Vegan chocolate cupcakes with vanilla and chocolate swirl buttercream frosting are a fun way to celebrate a variety of holidays: May the 4th, space day, winter solstice, fourth of july, new years eve, tea parties, and basically anyone’s birthday. Super easy to make, you can start and finish this vegan galaxy cupcakes recipe all in one day. They’ll impress even the non-vegans in your life.
This recipe makes 24 chocolate galaxy cupcakes.
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♫ Listening to ♫
Night Sky by Chvrches
Kimmy told me I could choose what kind of cupcakes she gets for her birthday this year. I decided to make her milky way galaxy chocolate cupcakes since I had recently lucked into 20 Dreamy Bars. Skott told me that Dreamy bars are basically a vegan version of milky way candy bars, which is lucky because I’ve apparently blocked all memories from my mind that occurred before my veganism (except for mounds and almond joy because I’m obsessed with every chocolate and coconut matrimony). Oh and except for twinkies.
Being the surprise ruiner that she is, Kimmy later told me she wanted galaxy cupcakes, so either great minds think alike, or mediocre minds think alike, but regardless, she’s getting the cupcakes she wanted even though I’m taking credit for the idea (since I had it first…me me me, hahaha). I froze these overnight since they needed to go on a road trip to Ojai the next day, where we had a girls weekend to celebrate Kimmy and Lizzie’s birthdays. They defrost perfectly and taste amazing, so feel free to make these in advance if needed.
- 2 cups nondairy milk (I used almond milk)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or substitute white vinegar)
- 2 ½ cups organic unbleached white flour*
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ½ tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅔ cup sunflower oil
- 1 ½ cups organic sugar*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- vegan milky way copycat candy bars (optional)
Directions for How to Make Vegan Milky Way Galaxy Cupcakes
Line 2 cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
Unwrap 3 candy bars. Each of the Amy's Dreamy candy bars comes with 2 smaller bars inside. Cut each smaller bar in half, and then cut each half diagonally in half, so you end up with 24 triangle-shaped pieces.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Combine vinegar and nondairy milk, stir, and let sit.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl.
Add the oil, sugar, and vanilla to the nondairy milk mixture and stir well. I use my stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment.
Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients, mixing continuously. Stop mixing when you can no longer see any dry ingredients.
Fill each cupcake liner in each cupcake tin halfway.
Stick a triangle piece of dreamy bar into each cupcake.
Bake for 18 minutes. When you insert a toothpick into the center of one, and it comes out clean, remove from oven. Set pans on cooling racks to cool for 10-15 minutes. Then remove cupcakes from the pans and set them directly on the cooling racks to finish cooling completely.
- ¾ cup vegan butter or margarine (if you avoid soy, buy the soy-free earth balance; otherwise buy the organic whipped earth balance)*
- ¾ cup organic palm shortening*
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 ½ cups organic powdered sugar (a 24-oz bag of 365 organic powdered sugar from Whole Foods is more than enough)*
- 4 tablespoons black cocoa powder
- Vegan food coloring (I used blue and purple from the wilton multi color pack of gel food colors and americolor black gel color but you can see my list of vegan food coloring for other options.)
Vegan Milky Way Galaxy Buttercream Frosting Directions
Leave the ingredients sitting out before using them. Best results come from using room temperature ingredients.
Sift in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing for at least minute between each addition.
Add the vanilla extract, and mix for 2 more minutes.
Divide the vanilla buttercream frosting into 4 bowls.
Add food coloring to each bowl of frosting, and mix well (I used the stand mixer with the whisk attachment). You can use any colors you like, but I used black, purple, and blue to make these colors: silver, blue, purple, and black. When you make the black color, add 4 tablespoons of sifted black cocoa powder . This will help you get the black color without using an entire bottle of food coloring. I made twice as much black as I did any other color.
Pipe swirls of frosting onto each chocolate cupcake. The first cupcake won’t look great because it takes a sec for the colors to start swirling together, so if you’re worried about having an ugly one, maybe start piping on a plate until it starts looking good before doing the cupcakes.
Chill cupcakes, and remove from fridge 30 minutes before serving.
Can I make these galaxy cupcakes gluten free?
Yes! Just use a gluten-free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour, and if you’re using candy bars, make sure those are gluten-free too.
How do you know when the cupcakes are baked?
This is a good question because every oven is different. I use a toothpick and poke it into the center of 1 or 2 cupcakes. If the toothpick comes out clean, then they’re ready to take out of the oven. If the toothpick has any batter or crumbs stuck to it, then I bake them for 3 more minutes and I continue this check every 3 minutes until the the toothpick comes out clean.
How do you make this recipe into a cake?
- just remember that cakes take longer to bake than cupcakes, so start your timer at 30 minutes, and then do the toothpick test every 5 minutes thereafter.
- If you don’t have access to spectrum sustainable organic palm shortening you can add another ¾ cup vegan butter or margarine, making a total of 1 ½ cups. My favorite is the organic whipped Earth Balance, but if you avoid soy, you can buy the soy-free Earth Balance. If you do this, your frosting will be less stable at room temperature, so only make this substitution if you have the ability to keep the cupcakes in the fridge instead of on the counter.
- If you don’t have 2 cups (480ml) of nondairy milk, you can substitute any amount with water, coffee, nondairy creamer, or coconut water. You can also mix and match different nondairy milks. I do this a lot when my macadamia milk only has a little bit left at the bottom and I use it up, and then I open a new container of almond or soymilk. You can even use chocolate oat milk! I’ve done that before.
- You can substitute the apple cider vinegar with white distilled vinegar. You just need some sort of acid to interact with the alkaline baking soda to make the cake rise. You can even substitute lemon juice!
- I recommend using safflower, sunflower, or coconut oil for baking cakes because those oils are made for high heat, which helps you avoid transfats. However, you can use any other oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, etc. People even make cakes with olive oil, but I don’t recommend it.
* 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 (or non-GMO) version is the only way to ensure that the item is vegan.