Several Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes on two cooling racks

c/o Anne Kiely, Head Features Editor

Banging Eats with Feats is a column dedicated to Wesleyan students’ favorite recipes and the stories behind them. Send us a recipe that’s important to you and let us know why! The form is online.

“What a niche recipe,” you might say to your friends as you all sit in a circle reading this edition of The Argus. “No thank you. I’m not vegan! If I’m going to make cupcakes, they’re going to be as non-nutritious as possible.”

I would preemptively argue that there are many reasons why you should make vegan chocolate cupcakes. First, I am happy to tell anyone who confuses “vegan” with “health nut” that these cupcakes have almost no nutritional value. Unless you count the fact that cocoa powder improves your memory, your mind should be at ease. We are not trying to sneak any dehydrated kale into this dessert, even if it is a little lower in cholesterol than a standard cake.

Second, a lot of people are vegan or have food allergies, and they have birthdays just like everyone else. I ended up with this recipe because my cousin is allergic to eggs.

Third, aren’t you sick of buying a carton of milk, using one cup for baking, and letting the rest go bad because you didn’t buy any cereal to go with it? This recipe’s ingredients are plant-based and shelf-stable, so you can store the leftover ones in your dorm snack bin while you contemplate if and when you ever want to make cupcakes again.

Finally, I would reassure non-vegan bakers that, as vegan desserts go, chocolate-flavored ones are on the more delicious end of the spectrum. Having worked at an allergy-conscious bakery, I can say that a lot more time, labor, and flaxseed goes into inventing a good recipe for vegan vanilla cake than chocolate cake. Even though most cake recipes contain butter and this one doesn’t, the chocolate somehow fills out the flavor and it doesn’t taste like anything is missing.

Anne’s Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (makes about one dozen)


  • 1 and ½ cups flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable or safflower oil
  • 1 cup cold water or cold coffee
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Optional: powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with cupcake papers.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together.
  4. Combine the vanilla, water, and oil.
  5. Pour liquid mix into dry ingredients and stir briefly.
  6. Add the vinegar and stir briefly.
  7. Fill the cupcake papers about ¾ of the way.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife put into the cupcakes comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
  9. Let cool for five minutes in the cupcake pans, then remove the cupcakes and cool fully.
  10. Sift powdered sugar on top if desired.

Enjoy and bon appétit! (The saying, not the company.)


Anne Kiely can be reached at

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