Mocha Cupcakes

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vegan mocha cupcakes with frosting

♫ Listening to: Fineshrine by Purity Ring ♫

These vegan mocha cupcakes are a delicious way to celebrate coffee. I’ve brought these to numerous celebrations, and they’re always a huge hit. The first time I made these back in 2014, were for my friend Marcie to celebrate her wedding day. I took terrible pictures in 2014, so I did you the favor of making these again for my friend Jacky’s birthday party a few months ago. I took some new pictures (who are we kidding? David takes all my pictures) and updated this post to save your eyes the pain of looking at those old atrocities.

This recipe starts with a chocolate cupcake, filled with a light and fluffy coffee cream (optional), and topped with a swirl of coffee and chocolate buttercream frosting. Add some vegan sprinkles and a coffee flavored cookie garnish (optional), and you’ve got yourself a cute crowd pleaser.

This recipe makes 12 mocha cupcakes with mocha buttercream frosting.

Vegan Mocha Cupcake Ingredients

  • ½ cup cold brew coffee
  • ½ cup nondairy milk
  • ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar (you can substitute white vinegar)
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar (you can substitute any vegan sugar)
  • ⅓ cup safflower oil (you can substitute with sunflower or coconut oil)
  • 1 ½ cups unbleached organic flour (you can substitute other flours, but keep in mind that some of the gluten-free flours absorb more liquid, so you may need to adjust the measurements to get the correct batter consistency)
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder (try to use non-aluminum baking powder, if possible)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Vegan Mocha Cupcake Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

Combine vinegar and nondairy milk and let sit.

Sift the dry ingredients into another bowl: 1 ½ cups flour, ⅓ cup cocoa powder , ¾ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Stir the remaining wet ingredients into the nondairy milk mixture: ½ cup cold brew concentrate coffee, ½ tablespoon vanilla, ¾ cup sugar, and ⅓ cup safflower oil.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, half at a time, but don’t start adding them until you can’t hear the sugar scraping the bottom of the bowl anymore.

Mix just until you can’t see any dry ingredients anymore - you don’t want to overmix.

Scrape the sides and bottom with a silicone spatula to make sure you got all the dry incorporated into the wet.

Fill the baking cups about ⅔ full.

Bake for 20 minutes, until when you insert a toothpick into the center of one, it comes out clean.

vegan mocha cupcakes

Vegan Coffee Cream Filling Ingredients

  • 1 can coconut cream (if you can’t find coconut cream, just get full-fat coconut milk and just use the cream from it), chilled overnight
  • ½ cup organic powdered sugar*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1 packet instant coffee (or 1-2 teaspoons of a jar of instant coffee)

Vegan Coffee Cream Filling Directions

Whisk the ingredients until smooth in the using a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer. You want it to form peaks that do not fall.

Transfer into a piping bag fitted with the Ateco Decorating Tip 231 (you can substitute any tip if you don’t have this one, but keep in mind that the bigger the tip, the bigger hole it will leave in your cupcakes).

Ateco Decorating Tip 231

Poke each cupcake about halfway through.

Squeeze in as much cream filling as you can without it starting to ooze out the top.

Vegan Mocha Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 packet instant coffee (or 1-2 teaspoons of a jar of instant coffee)
  • 3 tablespoons nondairy milk
  • ¼ cup room temperature vegan butter or margarine (if you avoid soy, get the soy-free earth balance; otherwise, get the organic whipped earth balance)*
  • ¼ cup organic palm shortening (I use spectrum, because it's sustainable)*
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups organic powdered sugar*

Vegan Mocha Frosting Directions

Mix the amount of instant coffee you would use for a whole cup of coffee with the 3 tablespoons of nondairy milk over low heat until it’s dissolved.

concentrated instant coffee

Transfer to a mason jar or coffee cup and set aside until you need it.

Mix the ¼ cup vegan butter, ¼ cup spectrum sustainable organic palm shortening , and ½ tablespoon vanilla extract using a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer until it’s smooth, creamy, and fluffy.

Add the coffee milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s completely incorporated.

Sift in 1 cup of the powdered sugar and mix well, starting on a low speed and then increasing to a higher speed once the powdered sugar is incorporated enough that it won’t go everywhere and make it look like it snowed inside your kitchen.

Sift in ¾ cup of the powdered sugar and mix well, using the same method.

Divide the frosting in half.

Sift the last ¼ cup of the powdered sugar into half of the frosting and mix well, using the same method. Set aside.

Sift the ½ cup cocoa powder into the other half and mix well.

Fill one disposable piping bag with the mocha frosting and another disposable piping bag with the coffee frosting (or you can just use baggies with a hole cut out of the corner).

vegan mocha and coffee frosting

Place the 2 piping bags inside of a large piping bag fitted with your tip of choice. I used my Wilton star tip 1M which also happens to be my favorite tip.

vegan mocha cupcakes with frosting

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. This recipe makes enough to pipe onto 12 cupcakes or if you’re spreading it with a knife, you can frost 24 cupcakes.

vegan mocha cupcakes with frosting

Decorate with vegan sprinkles and vegan coffee flavored wafer straw cookies (also known as Pirouline). I used the Edward & Sons ones because they’re organic and vegan.

vegan mocha cupcakes with frosting

Here’s what my pictures looked like back when I originally made this recipe. See what I mean…terrible.

vegan mocha frosting


* I use mostly organic ingredients when I cook, but I realize that not everyone has the disposable income to purchase all organic ingredients. Therefore, I only specify organic on the ingredients that really matter - when buying the organic version is the only way to ensure that the item is vegan.


YUMM! I love coffee and cake! 😍
Tiffany -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

These look amazing! ❤️❤️❤️
kitchin witch -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Irresistible! I'm checking the calendar for all friend birthdays and other excuses to make! 😍
Wendy -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐