for these chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream that are vegan and gluten/dairy-free downright blew my mind! Honestly, in a blind taste-test, I’m not sure I would’ve known the difference between this cupcake and a “regular” one except that maybe the vegan one is just a touch less sweet. My husband and daughter agreed. These cupcakes are rich, chocolaty, moist and just as yummy as any normal cupcake you’ll put in your mouth. Try them! I can promise you that you’ll be surprised in the most delicious way!

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 22-25 minutes Makes: 12-14

Ingredients

Cupcakes

1 ½ Cups Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour Blend

½ Cup Cocoa Powder

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1 ¼ Tsp. Baking Soda

½ Tsp. Salt

1 Cup Soy Milk (or other non-dairy milk such as almond milk)

2 Tsp. Vanilla

½ Cup Canola Oil (or other light oil – extra virgin olive oil will work as well)

1 Tbsp. White Vinegar

1 Prepared Egg Substitute (I use Bob’s Red Mill Egg Substitute) or 1 Flax Egg

Buttercream

1/3 Cup Vegan Butter (I used Earth Balance)

½ Cup Cocoa Powder

3 Cups Powdered Sugar

2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

4 ½ Tbsp. Soy Milk (or other non-dairy milk)

½ Cup Organic Chocolate Chips, melted

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a cupcake pan or line with cupcake wrappers.

Prepare the egg substitute according to the directions on the package (1 Tbsp substitute + 2 Tbsp water), and let stand while you prepare the batter.

Sift the flour and cocoa into a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the brown sugar, baking soda and salt and mix together.

Add the soy milk, vanilla, oil and vinegar and whisk until combined and smooth. Don’t overmix, just mix until everything is combined.

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Add the egg substitute or flax egg and mix until combined and no large lumps are visible. Small ones are fine.

Fill each cupcake liner three quarters full and bake for 22 to 25 minutes. They’re done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

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While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the buttercream.

Beat vegan butter with a hand mixer for 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and soy milk and beat on low to medium speed until creamy. Add the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. You may need to alternately add more powdered sugar and/or soy milk to reach the sweetness and texture you prefer. It should be very creamy and velvety when done.

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When the cupcakes are done, cool on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes to the race and cool completely before frosting with the buttercream.

Enjoy!

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