This enticing recipe for vegan mint chocolate cupcakes was shared with us many, many years ago by Rae, a former blogger at Bunnyfoot. It is slightly adapted from her favorite recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Today we’re updating this recipe – just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy the green hue and minty flavor for spring, at Christmas-time, or for birthdays and celebrations!
What’s the Difference between Natural, Black, and Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powders?
Chocolate liquor, the cocoa paste from cocoa beans, is pressed to separate the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids. The solids are then refined to create cocoa powder. That cocoa powder is called Natural Cocoa Powder. Here is a quick low down on natural cocoa powder versus the two types of Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
- Natural Cocoa Powder has a deep chocolate flavor, but is also quite bitter, due to its acidity. That acidity reacts with baking soda (an alkali) to help leaven your batter, and the reaction removes much of the bitterness. You can find natural cocoa powder from brands like Hershey’s, Scharffen Berger, Ghirardelli Unsweetened, and Anthony’s.
- Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize the acids ahead of time. It’s darker, sweeter, and less bitter than natural cocoa powder. But because the acidity is removed from Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder, it doesn’t react with baking soda to help leaven, and it doesn’t neutralize the taste of the baking soda. Popular brands of Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder include Hershey’s Special Dark, Whole Foods 365, Anthony’s Culinary, and Ghirardelli Majestic.
- Black Cocoa Powder is Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder that has been highly alkalized to make it even darker in hue. Think of the almost black color of Oreo cookies. Black Cocoa Powder is more readily available online. The Cocoa Trader and OliveNation offer good quality at a good price.
Can I Use Just One Type of Cocoa Powder in these Vegan Mint Chocolate Cupcakes?
This recipe for vegan mint chocolate cupcakes has been formulated to use the two different types. But in a pinch, you can use just natural cocoa powder or Dutch processed cocoa powder. But be warned that this could affect the results a little. You might need to adjust the leavener (ie lower the baking soda and increase the baking powder with Dutch processed).
What Milk Beverage and Creamer are Best to Use for Baking?
The best options are your favorite options. I prefer to just use canned coconut milk (full-fat will even work, shaken, if you don’t have lite) in these vegan mint chocolate cupcakes, but most dairy-free creamers will work well. Just keep the flavor and sweetness in mind. Most types of milk beverage will also work great. Their affect on the vegan mint chocolate cupcakes themselves will be minimal. In fact, you can use water in a pinch!
Special Diet Notes: Vegan Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian. Just be sure to choose the milk beverage, oil, and creamer that suit your dietary needs.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup natural cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons black cocoa or Dutch-processed cocoa powder (see post above)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain or unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
- ¼ cup oil
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon mint extract
- ¼ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 5 tablespoons tablespoon plain dairy-free creamer or lite canned coconut milk, or as needed
- 1½ teaspoons mint extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Natural green food coloring (optional)
- 3 tablespoons plain dairy-free creamer or lite canned coconut milk
- ⅓ cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the milk beverage, oil, maple syrup, sugar, vinegar, vanilla, and mint to a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat for 1 minute to combine.
- Fill each cupcake liner about ⅔ full.
- Bake the cupcakes for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- In a clean mixing bowl, cream the shortening with a hand mixer for about 2 minutes, or until soft.
- Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons creamer or coconut milk, and the extracts. Mix to incorporate and continue adding and mixing in the powdered sugar in increments until it is used up.
- Blend in more creamer or coconut milk until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
- For green frosting, mix in the food coloring, one drop at a time, until your desired hue is reached.
- Melt the chocolate and creamer or coconut milk together on top of a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth and runny; be careful not to burn or the chocolate will seize up and become bitter.
- Use a piping bag with a large star tip to frost the completely cooled cupcakes.
- Lightly drizzle the ganache on top.