Cupcakes/ Dessert/ Recipes

vegan chocolate cupcakes with chai buttercream

I’m so glad y’all liked the pictures! I’m pretty convinced Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places on earth. On top of the photos, we also shot a short time lapse video, which I’ll post this afternoon.

But first, let’s talk birthday cake.

I’m blessed that I got to enjoy two! The first one was made by Ashley and was an absolutely diiiiiivine chocolate mint cake. I enjoyed it thoroughly after a small pizza get together with some friends last Thursday night.

The second cake I enjoyed were these cupcakes that I made to take with us to Tahoe.  Last week at the yoga studio, I experienced the most divine vegan chocolate cake with chai buttercream from a gluten-free bakery in town and ever since then I’ve been craving another slice of that cake.

So Friday afternoon before we left, I did what any cakeaholic would do on the eve of her 26th year.

I took matters into my own hands.

The chocolate cake hails from a tried and true recipe I’ve been making for years. And for the buttercream, I steeped a very strong (teeny tiny) cup of chai tea to infuse my billowy frosting with. The end result was a creamy, slightly spicy, perfect buttercream that paired wonderfully with the rich chocolate cake.

Ridiculous. I’m shocked they even lasted the car ride up.

Well, I might have eaten one in the car.

And another when we got there.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream

makes 10 cupcakes

chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World <—love

Print this recipe!


for cupcakes–

1 cup soy milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup canola oil

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

for frosting–

1 stick earth balance buttery spread (1/2 cup)

about 3-4 cups powdered sugar

2 chai teabags

2 T boiling water

2 T soy milk

1/4 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the vinegar with the soy milk and let sit for five minutes.

Whisk together the soy milk/vinegar, canola oil, sugar and vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add wet to dry and mix until combined.

Pour batter into greased cupcake molds and bake for 25 minutes, or until springy. Let cool completely before frosting.

While cupcakes are cooling, beat the earth balance until soft. Brew the tea in the two tablespoons of boiling water and let sit for ten minutes to steep. Then, add the soy milk. Add that mixture, plus the powdered sugar and cinnamon to the earth balance and continue to beat for 10 minutes until very light and fluffy.

Frost cooled cupcakes using this method or with a pastry bag and large star tip.



1 hour






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  • Errign
    June 14, 2011 at 4:36 am

    Yum – chocolate & chai, just my style. Have you ever made Earl Grey cupcakes?!

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    June 14, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Oh my! These look deadly. Great recipe Jenna!

  • Em
    June 14, 2011 at 4:49 am

    Yes! Now I have a perfect birthday treat for tomorrow! The big 2-8! Yahoo. 🙂 Your recipes are always really non-intimidating; thank you for that, Jenna.

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg
    June 14, 2011 at 4:51 am

    I love chai — and adding it to buttercream? Genius. What a perfect birthday treat!

  • Baking 'n' Books
    June 14, 2011 at 5:04 am

    You didn’t make them GF then like the bakery?

    They look amazing…it’s kind of cruel you post this first thing in the morning actually 😉

    It looks like there’s frosting in the middle there – THAT would be even better! I love cakes that have a middle frosting layer.

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    June 14, 2011 at 5:05 am

    I’m trying to think who I know that has a birthday soon. I’m in a stretch of time lacking in birthdays. Think I could use the excuse-er celebration of the day that my boyfriend and I met? There are always plenty of dating anniversaries!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    June 14, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Oh my goodness, these look phenomenal. Have you seen the film Patch Adams where Robin Williams has all the old people at the hospital swimming in a big pool of spaghetti because it’s one of the old ladies’ dreams? Well, swimming in a pool of buttercream frosting is one of mine!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    June 14, 2011 at 5:07 am

    “cup of chai tea to infuse my billowy frosting with. “– Now THAT is food blogger/food writer verbiage. I love it!

    And I love the sounds of the buttercream. Pretty much I could eat it by the spoon and never tire of it!

    And yes, Tahoe being one of the most beautiful places on earth…it’s always when I am there, and in the Wine Country, that I think oh I could live up here. And then, I am reminded that NO I am a SoCal girl..b/c I am lightweight with the winters. But yes…it’s soooooo magnificent up there!

  • Faith @ lovelyascharged
    June 14, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Chai is so underrated in desserts – love the frosting idea!

  • Alexia (Dimple Snatcher)
    June 14, 2011 at 5:14 am

    And so cute, too!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    June 14, 2011 at 5:15 am

    oh, those look absolutely incredible!

  • Jenny
    June 14, 2011 at 5:16 am

    I loveeeeeeee!!!!!!!! Must try SOON! Thanks for sharing!

  • Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy
    June 14, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Yum! I want to make those very soon!

  • kate
    June 14, 2011 at 5:38 am

    ooh these look delicious I cant wait to try them out I love anything chai

  • Kim {Recipes To Run On}
    June 14, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Is there anything better than a delicious cake topped with buttercream? I’m SO anxious to try this chai version!!!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    June 14, 2011 at 6:09 am

    chai buttercream…amazing! These look sooo good!

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    June 14, 2011 at 6:25 am

    I love chai anything! I made chai cupcakes last fall with a chai buttercream and they were amazing. not made with chai tea though, just chai-like spices.

  • Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum
    June 14, 2011 at 6:51 am

    I’ve been experimenting with more vegan recipes lately… and vegan baking is next on my list! I love the chai frosting on these!

  • Caroline @ chocolate and carrots
    June 14, 2011 at 6:53 am

    I love these! 🙂

  • kalli
    June 14, 2011 at 6:55 am

    oh those look like heaven! yum…….this weekend i had a cupcake fail but maybe i should try these 🙂

  • Cait's Plate
    June 14, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Oh my. Those took my breath away. I love the chai buttercream. I never would have thought of that!

  • Ari@ThE DiVa DiSh
    June 14, 2011 at 7:06 am

    I LOVE chocolate and Chai together 🙂 Match made in heaven!

  • mary (sisters running the kitchen)
    June 14, 2011 at 7:08 am

    yum these look incredible!! I bet that icing tastes so good and the cake looks so moist!

  • Chelsa
    June 14, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Wow that look amazing.

  • Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet
    June 14, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Yay another chai recipe 🙂 I have to try gluten free vegan baking one day, but I’m so used to my eggs and regular flour!

    I’m sure these were amazing for your birthday!

  • Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes
    June 14, 2011 at 7:38 am

    These look amazing!!

  • Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter)
    June 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

    THOSE look magnificent. You know, it’s hilarious because my boyfriend freaks out at the mention of the word “vegan” or “vegetarian” – even in desserts – but something like these cupcakes would totally fool him, and he’d adore every bite, I’m sure of it!
    -Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter)

  • R @ Learning As I Chop
    June 14, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Chai buttercream?! Wow.

  • Keely (Sky Blue)
    June 14, 2011 at 8:00 am

    This looks *insanely* good…and I’m not even a huge chocolate cake person. But this is making me drool. Must try it…

  • jen @ taste life
    June 14, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Mmmmmmm. Chai frosting sounds amazing!

  • mary (what's cookin' with mary)
    June 14, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Chai buttercream sounds really marvelous Jenna. It almost makes me want to try and make buttercream 😉

  • Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove
    June 14, 2011 at 8:16 am

    These look amazing! My fiancee loves Chai Tea so I may have to whip these up. Actually, I’m going to.
    “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World” is one of my favorite cookbooks. Have you tried the Apple Cider ones?? They changed my life (maybe a bit dramatic but they are amazing).

  • Monika @ powered by paprika
    June 14, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Jenna! Those look so good!

    Chai = love

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    June 14, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I’m currently obsessing over Celestial Seasons Indian Chai. It’s becoming quite an addiction, so I can only imagine what mixing it into icing will be! Pure bliss…or destruction 😉

  • Michelle | Gold-Hearted Girl
    June 14, 2011 at 8:42 am

    This could be the most genius combination EVER.

  • Urban Wife
    June 14, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Holy.yum. This looks decadent and I’m pretty sure if I made these, they would NOT last more than 2 days. 🙂

  • Moni'sMeals
    June 14, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Lovely! Have you made these before?? They look super!

    I am on it, as I have wanted to try this chia frosting for awhile now. 😉

  • rachel katherine
    June 14, 2011 at 9:09 am

    looks really good. i picked up the china study at your recommendation last night…very interesting so far. thanks for the suggestion.

  • Jamie@everydaydolce
    June 14, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Yum! Those are beautiful little treats 🙂
    I’ve been a little nervous to try chai flavored frosting/ dessert but I think these cupcakes have won me over. Thanks for posting.

  • Heather
    June 14, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Chai buttercream couldn’t sound better if it tried! Holy heaven…

  • Jenny
    June 14, 2011 at 9:30 am

    OMG those look absolutely insanely delicious! I’ve been doing a lot of vegan baking recently and have definitely not had luck like this haha. Will have to follow your recipes and earn myself a reputation as the baller vegan baker 🙂

  • Sarah
    June 14, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Oh my gosh, what a great birthday cake! I can’t wait to try that recipe. I turned 30 this year and my goal is to discover my favorite chocolate cake. I even had a chocolate cake party! I made these vegan ones from Joy the Baker with avocado ( They were amazing! Even my dad enjoyed them…..and I don’t think he’s ever had a vegan treat.

    Long story, but now I’m all about vegan cakes:)

  • katie @KatieDid
    June 14, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I just finished making these! this recipe was perfect timing, as it’s my roommate’s birthday today and she lovessss chai tea. I’m not the biggest chai fan but I just tested one and WOW they are perfectly spiced. thanks for the recipe 🙂

  • NicoleD
    June 14, 2011 at 10:22 am

    The combination of flavors sounds oh so yummy! Congrats on two birthday cakes!

  • Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles
    June 14, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Cupcakes should be a primary food group. Our kitchen is the midst of a remodel. The thing I already miss is the oven. No baking for six weeks! What’s a girl to do!?!

  • Danielle
    June 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

    These look great!!

    How did you bring your SRL on the water? Do you have a waterproof case for it?

    I am so nervous to bring mine water trips in fear of it wanting to take a swim!


    • jenna
      June 14, 2011 at 11:04 am

      We stuck the camera in a waterproof bag on the kayak. 🙂 A plastic bag works well too!

  • Rebecca
    June 14, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I want to make these NOW! They look amazing, and in response to the first comment, I bet Earl Grey frosting would be equally amazing. Basically anything tea = LOVE.

  • Carrie
    June 14, 2011 at 11:23 am

    My coworkers looked at me funny when they saw me licking my monitor. I showed them the pictures, they still looked at me strangely. Go figure…

    Do you think coconut milk would be okay instead of soy?

  • Dee
    June 14, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Chai buttercream? I die!

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed
    June 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

    YUM – I wish one would magically appear in front of me hehe.

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  • Lily O'Dare
    June 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    hi jenna! commenting you from Vero Beach, FL ! I will definitely be making these 🙂 the chai frosting looks awesome. I have a standby vegan chocolate cake recipe that I normally use, here is my video for it

    ours are pretty similar!


  • Justeen @ Blissful Baking
    June 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Ohh love the chocolate and chai combo! It reminds me of my favorite chocolate chai smoothie from Moonstruck chocolates. It’s to die for!!

  • Miranda
    June 14, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I’m in love! Anything CHAI is amazing. I’ll take 1 dozen please 😀

  • Mellie
    June 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I’ve never had chai, I like coffee better than tea. But the cupcakes look delicious and so does your other cake.

  • Meghan @ StruggleMuffins
    June 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Did I comment on this already today? I might have. I definitely read it…and drooled over it…earlier today. Chai has never really done much for me but those fluffy peaks o’ frosting just look so yummy; I can’t imagine them not being delicious.

  • Kari @ bite-sized thoughts
    June 14, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    How funny…I made vegan chocolate cupcakes very similar to these on the weekend 🙂 My icing was vanilla though, and yours looks much more professional!

  • DessertForTwo
    June 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I adore vegan cupcakes. Makes me feel less guilty about shoving 3 in my face 🙂

    I’m a big Isa fan too…aren’t her vegan cookbooks just great??

  • Lynna @wholeytreats
    June 14, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    These sound divine! I love that the buttercream is infused with actual chai tea instead of just ground spices. I made earl grey infused cupcakes once and they were a huge hit– probably one of my all time favorite cupcakes!

  • Betty
    June 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    hey these look SMASHING! love that u infused chai tea into it :O)

  • Angela
    June 14, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    YUM. I love Chai tea but would never have thought to use it like this. Also, I think I’ve been making the same chocolate cake for years as well – why fix it if it ain’t broke, right?

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  • amy_c
    June 15, 2011 at 8:38 am


    These look great! I’ve never used earth balance buttery spread and am wanting to make these for a friend who can’t have dairy. Does this need to remain refrigerated after the buttercream is made or can it get to room temperature and be okay?

    • jenna
      June 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      You can store them at room temperature the day you bake them (like on the counter) but I would pop them in the fridge at night!

      • amy_c
        June 15, 2011 at 9:32 pm

        Thanks 🙂

  • Laurie
    June 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm


  • Lindsey
    June 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I made these cupcakes tonight and they are fantastic! Thanks for posting the recipe!

  • Christa
    June 16, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Do you mind sharing what cupcake pan you use? Your cupcake always look so moist and fluffy, which I’m sure is mainly due to your culinary skills 🙂 but I’d also love to know what pan you use or any recs you have for perfect cupcakes. Thanks!

    • jenna
      June 16, 2011 at 9:21 am

      I just a silicon cupcake pan but my trick is that I usually fill up the molds all the way instead of just 3/4th of the way full. I love big overflowing cupcakes!

  • Evan Thomas
    June 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Chai buttercream–why does that sound like everything I’ve ever wanted in life? Oh, because it is.

  • emm
    June 17, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Oh wow, these look amazing! I’m going to have to have a play around to make them gluten-free also 🙂 Loving your blog all the way from Australia!

  • Shana
    June 17, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Un problemo. I live in Mexico and there is no such thing as Earth’s Balance here. Oh how I miss it!! Any other butter substitutions you can recommend?

  • Cristen
    June 19, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I baked these cupcakes today. First time baking vegan. So good!!! I did make a couple adjustments to the frosting though. My chai wasn’t strong enough so I added some extra cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to a non-vegan cupcake!

    @Shana I couldn’t find the Earth Balance either so I had to make the frosting non-vegan and used unsalted butter.

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  • Nik
    June 26, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Oh, my my! Made these on Friday and they’re hands down the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever made. The chai buttercream was just perfect too. Nom nom. 🙂

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    July 26, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I made these last night for my dad’s 60th birthday. He is a HUGE chocolate fan (and certainly not vegan), but he loved them and went back for seconds! he even had one this morning 🙂 They are for sure the best baked good I have ever made. I plan on blogging about them soon!! I added extra cinnamon, allspice, cloves, vanilla, and one more teabag to the frosting for extra spice. Thanks for this amazing vegan recipe!

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    October 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    These were AMAZING! Very moist and not overly sweet. I used Stash Decaf Hazelnut Chocolate tea instead of the Chai and the frosting was so good. Almost too good 🙂

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    December 23, 2011 at 7:23 am

    planning on making these for christmas eve!! thnk they’ll go over well with a non-vegan crowd?

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    Amazing chai tea icing recipe! I subbed half the oil with applesauce and replace a part of the sugar with splenda and it came out beautifully!

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    March 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Just found your blog & stumbled across your yummy looking cupcake!
    Done a bit of vegan baking & one of the recipes called for Chai concentrate, do I still have on hand, would you know how much I should use in your recipe to replace the tea bags? Want to make these for a work meeting this week!
    Puppy Hugs,

    • jenna
      March 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      You could use 2 tablespoons chai concentrate in exchange for the water/teabags.

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    March 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    OMG, this cupcake is delscioso!!! For my first time eating & baking a Vegan cupcake-I’m in heaven!!! I work from home, but am going into the office tomorrow with these super yummies. I’m not going to tell them they are vegan & they won’t be suspcious either, because no one knows that I went vegan 2 mos ago. I’ll just be smiling inside while they enjoy!
    TFS this wonderful recipe..ohhh & I used the 2 T. Chai concentrate like you had suggested when I emailed you!

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    On va dire que ce n’est pas inexact !!!