These Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes are Made With a Secret Veggie Ingredient

Last Update: August 11, 2023

Don’t let anyone tell you differently—your chocolate addiction needs no justification.

We totally relate, and love it in all of its forms: from cacao to cocoa, and nibs to chips. And when a healthier version of our favorite decadent dessert comes along, we’re not mad about it. Cassandra Bodzak stopped by the Thrive Market kitchen to whip up vegan double-chocolate cupcakes—and they’re so insanely good, you’d never guess the rich chocolatey frosting is made out of veggies. Seriously!

It’s not just the healthified frosting that’s impressive. These babies are made from quinoa flour, which is naturally gluten-free and loaded with plant protein, and there’s not a pinch of bleached, granulated sugar. The cupcakes get their sweetness from date sugar, which is derived from dried and pulverized dates. Press play to find out exactly how to make these delightful vegan treats—and to learn what, exactly, goes into that mysterious and magical veggie frosting!

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes


For the cupcakes
2 cups chocolate almond milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups quinoa flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup date sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup coconut oil

For the frosting

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup cashew butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup sweet potato puree
1/4 cup carob or cacao powder
3 tablespoons date sugar
Pinch of salt
10 to 15 drops vanilla stevia
Unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish


Make the cupcakes
Preheat oven to 375. Combine apple cider vinegar and chocolate almond milk and set aside to curdle.

Using a stand mixer or a large bowl and hand mixer, add together dry ingredients until just combined. Add wet ingredients into the bowl, and mix together until batter comes together. Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil, and fill tins halfway with batter. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until firm.

Make the frosting
In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer chocolate, cashew butter, and coconut oil, stirring constantly. When chocolate begins to melt, remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine cacao powder, date sugar, stevia, salt, and sweet potato puree. Carefully pour chocolate mixture into the sweet potato mixture, and stir together until combined. Refrigerate until cool, stir again.

Frost the cupcakes
Using a piping bag or plastic sandwich bag with a corner cut off, pipe frosting onto cupcakes in swirls. Top with a sprinkle of shredded coconut.

Read more about Cassandra Bodzak, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

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Michelle Pellizzon

Certified health coach and endorphin enthusiast, Michelle is an expert in healthy living and eating. When she's not writing you can find her running trails, reading about nutrition, and eating lots of guacamole.

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