The Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe is from my first cookbook Radiant Health Inner Wealth (it's the one with all the decadent vegan desserts)! These cupcakes (which also work well as cake) have gotten such comments as: “This is the best cake I’ve ever eaten—vegan or not!” and “These cupcakes should be illegal!” I hope you love them too!

NOTE: Feel free to double this recipe if you want to make a bigger batch. 

Dry Ingredients:
1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)
1 cup organic sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (not Dutch process cocoa), sifted if lumpy
1 level teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup oil (sunflower, non-virgin olive, melted coconut, or safflower)
1 cup chocolate soymilk

Freaky Frosting: 
5 tablespoons (⅓ cup) plus 1 teaspoon vegan margarine
2¼ cups plus 4 teaspoons organic powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
5 tablespoons (⅓ cup) plus 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
⅓ cup chocolate soymilk

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Oil a 9 x 9-inch pan or a dozen muffin cups. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Make sure each is lump-free and mixed very well.

2. Mix them together, but do not over-mix. Note that the batter will taste a bit odd at this point, but don’t be alarmed—any hint of vinegar will magically disappear once the cake is baked!

3. Pour into your oiled baking pan or muffin cups and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. For cupcakes, this should take about 20 minutes. For cake, it will usually take 30 minutes or more.

4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting.

5. To make the freakishly good frosting, whip the margarine in a large bowl (using electric beaters) until it becomes somewhat fluffy. Slowly add in the remaining ingredients one at a time, in the order given. Beat at high speed until very fluffy, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. At this point, you will want to refrain from the temptation to shrink down to the size of a peanut and take a chocolate bath. You may regret it later. Next, refrigerate the frosting until the cake has cooled.

6. Frost your cupcakes (or cake)! Ideally, let the frosting warm to room temperature before serving. Decorate with chocolate chips, edible flowers, raspberries, strawberries, chocolate shavings, or anything else that makes you smile.

Makes about 12 cupcakes or one 9 x 9-inch cake; GF (with substitution)/Purple (according to the health guidelines in my cookbooks)