Recently my daughter celebrated her eighth birthday.
When I asked her what kind of treats she wanted to bring to school to celebrate with her classmates she said chocolate cupcakes.
Sounds easy enough, right? Not so much. Long gone are the days of bringing in a box of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, or even your average homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Everything requires teacher pre-approval and in my daughter’s small class, the teacher went down the line of the kids’ various dietary requirements: vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free.
Making cupcakes without butter is easy because I think oil keeps them softer and moister anyway. But no eggs was new for me and I was worried about the texture and them being too dense and not fluffy enough.
As I was about to bake them, I was still skeptical that they’d even turn out, and taste like chocolate cupcakes should with the proper texture.
I was pleasantly shocked when not only did the turn out, but they’re rich, wonderfully chocolaty, and the texture is incredible. Super soft, fluffy, light, springy, and perfectly moist.
Even if I don’t ‘need’ to make vegan cupcakes, this is my new go-to chocolate cupcake recipe because it’s fast, easy, and they tasted incredible.
You’re in luck if you ever happen to run out of milk, eggs, and butter all at once. Or have to make treats for a crowd with various dietary requirements. The recipe halves easily, too.
The Oreo cookies and cream frosting is truly the icing on the cupcake. Oreos are accidentally vegan and the crunchy texture breaks up the silky smooth buttercream beautifully. They add so much to the overall cupcake bliss factor.
My daughter said her class raved about the cupcakes and they secured the vote for best birthday treats of the school year. Having a baking blog and writingcookbooks apparently paid off.
Yield: about 22 cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Frosting
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
The cupcakes are rich, wonderfully chocolaty, super soft, fluffy, light, springy, and perfectly moist. The Oreo cookies and cream frosting is truly the icing on the cupcake. The crunchy texture breaks up the silky smooth buttercream beautifully and adds so much to the overall bliss factor. The cupcakes are vegan (dairy and egg-free) and peanut-free as written but you can use traditional milk and butter if you don’t need to keep them vegan. Even if I don’t ‘need’ vegan cupcakes, this is my new go-to chocolate cupcake recipe because they’re fast, easy, and incredible. The recipe halves easily.
2 cups non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk; real milk may be used but it isn’t vegan)
Cupcakes – Preheat oven to 350F and line two 12-count regular muffin pans with paper or foil liners. I made 22 cupcakes and you could probably get 24 from the batch if you fill them more shallow; and the recipe halves easily if you need 11-12 cupcakes. Set pans aside.
To a large bowl, add the milk, apple cider vinegar, stir, and set aside for about 5 minutes to curdle. It doesn’t get as thick as regular buttermilk and that’s okay.
While waiting for the milk, to a separate large bowl, add the sugar, oil, vanilla, and whisk a bit. Mixture is thick and granular.
Add the curdled milk to the sugar-oil mixture and whisk until smooth and combined; set aside.
To a separate large bowl, add the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and whisk to combine.
Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry, stirring until smooth and no large lumps remain. A few tiny lumps are okay. Don’t overmix because that can result in tough cupcakes.
Turn batter out into prepared muffin pans, filling each cavity to about 3/4-full.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter, and are domed and springy to the touch. Start watching closely and checking at 17-18 minutes since all ovens and climates vary; don’t overbake which is easy to do with dark-colored items.
Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Cupcakes can be made the night before or a day in advance if necessary and stored airtight at room temp before frosting them. After cupcakes have cooled completely they can be frosted.
Frosting – Makes enough to generously frost each cupcake (about 2 heaping tablespoons per cupcake) and any extra will keep airtight for weeks in the fridge. To a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer), add the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and beat on low speed for about 2 minutes before increasing to high speed and beating for about 3 minutes, or until very light and fluffy; set aside.
Roughly chop the Oreos. I chop by hand because I like some decent-sized pieces of Oreos rather than having them pulverized into crumbs which is what tends to happen all too quickly in the food processor.
Add the Oreos to the frosting and mix on low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Frost each cupcake with a generous dollop of frosting. I used my 2-tablespoon cookie scoop but you can experiment with what works best. Cupcakes are best fresh, and I am okay with storing frosted cupcakes at room temp for a day or two but if you’re not, store airtight in the fridge, noting cupcakes will dry out much quicker in the fridge than at room temp.
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originally published March 6, 2015 — last updated May 18, 2020
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