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.
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.
- 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)
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350ºF and line cupcake pan.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 22-26 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, make the two frostings.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, put both frositngs in a piping bag, and frost nice swirls of frosting on the cupcakes.