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Chocolate-Orange Halloween Cupcakes

Posted on by Alisa Fleming in Dairy Free Desserts with 12 Comments

Several years ago, I featured Sakura’s Chocolate Orange Halloween Cupcakes. Sakura was a vegan food blogger, but she has since moved onto new things and closed the virtual doors on her blog. However, her Halloween cupcakes recipe lives on, and it seemed like a perfect blast-from-the-past treat to feature once again.

Vegan Chocolate Orange Halloween Cupcakes with Dairy-Free Swirl Frosting

Not only are chocolate and orange a perfect flavor match, but they also suit the colors of the Halloween motif quite nicely (especially with a drop or two of natural orange food coloring for a little hue boost – see my note below). This recipe uses the magic of orange not only in the vegan Halloween cupcakes themselves, but also in the unique frosting. The topping is a swirl of orange and chocolates frostings side by side, almost like soft-serve ice cream, only richer and dairy-free!

If you are concerned that I have sprung this recipe on you a bit too late for your party planning, have no fear. This is the ultimate last minute recipe, using everyday pantry items, and oh yes, it is perfect for your nut-free, egg-free, and soy-free guests too!

Natural Orange Food Coloring Note: Sakura opted to go with a faint orange color in the vegan frosting of her Halloween cupcakes. Using the optional orange zest will also add a little festive orange. For a slightly punchier orange hue, you can use carrot juice instead of orange juice. The flavor will be slightly different, but still sweet and tasty. For a professional touch, forgo the artificial food dyes for natural food coloring brands like India Tree.

Chocolate-Orange Vegan Halloween Cupcakes
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Recipe and photo by Sakura, and originally shared with us from her vegan baking blog.
Serves: 12 cupcakes

  • ¾ Cup Non-Dairy Milk (rice, soy, coconut, almond, etc. – your choice)
  • ¼ Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¾ Cup Granulated White Sugar
  • ⅓ Cup Canola Oil
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ⅓ Cup Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Orange Zest
  • ⅛ Cup + ¼ Cup Dairy-Free Margarine, divided (try select Earth Balance varieties for soy-free)
  • ½ Cup + 1 Cup Powdered Sugar, divided
  • ½ Tablespoon Orange Juice
  • Orange Zest, optional
  • ¼ Cup Cocoa Powder
  • Non-Dairy Milk, as needed (rice, soy, coconut, almond, etc. – your choice)

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350ºF and line cupcake pan.
  2. Whisk the non-dairy milk, orange juice and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.
  3. Beat together the non-dairy milk mixture, oil, sugar, and orange zest. Sift in the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and soda and mix until no large lumps remain.
  4. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 22-26 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a cooling rack.
  6. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the two frostings.
  7. For the light / orange frosting, beat ⅛ cup margarine until fluffy. Add ½ cup sifted powdered sugar and beat again. Add ½ T orange juice and a little bit orange zest continue beating until fluffy.
  8. For the dark/chocolate frosting, beat ¼ cup margarine until fluffy. Add ¼ cup sifted (unsweetened) cocoa powder and beat again. Add about 1 cup sifted powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time) and beat again. Add non-dairy milk if necessary.
  9. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, put both frositngs in a piping bag, and frost nice swirls of frosting on the cupcakes.

About Alisa Fleming

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

View all posts by Alisa Fleming →

Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living


  1. RickiOctober 14, 2012 at 2:23 pmReply

    These sound totally fabulous–and I LOVE that two-toned frosting! Such a great idea. And YUM.

  2. Brooke BernardOctober 14, 2012 at 5:46 pmReply

    I so love that you shared with readers how to add natural, fake food dye-free color to these! Who cares if the cupcake is vegan if you top it with petroleum, after all?! Looks like a fabulous recipe! Thank you!

  3. Chocolate-Orange Vegan Cupcakes - All Things CupcakeOctober 14, 2012 at 6:55 pmReply

    […] to go dairy-free for your Halloween cupcakes?  These sound very tasty.  I have always loved the chocolate-orange combination, and orange and black just […]

  4. Shirley @ gfeOctober 14, 2012 at 7:30 pmReply

    There needs to be a gluten-free version of these! Just sayin’. ;-)


    • Alisa FlemingOctober 14, 2012 at 7:46 pmReplyAuthor

      I know! I thought about adding a gf suggestion, but since they don’t have eggs, I didn’t want to go out on a limb! GF always takes more testing when egg-free.

      • LindaOctober 14, 2012 at 9:04 pmReply

        Would love to know your “almost-vegan” gf version using eggs! Thank you!!

    • SabrinaOctober 14, 2012 at 8:41 pmReply

      I second the GF option too! :) I’m going to play with it and see IF it will turn out.

  5. Sara SawochkaOctober 15, 2012 at 5:54 amReply

    Thank you so much for the delicious recipe. I can’t wait to try it!

  6. Black Bean Savory Cupcakes” with Whipped Sweet Potato Frosting RecipeOctober 17, 2012 at 10:29 amReply

    […] in the week, many of you ooh-ed and aaah-ed about this enticing Chocolate-Orange Halloween Cupcake Recipe. Those are amazing, but Halloween isn’t just about sweets. No, really, it isn’t! You […]

  7. JoanneOctober 18, 2012 at 4:17 amReply

    Chocolate and orange is one flavor combo I’ve never really explored. But what better time than NOW…and with these cupcakes!

    • Alisa FlemingOctober 18, 2012 at 7:25 amReplyAuthor

      Wow, I thought you had explored EVERY flavor combo Joanne!!

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