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 from The Skinnygirl Dish

frosting adapted from Giada De Laurentis’ Avocado Mousse


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. 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 you’re vegan, I think you should give it a try. (I’m not vegan, but I think they would be better for someone that’s vegan.)

    • Rosec carter

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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, 😞 and with school starting I’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 else’s. Can I bake a batch of these and freeze them?
    Also, I just can’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? There’s so many healthy additions I’m sure I’m better off using yours!
    Thanks in advance, I know it’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 🙂

      hope that helps!

  5. Jacqui

    Hi Jeanine,
    Have you or any of your followers tried to make these into a cake? I’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!

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

  7. 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 🙂 also I substituded maple for agave which worked perfectly and used vegan cashew frosting since my family usually bakes chocolate cupcakes with plain frosting 🙂 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!!

  8. Damaris

    How many cupcakes can I make with this receipts? 🙂

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        🙂 it’ll make 10-12 cupcakes

  9. Katie

    How many cupcakes does this yield?

  10. 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).

  11. amélie

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

  12. 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)

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. This recipe looks very tempting and also health-friendly 🙂 I’ve already convinced my girlfriend to prepare it one of these days haha 🙂

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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

    • jeanine

      so glad you liked them!

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.