Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (or Cake)

Birthday time again. And while my go-tos are black bean brownies and chocolate zucchini cake, the birthday girl requested something different, though still chocolate. So I returned to a chocolate cake recipe my friend Valerie made for us years ago. She made this gorgeous parfait thing with this vegan chocolate cake, tart cherries and whipped cream. Mmmmm. I knew she'd used a recipe from her favored Joy of Cooking, so I got out mine.

Fortunately, the recipe works extremely well with home-milled 100% whole wheat flour and converts to cupcakes perfectly. Even better, a small friend of ours with some food allergies was able to eat the cupcakes with no special modifications!

The only other change I made to the recipe was to add some mini chocolate chips. Those Enjoy Life ones are great because they are free of the most common allergens.

Each batch made a baker's dozen cupcakes. I put the extra in a greased glass ramekin and the family use it as a tester to make sure they were edible.

This recipe is extremely forgiving. The second time we made it, we accidentally added baking powder instead of baking soda. I compensated by adding an extra 1/2 tsp of soda to make sure we'd get enough reaction with the vinegar. The second batch was lighter in color but equally tasty and a bit fluffier in texture.

Converted the dry ingredients to grams in 2021 for greater ease in measuring.

Note that you can easily make this gluten-free by using gluten-free 1:1 flour at the same weight as the wheat flour

210 g soft white berries (or 1 1/2 cups all-purpose or whole-wheat pastry flour)
225 g sugar
50 g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. cold water
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 TBSP distilled white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
1 c. mini chocolate chips, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin and one additional ramekin with liners or grease 
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. Whisk in the wet ingredients one at a time, scraping the bowl and mixing til smooth
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips
  5. Portion out into the muffin cups--I filled mine 3/4 full
  6. Bake starting at 20 minutes then test. If a skewer comes out clean with maybe a few moist crumbs clinging to it, they're done
  7. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack then decorate as desired. We used a blueberry version of our new favorite fruity whipped cream from Serious Eats