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  • Writer's pictureAmanda MacGregor

Cupcakes with a Vegan Chocolate "Buttercream" Frosting | Coconut-Free Recipe

Updated: Apr 15

It was only a matter of time before I would figure out how to make cupcakes I could eat too! This cupcake and vegan chocolate buttercream frosting recipe is free from all the usual ingredients, including corn and coconut. Jump to the Recipe.

Cupcakes with a Vegan Chocolate "Buttercream" Frosting | Coconut-Free Recipe - amanda macgregor centineo - food allergy recipes

Ever since recreating our wedding cake at home so I can eat it too, I have had cupcakes on my mind! Cupcakes were the first thing I taught myself to bake when I needed to adjust to my corn allergy. To my surprise, everyone enjoyed the batches of cupcakes I made and before I knew it, cupcakes just became my thing.

After that, no matter what was going on, it sort of became a thing that I would be bringing a batch of cupcakes that would be themed to the occasion I was attending. For my full line-up for cupcakes, visit our Cupcakes tab.


I was a tad envious that everyone else got to enjoy my cupcakes, but I never took the time to finally learn how to bake a batch with my new restrictions, like coconut and the fact that I struggle to find a dairy-free butter I can have. So in 2022, I made it my goal to finally make a batch of cupcakes I can eat that I am also very proud of! I got to work, researching and making A LOT of test batches (not all great, but still fun to eat). It wasn't until I finalized this recipe, that I was finally proud of my result!

Cupcakes with a Vegan Chocolate "Buttercream" Frosting | Coconut-Free Recipe - amanda macgregor centineo - food allergy recipes

Let's chat about the ingredients!

Here is a quick breakdown of alternative options you can use:

  • Butter: Being that I cannot find a dairy-free/vegan butter that is safe for me to use, I replace butter with oil or palm shortening, depending on what I am making. For my cupcake recipe, I use palm shortening. If you have butter you can safely have, you can replace the palm shortening measurements one-for-one.

  • Sugar: I typically use date sugar when baking. I do not have a big sweet tooth. I find date sugar much more enjoyable than cane sugar. I am also VERY allergic to coconut sugar so I never use it. However, it is a great alternative sugar you can use if you choose.

  • Oil: I use olive oil for chocolate cupcakes and sunflower oil for all other flavors. You can use canola oil if you rather though - again, another ingredient I am allergic to so I don't use it.

  • Corn-Free Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is famously made with granulated sugar and corn starch, making it a big NO-NO for us corn-free peeps. Luckily enough, I have come across this brand that makes corn-free powdered sugar that we can use instead. Wholesome's Powdered Sugar is made with organic sugar and organic tapioca starch.

  • Aquafaba: also known as the liquid you will find inside your can of chickpeas. Yes, aquafaba is chickpea juice, a very thick, clear-colored juice. It sort of resembles egg whites, which is why it is typically used as an egg replacement when a recipe calls for egg whites. However, aquafaba isn't only made from chickpeas. Any legume can's liquid would do. I haven't experimented yet with other beans and usually just stick with the liquid from my chickpea cans.

Now that we tackled some of the ingredients you will be using, let's get to baking!

Cupcakes with a Vegan Chocolate "Buttercream" Frosting

Corn & Coconut-Free Recipe



For the Cupcake:

  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

  • 1 ¼ cup oat flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar

  • ½ cup cocoa powder (only if you are planning to make the cupcakes chocolate)

  • ½ cup palm shortening (or dairy-free butter)

  • 1 cup sugar: date, maple, or cane

  • 2 eggs, or an egg replacement

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • ½ cup dairy-free milk of choice

  • 1 tablespoon oil (we use olive or sunflower oil)

For the Frosting:

  • 2 cups palm shortening

  • 5 cups corn-free powdered sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • ½ cup of aquafaba, room temperature

  • ½ cup cocoa powder (omit if you don't want chocolate frosting)



For the Cupcake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cupcake pan with cupcake papers and set aside.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the two flours, baking soda, cream of tartar, and cocoa powder with a whisk. Set aside.

  3. In a large mixing bowl or using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, blend the palm shortening until smooth and creamy. Then add in the sugar and beat for about 1 to 2 minutes to whip it. This will add air to the mixture.

  4. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating in between each egg. Once the eggs are incorporated, add in the vanilla, then mix just until combined.

  5. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix until combined. At this point, the batter is going to be very thick. Add the second half of the flour, the milk, and the oil and mix until everything is starting to loosen up, but don't over-mix it as the batter does need to remain somewhat thick,

  6. Divide the batter among the 12 liners in your prepared pan, filling each cup 3/4 of the way.

  7. Bake for 22 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test (insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean). Remove from the oven and allow cooling for a few minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to a wire cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool fully before decorating!

For the Frosting:

  1. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream your shortening, the same as you did with the cupcakes, on low speed until smooth and creamy.

  2. Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, mixing on a low speed until completely incorporated. I advise using a mixer bowl cover or tea towel to cover the top of the bowl while mixing the powdered sugar, as it will create a cloud of sugar dust.

  3. If you are making your frosting chocolate, add in the cocoa powder with the 5th cup of powdered sugar, and mix until fully incorporated.

  4. Add in your vanilla and aquafaba. Mix on medium-high for about five to ten minutes, or until your preferred level of fluffiness has been achieved. Keep in mind that the fluffier it gets, the less weight the buttercream will be able to hold.

  5. When you reach your level of fluffiness, switch to a low speed and mix for about a minute or two to get rid of any bubbles that form.

For the assembling:

  1. Add the frosting to a piping bag or decorating tool and pipe it onto cupcakes. For a video tutorial, watch here!

  2. Top with your chosen decorations: sprinkles, Unreal Chocolate Gems, etc.



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