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My “go-to” chocolate cupcake recipe

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This is a chocolate-covered blog

Yet, up until a few weeks ago, it included neither a recipe for chocolate brownies nor one for chocolate cupcakes. Some chocolate blog!

Last month, I took on the brownies: Ultimate Fudge Brownies.

(Side note: I wish I’d created those brownies a long time ago! They’re so fudgey and chocolatey that they have quickly turned into one of my absolute favorite desserts.) Today it’s time to tackle the cupcakes.

healthy chocolate cupcakes

These cupcakes are so soft and fluffy! No one will ever guess they’re healthy.

They’d also be really good with some Cashew Butter Frosting.

Chocoholic Cupcakes

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup flour (I used white-whole-wheat. You can use white or spelt.)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar or evaporated cane juice (see note below, for sugar-free version)
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt of choice (such as SoDelicious)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 3 tbsp coconut or canola/veg oil (See note below, for a fat-free option)
  • optional: add a few handfuls chocolate chips to the batter!
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients, then add wet. Don’t overmix. Pour into cupcake tins, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

I put in 3/4 cup sugar, because these cupcakes were being served to people who are used to standard cupcakes. However, if you prefer a less-sweet baked good, or if you want more of a chocolate muffin, feel free to cut back on the amount of sugar. If you like the taste of stevia-sweetened baked goods, you can use 5 Nunatural stevia packs, or a combination of sugar and stevia. These cupcakes might work with liquid sweetener: just cut back on the other liquid a little bit.

Notes about the oil:

You can leave out the oil completely if you want to make these cupcakes even lower in fat and calories. Add extra applesauce in the amount of the oil. However, do know that the cupcakes will taste much less light and fluffy. I opted to use some oil for a few reasons: First, I believe healthy fats are extremely important to our bodies. Also, my recipes are healthier versions of traditional recipes, not necessarily low-calorie versions. And finally… taste! Fat-free baked goods can sometimes be gummy. So to those of you who are watching your fat intakes: Leaving the oil in only adds about 3 grams of fat (healthy fat) to each cupcake.

vegan chocolate cupcakes

Have you ever made cupcakes?
And do you like to decorate cupcakes?

I’ve made everything from penguins to Mermaid Cupcakes.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. I love your chocolate cupcakes! Look absolutely divine! Thanks again! 😀

  2. Yumm chocolate cupcakes are one of my favorites!
    I make them all the time for my friends, and they can’t tell that they are eating vegan cupcakes! :)

  3. I love making cupcakes but I never have the patience for them to cool before I frost haha. Decorating cupcakes can be so fun!!
    Oh, PS… I’m going to be making my sisters wedding cake in May… any decorating tips for me :)

    1. Oh wow, that’s a huge task! I’d be nervous that I’d mess it up lol.
      Decorating tips… hmm, just have fun! I’m sure it’s going to look awesome!!

  4. Allie says:

    Yum! Those cupcakes look so clear and sharp. How do you get your photos so sharp?

    1. I take all my photos in manual or aperture priotity mode. But I also sharpen them, post-processing!

  5. I DO like to make and decorate cupcakes! ….I think that cute little liners are SO fun and then throwing some sprinkles on top makes the world a better place! :)
    This recipe looks awesome, thanks for sharing!

    1. Sarah C says:

      The fun liners are my favorite things! I love how they make polka dot ones and hot pink ones and even snowman ones now!

  6. Sarahishealthy says:

    Shut the door!!! I have been looking for a healthy chocolate cupcake recipe! You READ my mind, CCK!!!! Thank you!

  7. tea-bag says:

    i’ve made more cupcakes than i care to remember! i like doing the frosting thing, but sometimes all they need is a dusting of powdered sugar! still, sometimes it’s nice to do something different – marshmallow s’more frosting, or white frosting w/ oreo dusting!

  8. I get soo soo excited when you post amazing recipes…which is like every day!! thanks :) these look of course amazing!!

    1. Awwww thank you so much, Lauren! :)

  9. Ragnhild says:

    These are so beautiful 😀
    I have to admit, Im much more of a cupcake-maker, than an eater. They are fun to bake, and so pretty. But to cakey for me! I would rather bit into a plain dark chocolate bar 😉

    1. Yeah, me too! I actually don’t like chocolate cake! I want my chocolate to taste dark and rich and creamy, not cake-y. But it’s good to have a go-to cupcake recipe anyway :).

  10. Jenny says:

    I’ve made and decorated plenty of cupcakes in the past, when I was in high school… none of them were ever healthy, since I was always serving a crowd of people that loved just about everything that was super unhealthy!

    I wonder if incorporating black beans into these cupcakes somehow would make them fudgey like the brownies?! Or I guess I could just make the brownies in a muffin tin, d’oh…

    Decorating is super fun, but I actually hate eating frosting [which is usually involved, but not always, of course]… I’m not much of a cupcake fan, either – like Ragnhild said as well! I guess the number one way I enjoy chocolate is the same as my favourite way to enjoy blueberries: straight-up, plain. :)

    1. Hmmm… that sounds like a fun experiment! Maybe pureed black beans in place of some of the yogurt or applesauce?

  11. Lisa C. says:

    Please can you write a cookbook? Please please please????????

  12. We are all addicted to your Single Lady Cupcakes in this house and usually make them at least once a week. We even have the Single Lady Cupcake Ramekins devoted strictly to baking these particular cupcakes. I like to put chocolate chips and cinnamon in mine, my 5 year old likes hers with strawberry preserves and vanilla, and my husband usually wants peanut butter and white chocolate chips in his. We don’t usually decorate them because we can’t wait long enough for them to cool before we eat them!

    1. Sarah C says:

      Oh yes, agreed! Eating is more fun than decorating. I love getting cute liners and maybe fun colored frosting. But I’m never patient enough to actually decorate them!

    2. LOL single lady ramekins! Too cute!

  13. Emily says:

    I love decorating cupcakes! But mine are never works of art like yours. I would love to try fondant someday, but I still haven’t yet.
    Those seaside cupcakes are adorable!

  14. Amber K says:

    I actually don’t think I have ever made cupcakes. Muffins yes, banana bread, but never a good cupcake. Hmm…I wonder if it is even possible to make a gluten-free, xanthan gum-free cupcake? Sounds like a possibly tasty experiment!

    1. Maybe with Bob’s gluten-free mix? I’ve never used it, but I’ve heard it works really well for gluten-free items… but I’ve never looked at the ingredients, so maybe xantham gum is in there!

      1. Amber K says:

        Their all-purpose flour doesn’t have xanthan gum in it, although I haven’t been too successful in baking with it. Although I do feel lucky that my husband and I don’t mind the taste! A lot of people can’t stand the bean flour taste.

        1. I just use rice flour instead for GF baking… you don’t need xanthan gum, especially for little cakes, and they taste great!

          1. Amber K says:

            I’ll have to try that. Thank you! :)

  15. Sarah C says:

    I’m bookmarking this, Katie. It sounds like the perfect healthy recipe that doesn’t call for all sorts of weird ingredients. That’s what I love most about your recipes :).

  16. I LOVE making cupcakes. And decorating them is fun… except for the fact that I have no artistic ability and am absolutley horrible at decorating cupcakes!

    But honestly, cake is so good by itself, I prefer eating it alone :)

  17. Lisa says:

    these look good- wtith vanilla frosting, mmm!!!
    can I replace anything with cornstarch? maybe xanthan gum or something? and I still totally have to get that stevia! I tried a different brand and did not like the results :( haha

  18. Lauren says:

    I LOVE decorating cupcakes! Sprinkles are the best! This recipe looks great. A keeper for sure :).

  19. Liz says:

    Saw this on twitter and had to click. I am a sucker for cupcakes, especially chocolate ones. I don’t really take the time to decorate them, because I don’t really like frosting. It is too sweet for me. But I love your single lady cupcakes because you can make just one. Just wondering, have you done a chocolate single lady cupcake yet?

  20. Leslie says:

    Mmm I want to sink my teeth into that first photo. I love how your recipes are always so simple, without crazy ingredients like xantham gum or obscure flours. It makes it much easier to actually make the recipe as soon as I see it, without having to go out to the store first and buy things I’m only going to use for one recipe.

    In other words, I’ll be making these today! Or, well, maybe as soon as I have an occasion for which to make cupcakes. I don’t think I need eight cupcakes hanging around my house! 😉