Chocolate Cupcakes & Avocado Icing

These vegan chocolate cupcakes are a healthier dessert. The avocado icing is so rich and yummy you'll want to eat it by the spoonful!

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes & Avocado Frosting  /

It’s my birthday and I baked myself a cake. Actually, cupcakes… and technically I baked them last night so I could make this little b-day post today.

I’m thirty-four today (ouch, that hurts to type).

It’s the age that you start to forget what age you are… the age when you realize how silly you were when you felt old at 28. And it’s the age that you have to start taking really good notes because you just can’t keep “it all” in your head anymore.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes & Avocado Frosting  /

They say avocados and chocolate are brain foods right? (I don’t know who says, but it seems like something I might have read somewhere). I know it sounds weird and maybe a little gross to put them together but it actually works to make really thick and rich chocolatey frosting.

But here’s a tip – don’t let your husband watch you put the green stuff into the blender. Of any recipe I’ve made, this was perhaps the one he was doubting the most. But, of course, he loved it in the end.

chocolate cupcakes & avocado icing

  • 1¼ cups spelt flour (or blend of white/wheat)
  • ¾ cup agave syrup
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 very ripe avocados
  • ¼ cup chopped baking chocolate (around 65% cacao)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • pinch of salt
  1. Make the cupcakes: Mix the wet ingredients, mix the dry ingredients, mix together and bake for 15-18 minutes at 325 degrees. These are best if you under bake them slightly (since there's not very much oil in the recipe).
  2. Make the frosting: Melt the baking chocolate in the microwave (careful not to burn it). Let it cool slightly. In a food processor mix all ingredients together. Taste and adjust. Let chill in the fridge for at least 15 or so minutes.

cupcakes adapted fromย The Skinnygirl Dish

frosting adapted fromย Giada De Laurentis’ Avocado Mousse


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  1. Stacy from

    Happy day and happy year to you! My birthday is coming up this weekend, and I’m looking forward to a bit of celebrating myself. (: I’ve heard much of avocado in desserts and have probably tried a few, but I’ve not yet made anything myself. I ought to amend that soon!

  2. Kathryn from

    Many happy returns Jeanine, I hope you have a wonderful day of celebrations. These cupcakes look like an admirable way to mark the occasion – I’m always on the look out for healthier frosting options too so I can’t wait to try this!

  3. Wishing you a truly wonderful birthday!
    I am excited to try the frosting out. I’m intrigued! Looks delicious!

  4. ileana from

    Happy birthday! The frosting looks great!

  5. Sounds like this could just be a keeper! I recently found agave with maple (real) added. That might be a nice touch for the icing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jeanine

      Hi Mary Ann, sounds good, I think even pure maple would work here for the sweetness (since it’s the avocado that really creates the texture). Hope you try & like!

    • jeanine

      Hi Leah, thx! … I usually have problems making vegan baked goods look super pretty (even if they taste really good!). But I’m by no means an expert on vegan baking ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Sonja from

    Happy Birthday, Jeanine!! (From Alex and I!) Hope your birthday is wonderful! I love avocado frosting – I have been meaning to try it out in our kitchen, but hadn’t yet gone around to it. Looks wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a special day!

    • jeanine

      thanks Sonja! Hope you like it!

  7. Natasha from

    I adore your blog! Hope you have a wonderful birthday!

    • jeanine

      Thanks Natasha, I adore your blog too ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Elizabeth A.

    Happy Birthday Jeanine! I was just thinking about making cupcakes for MY 34th coming up in a few months. These are right up my alley. Thanks for the inspiration and the reminder (as I, too, have to write everything down these days).

    • jeanine

      Thanks Elizabeth – the worst is that I keep forgetting that I will forget things ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Amber from

    Happiest birthday! These look delish. PS Typing thirty-eight on my birthday last week may have hurt to type a little more. Ouch! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jeanine

      Hi Amber, so glad you understand ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Claudia from

    Feliz Cumpleaรฑos! I hope you had a lovely day surrounded by good food! Those cupcakes look like you kicked off the celebration on the right foot ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jeanine

      Hi Claudia, thanks! Yes, I cooked us a nice dinner, nothing fancy ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Ashley from

    #1- Happpppy Birthday lovely!!! xo I hope you enjoyed your day and at least 5 cupcakes. #2 – I got overly excited when I saw chocolate cupcakes pop up on your blog. #3 – I adore chocolate avocado mousse and love the idea of sweetening it up a bit to use as frosting.

    • jeanine

      well I had 2 (well 3) today… just finished the last of them off…

  12. Happy Birthday Jeanine!!! I must admit this sounds a little crazy, which makes me want to try it even more ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jeanine

      I know, it sounded crazy to me too which totally intrigued me as well ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Happy birthday! That is so funny, I am 28 and I thought I was 27 for an entire year. I am already losing track! I need this kinda brain food! Where can I find spelt flour?

    • jeanine

      so weird, I did that from 27 to 28 too :). You can get spelt flour in the bulk bins at whole foods (or in the health food section of higher end grocery stores). But feel free to use all purpose or half whole wheat, I just happen to keep spelt on hand.

  14. Jess from

    Happiest of birthday wishes to you! Here’s to one more year of avocados and chocolate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Nadia from

    Happy birthday Jeanine!
    Wishing you lots of happy moments, smiles and health!

    P.S. I reached 35 last year, so I know how you feel :)))

  16. Tove

    Happy birthday! Those cupcakes look lovely!

  17. Zita from

    I love love love these cupcakes. I used avocado before to make a raw chocolate ganache cake and it was the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten! These cupcakes are definitely on my to-do list!

  18. rachel

    Happy Birthday! I love making my own cake, that way I get just what I want!

  19. Laura from

    Happy birthday Jeanine! I’m pretty sure I’ve consistently read (in an ambiguous way) that chocolate is TOTALLY the best brain food, so you’re completely on point with that.

    Also agree that not letting the avocado be seen is totally crucial in an avo frosting or mousse situation. These look so great ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Caitlin from

    happy birthday, jeanine! the cupcakes look delicious! i definitely have to give the avocado a try next time i make frosting!

  21. Liz B

    Happy Birthday!! I’m so happy you posted these!! I have been longing for a chocolate cake fix, and wanted it to be vegan.. and you have hit it perfectly, and I have everything in my cupboards, I am SO happy! Thank you! xx

  22. I love avocado and chocolate together in savory dishes, like chicken mole… Love the idea of joining them in a sweet context. Wonder if there’s a way the avocado color and flavor could come through and play against the deep chocolate, without it seeming too weird, like sweet guacamole.
    And happy birthday! Yes, the notepad is critical.

  23. Janet from

    happy birthday – chocolate heaven!

  24. Happy birthday! I’ll turn 33 soon and I agree, you start to forget how old you are when you’re over 30 ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love that you added avocado to the frosting. And thank you for a tip, I’ll try to hide it from my hubby, hahaha.

  25. Happy Birthday! And these look delicious. I love chocolate-avocado mousse so I can only imagine I will like it on top of mini chocolate cakes.

  26. Happy Birthday!!! I have seen avocado and chocolate frostings before and heard they are good. I would definatly have to make this alone. Picky eaters at my house ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Kasey from

    Happy birthday! I think 34 sounds like a great age. I’m turning 30 this year, and I feel like I’ve already reached the point where I find it hard to remember how old I am ๐Ÿ˜‰ What a way to celebrate. xo

  28. My birthday was just on the 5th!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! My husband made “brookies,” those brownie/cookies…. yours look pretty good as well. And I turned the big 3-0, OUCH! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yay for us.

  29. And PS, I can’t wait to try the frosting, I’ve made avocado ice cream and avocado cookies, but frosting??? BOOM!

  30. Batya from

    Happy birthday! Mine is next week….and I was looking for the perfect sweets! Looks delicious.

  31. Jacqui from

    Happy Birthday Jeanine! These cupcakes sound pretty delicious and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like cake very much! I’ve made an avocado mousse before though, so maybe I’m just wanting to eat that part, ha!

  32. Crista from

    GOOD IDEA!! i love this idea of chocolate frosting made with avocados! i’ve made chocolate pudding with avocados and it was tasty!

  33. Floyd

    I made this recipe tonight with my own blend of gluten-free flour (1/2c rice flour, 1/4 tapioca flour, 1/4c potato starch per cup of all purpose flour called for) and it turned out AMAZING. So delicious. Thank you!!!

    • jeanine

      so glad you liked it! (and so glad it worked as a gluten free version :). Thanks for sharing!

  34. A very Happy Birthday! Jeanine..
    Can relate to your post.. Same pinch.
    Avocado chocolate frosting sounds counter intuitive, but sure looks good!
    Saving the recipe.

    • jeanine

      thanks! I know, it sounds SO weird ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Rebecca

    This looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing! Happy belated birthday!
    What do you find is the texture of the cupcake? And how do you feel the frosting golds up after the second day?

  36. Hi Jeanine!
    Tomorrow is my friend’s birthday and I wanted to bake her a chocolate cake. What changes would you suggest for a cake? Thanks so much!

    • jeanine

      ah, have I replied too late? I’ve made cake out of this same recipe…

      • i ended up making the cupcakes instead! they were a HUGE hit!!

        • jeanine

          oh yay, I’m so glad!

          • Rebecca

            Can you tell me how to make into a cake

          • Jeanine Donofrio

            Hi Rebecca, you can bake the batter in an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan for 20-25 minutes.

  37. Wow! What an amazing recipe! I’ve just landed in your blog and these cupcakes are fabulous. I’m lactose intolerant so I love this kind of recipes.

    • jeanine

      so glad you liked them!

  38. Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Cheers

  39. Brianna

    This recipe looks delicious! I’d love to try this recipe but I’m living abroad and can’t get my hands on agave or maple syrup. Can I substitute sugar or honey for the agave syrup? If so, how much? Thanks!!!

    • jeanine

      Just replace with regular white sugar in equal amounts. They say agave is a little sweeter than regular sugar, but these cupcakes are slightly on the less-sweet side as it is, so I would just sub sugar in equally.

      If you mix the frosting, taste it, and would like it sweeter, then you can add more sugar to your liking.

  40. Mariah Hoffman

    These Cupcakes were delicious. I served some of them to my non-vegan friends and they loved them! All natural, healthy, and fantastic!

  41. This recipe looks very tempting and also health-friendly ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve already convinced my girlfriend to prepare it one of these days haha ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Phyllis

    Hi! The recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try the icing! I’m concerned however about the use of agave, because I recently I read that even though it has a relatively low glycemic index, it’s highly processed and practically all fructose which is bad for us. Maple syrup is too expensive an option for me (agave isn’t cheap either). I am wondering if it would work with coconut sugar, and what adjustments you would suggest. I did find something interesting in an Asian market however – it’s called palm sugar (not coconut sugar) and is sold in a bag of little blobs from the sap of a type of palm tree not used for coconuts, without heating or processing. If anyone out there in cyberspace can either find it or order it, you just mix about 4 or 5 of the light golden blobs with a cup of water, and boil until they dissolve into a syrup thinner than agave (for the thicker syrup start with less water or more blobs. It thickens slightly when chilled). It is delicious, healthier and less expensive and a more environmentally sustainable alternative to agave/maple.

    • jeanine

      Hi Phylis, I’m not sure but… let me know if you give it a try.

  43. Ginny Wiinitsky

    I am convinced that the Avocado was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. I prepared a Valentines Dinner menu
    Lettuce wedges with a cream Avocado dressing
    Avocado pesto over linguini ,
    chocolate avocado cheesecake , Wedges of avocado dipped in chocolate
    Crustini brushed with olive oil/ Italian seasonings . Toast for few minutes remove from oven and place a square of dark chocolate on each one the sprinkle with sea salt
    Plenty of Porceeco to wash it all down

  44. Ceshini

    Help! I just made these, but something went awfully wrong! The texture of the cupcakes and icing were perfect, but they taste…well, they just taste bad! I tried to figure out what went wrong and the only thing that comes to mind is the agave. Does it go rancid? Because the one I have has a really bitter chemical like taste and smell to it. It smells the same way my cupcakes and icing taste! Weird, right? I plan on trying these again, because I am convinced that something is bad wrong with the agave syrup I have. Is it possible to use honey?

    • jeanine

      oh no! Hmm, I’m not sure when/if agave goes rancid, but I’ve never had agave with a chemical taste or smell – it usually has a pretty neutral sweet taste. (I usually buy the 365 Whole Foods Brand). The cupcakes can be made with regular sugar instead of agave, and honey or maple syrup could be substituted in the icing…

    • jeanine

      you also might want to make sure your cocoa powder is really fresh (and a good-tasting brand)

  45. amรฉlie

    made them yesterday – didn’t have time to make the frosting – and they are delicious! thanks jeanine!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Calley

    Would it be possible to substitute coconut milk for almond milk here?

    • jeanine

      Hi Calley, I think it should work – I would use coconut milk from a carton that has a similar fat content as almond milk (ie, not a can of full fat coconut milk – it might make things too dense).

  47. Katie

    How many cupcakes does this yield?

  48. Damaris

    How many cupcakes can I make with this receipts? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        ๐Ÿ™‚ it’ll make 10-12 cupcakes

  49. katie

    Hi Janine,
    I made these yesterday for my best friend’s birthday and they turned out SO good!!! I absolutely loved them and everyone else (non-vegans) as well even my dad complimented me on them and he’s super tricky to please! they were so yummy i ate 3 of them no shame though ๐Ÿ™‚ also I substituded maple for agave which worked perfectly and used vegan cashew frosting since my family usually bakes chocolate cupcakes with plain frosting ๐Ÿ™‚ paired very well though! also wanted to comment how they taste just like “normal” cupcakes and you cant tell they are a bit healthier than your average cupcake and vegan! I will definitely be making them in the future, a definite keeper sooo good!!! Thank you so much for your awesome recipes, I really adore your work!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Katie, yay, i’m so happy to hear that you and everyone enjoyed these!!

  50. Really look at the delicious cakes. I wish you a happy and happy 28th birthday (I’m not sure you are 29 or not ^^)

  51. Jacqui

    Hi Jeanine,
    Have you or any of your followers tried to make these into a cake? Iโ€™ve made these delicious cupcakes but would like to cook them in an 8×8 2 qt square glass dish. Advice?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jacqui – I’ve made it in 8×8 and 9×9 round cake pans so I’m pretty sure it’ll work in an 8×8 square dish!

  52. Cheryl

    Hi Jeanine,
    I should have known your blog would come up when I was looking for healthy sugar free cupcake recipes!
    My five year old was diagnosed with a Type 1diabetes six weeks ago, ๐Ÿ˜ž and with school starting Iโ€™m imagining the birthday parties and class parties to come and panicking over the high carb treats rolling in. I want to make cupcakes for her to enjoy with everyone elseโ€™s. Can I bake a batch of these and freeze them?
    Also, I just canโ€™t bring myself to use Splenda and the like so I was wondering if there was anyway to cut the agave down a bit or substitute a few dates in its place? Do you have a rough estimate how many carbs might be in this recipe? Thereโ€™s so many healthy additions Iโ€™m sure Iโ€™m better off using yours!
    Thanks in advance, I know itโ€™s a bunch of weird questions.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Cheryl,

      Yes, the cupcakes, unfrosted, can be frozen.

      These are not very sweet, so I can’t say how much cutting back the agave would change them and I think dates will change the texture.

      I’m sorry, I’m not sure how many carbs – while they’re a tad healthier, they’re still a treat made with flour ๐Ÿ™‚

      hope that helps!

  53. Elizabeth

    Hi the cupcakes look amazing. can i substitute maple syrup for agave? if i can, is it one to one? thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      yep, you can!

  54. Lindsay

    Excited to try this recipe for my boyfriend’s birthday! How many cupcakes does this make and should I grease the pan first? Do I need to melt the coconut oil too?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Lindsay, yes melted coconut oil and grease the pan. The recipe makes 9 or 10. I hope you enjoy!

  55. Lulu

    The avocado frosting caught my eye and I had to make these. I liked them, as far as vegan cupcakes go. In all, they were not very good. They were dry and had very odd flavors. If youโ€™re vegan, I think you should give it a try. (Iโ€™m not vegan, but I think they would be better for someone thatโ€™s vegan.)

    • Rosec carter

      One of the perfect and informative site ever. Bookmarked for future read.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.