These vegan chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream are decorated with piped roses, making them the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day. The cupcakes are rich yet light and fluffy – no one will be able to tell these cupcakes are both egg free and dairy free!
This recipe was originally published in Feb 2018 and has been updated with new photos and content and a slight tweak to the recipe to make the cupcakes just that little bit more delicious!
This recipe is a fun mashup of two of my favourite recipes, my ultimate vegan chocolate cupcakes and my best vegan vanilla buttercream. I thought it would be fun to combine the rich, decadent chocolate cupcakes with a swirl of creamy vanilla buttercream to get the best of both worlds.
This buttercream pipes like a dream, making it the perfect option to decorate these cupcakes as beautiful roses. This effect is so much simpler than you might think and all comes down to having the right tool for the job!
The result is that these cupcakes combine the two traditional gifts of roses and chocolates making these the perfect way to share the love this Valentine’s day, or really any other day of the year. Because when is an edible bouquet not a wonderful gift?
I love this recipe because I can share it with people who have allergies or intolerances or choose to eat a vegan diet and therefore always seem to miss out on the most delicious foods. Also anyone who does eat dairy and eggs won’t even realise these are without!
They are truly my favourite cupcake recipe (big call I know, but for real!).
These cupcakes are so easy to make using regular pantry ingredients – no weird vegan substitutes here!
- Almond milk – this is my preference for baking cakes as I find it gives them a beautifully light texture, but you can replace this with any dairy-free milk. I tend to use oat or soy pretty interchangeably.
- White vinegar – this gets added to the dairy-free milk to create a ‘buttermilk’ which is a key ingredient in these vegan cupcakes as it causes a chemical reaction with the bicarbonate of soda to give the cake lift and ensure they are light and fluffy.
- Canola oil – another key ingredient for vegan baking, the oil binds the batter together but also gives a tender crumb meaning the cake will be soft and not dense. You could use coconut oil instead but I prefer a flavourless oil.
- White sugar
- Vanilla – always add vanilla to chocolate cakes as it will enhance the richness of the chocolate flavour.
- Plain flour + Self raising flour – I’ve been making these cupcakes for years and have always used a combination of these two flours and absolutely love the results, however if you can use all plain flour (all purpose flour in the US) and simply increase the baking powder by ½ a teaspoon to replace the leavener in the SRF.
- Cocoa powder – always use a good quality cocoa powder for the best flavour.
- Baking powder + bicarbonate of soda – we’re using a combination of both in this recipe as they play a different role in ensuring the cupcakes rise correctly and we get a light and fluffy cupcake that is insanely delicious.
I say it every time but I love cupcakes so much because they are so easy to make. They are quick and don’t require too much skill compared to a layer cake but yet taste incredible and look super impressive.
For the cupcakes themselves you’ll just need a couple of mixing bowls, whisk, rubber spatula and a muffin/cupcake pan.
Start by making your ‘buttermilk’ in the small bowl by adding the white vinegar to the almond milk and giving it a mix. It will curdle and look a bit weird but that’s fine!
Next, in a medium bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and use your whisk to aerate them and combine them all together. It’s important to do this step so that the leaveners are evenly dispersed in the batter without you needing to overmix the batter itself.
In your large mixing bowl, add the canola oil, sugar and vanilla extract and whisk together until combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the oil mixture, alternating with the milk until a thick batter forms. Once it comes together, stop mixing as overmixing will create a dense cupcake.
Line your pan with cupcake liners and then spoon in the mixture. Each liner should be about ¾ full. Place into a preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool on a wire rack completely before frosting. It’s important to let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack rather than in the pan as the residual heat from the pan can continue to cook the cupcakes.
Once the cupcakes are cooled, you’ll need to make a batch of vegan vanilla buttercream frosting.
Then comes the fun part – the decorating!
How to pipe buttercream roses
For these cupcakes, I wanted them to resemble a bouquet of pink roses so I tinted the buttercream pink using a combination of fuchsia and super red Americolor gel food colouring until I got a colour I liked.
To pipe the roses, I used a Wilton 1M piping tip. Once you have the tip fitted, you just start in the middle and gently swirl the frosting out to create the beautiful roses. You won’t believe just how easy these are to create once you get the correct tip!
Also remember that practice really does pay off, so if you’re not happy with them or feel like they don’t look how you wanted, just keep trying. You can always scrape off the icing and try again!
More vegan cupcake recipes:
Vegan Chocolate Rose Cupcakes
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- ¾ cup plain flour
- ½ cup self raising flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the vegan vanilla buttercream
- ½ cup (125 grams) dairy-free butter
- 3-4 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon almond milk
- salt to taste
- pink gel food colouring optional
- Preheat oven to 180°C and line a muffin tin with 12 patty cases / cupcake liners.
- In a small bowl, mix together the white vinegar and almond milk. It will split and curdle but this is ok! Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the plain flour, self raising flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the canola oil, sugar and vanilla until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the oil and sugar mixture, alternating with the milk until the batter just comes together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Spoon mixture into patty cases ensuring they are only ¾ full before placing them in the oven for 18 minutes or until they spring back when lightly touched. Remove from the pan and set aside on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the Vegan Vanilla Buttercream
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, beat dairy-free butter for 1-2 minutes until creamy.
- Add in 3 cups of icing sugar and beat on medium until combined. As mixture thickens, add in vanilla and almond milk. If frosting is too thin, add in an extra ½-1 cup of icing sugar until it reaches the right consistency. Add pinch of salt to taste if frosting is too sweet.
- Add the food colouring to the frosting and mix through until the desired colour is reached. Place the frosting in a piping bag with a piping tip attached (for the roses, I used the Wilton 1M tip) and pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes, starting from the inside and working out.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.