Vegan Recipe: Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange & Ginger

updated Feb 5, 2020
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Ginger & Orange
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There’s a secret I’ve been fostering for quite some time now. I love vegan cupcakes — even more than “regular” cupcakes. Their flavor is intense, pure, and did I mention there’s none of that creaming and beating nonsense? They’re literally as easy as 1, 2, 3!

You’re sure to be a hit at your next party if you come toting these!

These cupcakes get a little lift from the reaction between baking soda and vinegar, and although it might seem a bit strange, it’s one of the coolest things to see your batter lift in the bowl when you add the vinegar.

This is a recipe that takes mere minutes to make, and once you make it I’m willing to bet that most of you won’t go back to your standard chocolate cupcake ever again!

Tester’s Notes

Butter who? These veganized cupcakes aren’t lacking in richness, despite the absence of animal products. In fact, the canola oil keeps the cake super moist, whereas butter sometimes has the tendency to dry out. The vinegar’s reaction with the baking soda helps the cupcakes rise in lieu of eggs, and the cakes came out of the oven with perfectly rounded tops.

The generous amount of zest in the recipe makes the cupcakes taste just like a chocolate orange (my favorite holiday treat), while the ginger lends an earthy, slightly spicy undertone. The frosting is creamy and sweet, sweet, sweet! I sprinkled some chopped candied ginger and a bit of orange zest over the tops of my cupcakes to hint at their flavor profile and to showcase the ginger.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be chasing these cupcakes with a tall glass of cold soy milk. They will definitely be making a repeat appearance on my dessert table, especially at parties where my guests have various dietary preferences and food allergies!

– Maria of Sift & Whisk

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Ginger & Orange

Makes 24 cupcakes

Nutritional Info


For the cupcakes:

  • 3 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups


  • 2/3 cup

    unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 teaspoons

    baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1 2/3 cups

    water or cold freshly brewed coffee

  • 1 cup

    neutral oil, such as canola

  • 2 teaspoons

    pure vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon

    orange juice

  • 2 tablespoons

    freshly grated ginger

  • 4 tablespoons

    zested orange peel

  • 4 tablespoons

    cider vinegar

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup

    vegan margarine, softened and at room temperature

  • 4 cups

    powdered sugar

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 1/4 cup

    soy milk

  • 1 tablespoon


  • 1 tablespoon

    orange juice

  • 1/8 teaspoon



  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two standard cupcake tins with paper liners.

  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the water, oil, vanilla, orange juice, ginger, and orange peel. Stir to combine. Add the vinegar and stir quickly. The batter will be slightly foamy and lighter in color as you mix in the vinegar. The batter will turn darker again; this is the sign that all the vinegar has been incorporated.

  3. Fill the prepared cupcake tins 2/3 full. Bake for 15 minutes or until the top of a cupcake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.

  4. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes and place on wire rack until completely cool. Frost only after the cupcakes are cool.

  5. To make the frosting, whip the margarine with a hand or stand mixer until creamy. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Gradually whip in the soy milk, then the vanilla, orange juice, and salt and mix on high speed until lightened and creamy.

  6. Frost the cupcakes. Refrigerate any unused frosting for up to a week.

Recipe Notes

Recipe updated — first published January 2011.