Super Easy, Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

Easy to make, unusually moist chocolate cupcakes and no mixer required! No eggs either, the recipe uses a combo of baking soda and vinegar for leavening.

Easy chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing on a platter.
Elise Bauer

Have you ever encountered a chocolate cake recipe that used neither eggs nor butter, but relied on vinegar and baking soda for leavening?

Apparently, the recipe has been around for ages. We first discovered a version of it in a magazine called Cuisine at Home, but you can find other versions at Epicurious and other places online.

Easy cupcake recipe with cupcakes on a platter.
Elise Bauer

Easy Chocolate Cupcakes Without Eggs or Dairy

The thing about this cake recipe is not only is it incredibly easy to make, with ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry, but it produces a surprisingly moist and delicious cake (and cupcakes).

All without eggs or butter. (There's butter in the frosting I'm using, but we're talking about the cake.) I even tried adding an egg to the recipe and it wasn't nearly as good as the batch without it.

Over the last week, I've made several batches of cupcakes following this method, including a couple for my mom's book club. (Waving hi to mom's friends!)

How to Measure Flour for This Recipe

A quick note on how to measure flour for this recipe. Scoop flour into your measuring cup with a spoon until the measuring cup is heaping then level it off with a knife. That should give you perfect cupcake batter every time.

A Simple Frosting for Simple Chocolate Cupcakes

I used a frosting recipe from Hershey's, and instead of loading the cupcakes with frosting, I decided instead to just simply drizzle frosting in patterns on the top.

Do what you will with the frosting. I think the cupcakes are perfectly delicious without any frosting at all.

If you want to make an entirely vegan cupcake, use our vegan chocolate frosting to go with the cupcakes!

A platter of moist chocolate cupcakes.
Elise Bauer

Tips on Using Coffee in This Recipe

The brewed coffee helps intensify the flavor of the chocolate. You can skip it, but if you do use coffee, use what would be considered regular strength coffee (or slightly weak coffee) in America. Do not use something super concentrated like brewed espresso, but it's okay to use reconstituted instant coffee or espresso granules (see Ingredients list). If caffeine is an issue, you can use decaf.

Make Cake Instead of Cupcakes

If you want to make a cake instead of cupcakes, double the recipe. Pour the batter into two greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. If you want a traditionally frosted two-layer cake, double the frosting recipe, too.

How To Make These Cupcakes Totally Vegan

These cupcakes are vegan, but the frosting is not. To make these cupcakes 100% vegan, use this vegan chocolate frosting recipe that calls for full-fat coconut milk and chocolate chips instead of an animal product such as butter and cocoa powder. Check to make sure the chocolate chips are vegan because some brands contain milk fat.

How to Store and Freeze These Chocolate Cupcakes

At room temperature, these cupcakes can be stored in a sealed container for two or three days. If your kitchen is warmer than 70°F, or if they've been at room temperature for more than three days, store them in the refrigerator. If you find at the end of six days the cupcakes there are some left, you can store the leftover cupcakes in the freezer.

These cupcakes can be frozen frosted or unfrosted for up to three months. For the best flavor, eat them within a month of freezing. Whether they have frosting or not, first place the individual cupcakes on a baking sheet in the freezer until just frozen through.

If the cupcakes do not have frosting, they can then be placed in an airtight zip top freezer bag, taken out as needed, brought to room temperature, and then frosted.

If the cupcakes are frosted, they can then be individually wrapped in plastic wrap before placing them all in an airtight zip top freezer bag. Take out as many as desired, unwrap immediately, and bring to room temperature before eating.

Try These Other Vegan Treats

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Super Easy, Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 12 cupcakes

The coffee (and the salt) help intensify the flavor of the chocolate. If you don't have or don't want to use coffee, just skip it and use water instead. If you do use coffee, just use what would be considered regular strength coffee (or slightly weak coffee) in America, not something super concentrated like espresso. If caffeine is an issue, use decaf.


If you want to make a cake instead of cupcakes, double the recipe. Pour the cake batter into two greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.


Check your olive oil and make sure it is fresh, not rancid. Check your baking soda to make sure it still works (add a little vinegar to a teaspoon, if it bubbles up vigorously, it's fine.)

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup (23g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (4g) (make sure it's fresh!)

  • 1/2 teaspoon (1g) kosher salt

  • 1 cup brewed coffee (or 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules or espresso powder)

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

Frosting:

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 1/3 cup (30g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 cups (158g) powdered sugar

  • 3 tablespoons milk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven and prep muffin tin:

    Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Prepare a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

  2. Whisk dry ingredients:

    In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt until there are no visible clumps (cocoa tends to clump up).

  3. Mix wet ingredients:

    In a separate bowl, mix together the coffee (or water plus coffee granules), vinegar, vanilla extract, and olive oil.

  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients:

    Stir only until they just come together. Do not over-beat! The mixture should be thin and rather lumpy.

  5. Ladle the batter into the cupcake liners:

    Fill liners about two-thirds of the way full.

  6. Bake:

    Place in oven and bake at 350°F for 18 to 20 minutes, until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

  7. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes:

    Remove from the pan and let cool on a rack. Once cool, you can eat plain, sprinkle with powdered sugar, or drizzle or coat with frosting when completely cool.

For the frosting:

  1. Melt the butter:

    Melt the butter in a small saucepan and remove from heat.

  2. Stir in remaining ingredients a little at a time:

    Stir in the cocoa until smooth. Sprinkle in about a third of the powdered sugar, stir, then sprinkle in about a half of the milk. Keep alternating with the powdered sugar and either milk or vanilla, stirring after each addition, until the frosting is the consistency you want, and smooth. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar. If too stiff, add a little more milk or vanilla extract.

  3. Frost individual cooled cupcakes:

    Scoop the frosting into the corner of a zip top freezer bag. Use scissors to cut away 1/4-inch or so from the tip of the corner. Then just squeeze the frosting out of the bag onto the cupcakes in any design you like.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
292 Calories
11g Fat
45g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 292
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 157mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 30g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 37mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.