Dark Chocolate Cupcakes | Weelicious
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Dark Chocolate Cupcakes




One food misconception I hear all the time is that eating healthy means sacrificing the foods you love most. For example, a bunch of my friends don't like to let their kids have snacks like cake or cupcakes for all the obvious reasons and so the kids have to miss out on fun things like chocolate cupcakes at birthday parties. I can't think of many things more heartbreaking than seeing a little one at a party having to eat a banana while all the other kids' faces are covered in chocolate frosting. Well, here at weelicious, we're always up for a challenge. Is there a healthy cupcake with absolutely no refined sugar that parents can be happy to serve their kids and even the most discriminating chocoholic will love?

Well, after testing these cupcake and ganache ( a fancy word for icing) recipes over a dozen times this past week, I can confidently say the answer is yes! Not only is this recipe delicious, it's also the easiest version we tried. All you have to do is dump the ingredients into the mixer, stir, pour and bake! And by using agave instead of sugar, you sacrifice none of the flavor of traditional chocolate cupcakes. Another bonus? You can even make them vegan by using oil instead of butter and rice, almond or soy milk instead of cow's milk. Either way, what you get is a light, perfectly sweet chocolate cupcake that every kid will love. I took a whole batch over to Kenya's sports group on Monday and they disappeared in minutes and even the most health conscious moms were happy!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes  (12 Cupcakes)

  • Prep Time: 5 mins,
  • Cook Time: 20 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
One food misconception I hear all the time is that eating healthy means sacrificing the foods you love most. For example, a bunch of my friends don't like to let their kids have snacks like cake or cupcakes for all the obvious reasons and so the kids...


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted) or oil
  • 2/3 cup honey or agave
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

  • chocolate ganache
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 2. Place ingredients in a mixer or mixing bowl in the order listed and mix well to combine. Batter should be free of lumps. (No need to sift the dry ingredients or place in separate bowls. This is a dump in the bowl, mix and bake recipe).
  3. 3. Fill greased or line muffin cups with batter about 3/4 full.
  4. 5. Bake for 20-22 minutes for regular sized and 15 minutes for mini cupcakes.
  5. 6. Cool and frost.

  6. To make the chocolate ganache frosting:
  7. 1. Heat the cream and agave in a small saucepan just to a boil, whisking to combine.
  8. 2. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Whisk constantly until chocolate is melted.
  9. 3. Pour into a bowl and add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until icing is smooth and butter is incorporated.
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Nutrition Information

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  1. aleena

    September 22, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    These were delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe!

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  4. linvid

    August 24, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Absolutely delicious! I have made these cupcakes three times now but tonight, I poured the ganache frosting into a piping bag and inserted the tip into the center (from the top) of the cupcake, squeezing the filling inside and then over the cupcake as I always have a lot of frosting left over. It’s a little messy but totally worth it! My 4-year old son absolutely loves these cupcakes!

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  6. Jen

    May 12, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Trying to cut back on refined sugar in our house. I’m gonna make these for my son’s 2nd birthday! Thanks so much for the awesome recipe! As a side thought…have you really seen someone give their child a banana while others were eating cupcakes? I hope you were joking. I mean unless they have a dietary restriction, this is just sad.

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  10. Lindsey

    November 21, 2013 at 6:21 am

    will the icing hold up for several hours?

  11. sportsmama

    September 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Thank you for the great recipe! I used maple syrup (I’m Canadian!) instead of agave & they were fabulous. And so easy to make!

  12. Martina

    April 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I recently purchased a box of King Arthur’s unbleached cake flour blend for another recipe. Can I use it in this recipe? If so, would I change any other ingredients? Thanks!

    • catherine

      April 11, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      You should be okay to use that flour with no other alterations :)

  13. Tina

    January 25, 2013 at 2:27 am

    I noticed there are few different Agave products at our local Whole Foods; light, dark, raw, etc. What kind do you use in your recipes?

    • catherine

      January 25, 2013 at 11:36 am

      I use light! You can use dark, but it might change the color of the dish!

  14. Kate Baldwin

    December 19, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I tripled this recipe and made it into a multi-layer cake for my son’s second birthday. It made one rectangular casserole pan, one 9 by 9 square pan, and a few cupcakes. I stacked them all together and topped it with cream cheese`cocoa icing, and then decorated it with a mini loader, digger, dumptruck, chocoalte rocks, and black sanding sugar to make it look like a construction site. The cake recipe was perfect! It was thick, which made a firm cake, perfect for this kind of decorating. It was so easy to make, too. This is definitely a recipe I’m going to come back to over the years.

  15. Mary Seidman

    December 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Loved the Ganache but I may have done it incorrectly because I had only used 2 TBsp of butter and it was a lil runny. It was still awesome, specially for my chocolate loving husband : ) Also, I made a cake instead of cupcakes. The mix was a bit thick and I kept using milk. It tasted great!

  16. claronow

    October 11, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Question about the icing: can I use cocoa powder instead of shaved chocolate? If so, how much would you recommend?

  17. Naomi

    September 21, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I just made these and they taste like glue… I’m a former vegan baker so I know what I’m doing… what do you think happened?!

    • Matheus

      February 2, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      Nettle leaf, not nettle root. Nettle root is good for psattore problems but not so much for what most people want out of nettle. Nettle leaf is one of the herbs that almost anyone can take at any time. I’ve never heard of a recommendation to only use it for a limited time. I know Susun Weed recommends it daily for all seasons of life. It’s gentle, supporting the liver and kidneys, full of nutrients. I drink an infusion of it almost daily and can the difference (low energy) when I stop for a while.

    • catherine

      September 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

      Without being there I can’t know for sure what happened. How did you measure your ingredients? You may have used too much flour or not enough liquid. I scoop the flour into the measuring cups with a spoon and then level with the flat side of a knife. If you pack your flour in the cups or scoop directly from the container you would end up with more flour than I used. What type of flour did you use?

  18. Lindsey

    September 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Why does it call for vinegar? I am just curious since I”ve never seen it with other cupcake recipes.

    • Daniel

      February 2, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      Hello, a good friend of mine just rrrefeed me to your blog. This recipe sounds right up my alley. as for soaking the almond meal, do you grind your own almonds? If you soaked your almonds and then ground them you wouldn’t have to soak the meal.oh and Jann’e I hate to answer on someone else’s blog. But I wouldn’t bake flax. Heating flax will break down it’s nutrients and actually cause the oil to turn “rancid” causing a carcinogen. Flax is incredibly sensitive. The best way to eat flax is freshly ground and topped on cereal, smoothies, waffles, ect.glad I found your blog, looking forward to reading more!Brittany

    • catherine

      September 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

      Since this recipe has no eggs the baking soda and vinegar work together to leaven and bind the cake!

  19. Debbi

    August 6, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Thanks so much for this recipe Catherine. I live in Uk and trying to find good healthy recipes as many of my family and friends have allergies or can’t tolerate some things. My hubby is on Gluten free diet i’m diabetic (althoughI can eat most things as long as I limit the amount) and my son has ADHD so additives not good for him and my tutor at college is Dairy Free so this was so helpful

  20. Michelle

    June 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Just tried the recipe in cake pop pans and it worked beautifully… home make cake pops or doughnut holes :) would the ganache icing be firm enough to hold on the the cake pop? If not, can you suggest an icing recipe that would work. Thanks for all your great recipes :)

    • catherine

      June 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      The icing will hold to the cake pop, but you would probably have to let it dry.

  21. catherine

    May 23, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Vegetable or Canola!

  22. Natasha

    May 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Vegetable oil or olive oil?

  23. Janet

    May 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I found this recipe very salty. I reduced the salt by at least half. 1 banana instead of the butter works great too. Just be sure to spray your liners so the cupcake doesn’t stick to it.

  24. Marcie Peterson

    May 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    These look so good. I am going to try them. I added this link to my site. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  25. Helen

    April 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Is it possible to substitute the ap flour for whole wheat flour? I would actually love to use coconut flour but I know the consistency is different. So looking forward to making these!!

  26. Jessica

    March 20, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    These are soooo easy and perfect for freezing…thank you!! I subbed banana for the oil and they were great as a choc banana cupcake! Perfect for kiddos that can’t get enough banana. :)

  27. tiffany

    March 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    If I wanted to make this a cake what size pan would I use? And long would you bake it. I live in Colorado so at high altitude?

  28. Lori

    February 17, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Is it correct for me to assume that the Cocoa Powder is unsweetened and the vinegar is white vinegar? Thank you!

    • catherine

      February 20, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      Yes, I always use unsweetened cocoa powder so I sometimes forget to specify! Yes, white vinegar! Oy, sometimes this mommy’s brain gets a little scrambled!

  29. Marisa

    February 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Can these be sent through the mail? Do you suggest over night? Is it better to use a shipping store, rather than the US Postal Services?

    Thank you for your speedy reply.


    Marisa DiFalco

  30. Marisa

    February 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Hello. I would like to make these, but I need to know if they will hold up if shipped by mail. I have to and these to Florida and Colorado. Also, is it okay to use regular mail, or should I go to a mail shipping store?

    Thank you for your speedy reply.


    Marisa DiFalco

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  33. amandat

    December 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    absolutly love this recipe! (and all the other weelicious ones) its not super sweet which is great for my 1 year olds first cake and it is super easy to make not weird ingredients or time consuming details. thanks for another go to recipe!

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  36. twosmooshcats

    September 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    What kind of vinegar did you use?

  37. Nicole

    August 31, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Is the Cocoa powder sweet or unsweetened? I need to make these on Friday, if you could send a quick response. Thank you!

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  39. ruth

    December 21, 2010 at 3:56 am

    how many percent fat does heavy cream has got?

  40. Jennifer @ Kiddie Blanket

    December 15, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Just made these again for the third time! They are so moist and delicious! I substituted 1/4 cup oil + 1/4 cup apple sauce for the butter.

  41. Lindsey

    December 4, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Hi, this looks fantastic! But i was wondering, if i use honey instead of agave (because i have to order agave online but honey i can buy in the store and i wanna try this out before my sons birthday (in 3.5 months lol so i have time!)) would i just use the same amount of honey as the recipe calls for agave?

    • catherine

      December 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm

      You can use honey :)

  42. Jewel

    October 8, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Thank you for this great recipe!! And all your recipes, I have to admit I am a little obsessed. Ok a lot obsessed I make at least one of your recipes a day, but usually for every meal. :)
    The best part about this recipe is that you (I mean errr…my child) can lick the bowl. I use the mini muffins and they did come out a little drier (than regular cake) and a bit heavy. Still delicious, but I was wondering if that was just the recipe or if I had messed it up. Is there anything I can do next time to make them more moist next time?

  43. Mitzi

    October 6, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    I just wanted to say… I’ve been searching for an easy, delicious chocolate cake recipe for several days for my daughter’s birthday this weekend. I started out on all of the “fancy” cooking blogs with no success (no, I am not driving to a specialty cooking store for the imported chocolate and somehow I think putting a cup of coffee in a two-year-old’s cake isn’t a good idea). I decided to look over here before giving up for good. Why didn’t I look here first?? Once again, you’ve hit the nail right on the head. Thank you for providing awesome recipes that I feel good about feeding my family.

  44. Lisa

    October 3, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Oh my goodness, Catherine, you did not disappoint with this recipe. I made these into a cake and it turned out divine. My 9 year old birthday boy was impressed with the taste and so was the rest of the family. Thanks for helping us to keep birthdays yummy and healthy!

  45. kimi copeland

    September 24, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    wow, these are awesome! thank you for finding a healthy way to get my chocolate fix.=)

  46. Myrtle

    September 16, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    My son and I made these yesterday and they were delicious! We didn’t even bother with the ganache.

    Only problem is he wants to eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner :) Luckily it only makes a dozen.

  47. Sylvia

    August 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Dumb question. Tsp= teaspoon or tablespoon? I’m used to tsp=teaspoon and Tbsp=tablespoon or t=teaspoon and T=tablespoon. I’m assuming teaspoon, but want to double check.

    • catherine

      August 31, 2010 at 1:20 pm

      Tsp = teaspoon and Tbsp =tablespoon :)

  48. Helen

    August 28, 2010 at 9:00 am

    What kind of flour can we use for this recipe?

    • catherine

      August 30, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      I use AP flour for this recipe :)

  49. Deb

    August 23, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Does the icing harden if refrigerated? I want to decorate these with using a white icing (possibly the cream cheese one as I’m going for sugar-free here) to do monkey faces by combining some of each icing but I would need the base icing (the dark chocolate) to be firm. Is it doable or is this just a soft icing?

  50. Maria

    August 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Do you think the chocolate cupcakes would work with the cream cheese icing from the vanilla cupcake recipe? Choc cupcake seems easier to make and white icing seems easier to clean… also, your little colored liners are so cute. can I buy online? THANKS FOR ALL THE INSPIRATION!!!

    • catherine

      August 23, 2010 at 4:27 pm

      Yes! That sounds so good! They are silicone liners – you can find them online :)

  51. Melanie Schnell

    August 17, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I am so excited I found this recipe — is there a way to make it a cake instead of cupcakes? Also, would it work to use organic sugar instead of agave (for both the cake and the ganache)?? My son turns one tomorrow and his birthday party is this weekend!!
    Thank you!! (I LOVE your website!!)
    Melanie (Gabriel, one year)

    • catherine

      August 18, 2010 at 5:08 pm

      You can definitely pour this into a cake pan bake until a toothpick comes out smooth. You can try to use organic sugar although I have not tested it with sugar, the consistency might be different. You can also use honey as well.

  52. jessica

    February 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Everything you post is amazing! We love it all. Do you have a vanilla version of these cupcakes? My daughter’s birthday is coming up as well, and I would like to offer a variety.
    Thanks so much!
    -Jessica (Gwen 23 months)

  53. Heather

    January 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    LOVE,LOVE,LOVE these!!!! Super easy and yummy!

  54. Natalie Carter

    January 22, 2010 at 12:22 am

    Thank you for such a superb recipe! I’m eager to try the ganache at our daughter’s next birthday party.

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