Cakes, General how to's & recipes, Recipe Books, Vegan Baking

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (using Babycakes’ ‘Red Velvet’ recipe)

Vegan baking is all new to me.  I’ve tried one experimental piece so far and made a remarkable discovery: how to make edible Frisbees.  The recipe I used for my next attempt was from the stunning Babycakes book by Erin McKenna (founder of the hot and happening Babycakes in New York).  Take a peek inside the book at  (you’ll also find some excellent answers to frequently asked questions about vegan baking).

I used the red velvet cupcakes recipe but left out the red food colouring, allowing for ‘vegan chocolate cupcakes’.  Here is my adapted version, ingredients are highlighted in bold (I often re-write recipes so that it’s easier to measure up as I go along):


  • Pour ½ cup rice milk and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar into a bowl and allow to rest without stirring, thus allowing it to change into ‘buttermilk’
  • Whisk 3 ¼ cups spelt flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoons of salt in a bowl
  • Add 2/3 cup coconut oil (melt it before you measure), 1 ¼ cup agave nectar and 2 tablespoons vanilla extract and mix into a thick batter
  • Cut in the ‘buttermilk’ gently, stir until just combined
  • Slowly add 5 tablespoons red food colouring until colour is correct (don’t use more than 6 tablespoons)


  • Pour 1/3 cup batter into each, almost filling each of 24 paper liners placed in 2 x 12 cup muffin tins
  • Bake at 180 degrees Celsius on the centre rack for 24 minutes
  • Rotate the tins 180 degrees after 14 minutes
  • Test for readiness – the cupcake should bounce back when gently touched or a tester should come out clean
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool for 20 minutes (leave them in the tins)
  • Place them on a wire rack until completely cool


  • For the icing:
    • Blend 1 ½ cups soy milk, ¾ cup dry soy milk powder, 1 tablespoon coconut flour, ¼ cup agave nectar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract for TWO MINUTES
    • Trickle in 1 ½ cups coconut oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice (alternate)
    • Pour the icing into an airtight container (will keep for a month)
    • Spread one tablespoon of vanilla icing over each cupcake
    • Store in an airtight container (will be good in the fridge for 3 days)

I used rice milk and rice powder instead of soy for the frosting.  I also experimented with Baobab fruit powder instead of using coconut flour (couldn’t find any!). 

The final touch was to sprinkle dried coconut shavings onto the iced cupcakes (pictured bottom left in the photo below) for my writers’ group meeting in Betty’s Bay.

For the record, I mistook the coconut oil for a glass of water and forgot to put it into the batter.  Learning: oil-full cupcakes  have a lot going for them!

7 thoughts on “Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (using Babycakes’ ‘Red Velvet’ recipe)”

  1. WOW! These are extremely different. I add orange zest to mine cos it just lifts the flavor into another dimension. Love how you are trying this! Its flippin expensive though!

    PS Next time try beetroot for the red colouring!xx Please tell me more about the frisbee…..

    1. Your words are like a troop of little muffin people having a moonlit disco in cookie forest!

    2. Hi Colleen, lovely to hear from you and thank you for your hot tips! I’m going to use the beetroot colouring next time. The Frisbee was my first failed vegan baking attempt… a sweet pastry base using alternatives to sugar, butter, flour, eggs… oooh I don’t think I should tell you too much more actually! Except that it ended up in the dustbin… x

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