Vegan Halloween Recipes: Chocolate "Brain" Cupcakes

October 25, 2017
In an effort to bring *the* tastiest—yet equally creepy—treat to a Halloween work social, I decided upon scrumptious chocolate cupcakes because you can never go wrong with the mouthwatering richness chocolate desserts have to offer. Of course, a simple cupcake isn’t the least bit scary hence the generous globs of gooey “brains” slathered on top. The best part of this recipe is that you don’t have to use any artificial food coloring to get the brain-like frosting the perfect pinkish hue. Instead of using toxic food dyes, you can easily use beet juice to give your “brains” a little color. If you want your “brains” to look especially realistic, you can also add beet juice on top of the frosting to give it a bloody feel, but this is completely optional. With that being said, baking these spooky treats is incredibly easy, but the "brains" may take a little more finesse. Worry not! All you need is a steady hand and voilà! Your tasty cerebrums will be the talk of any Halloween party! And if you do happen to mess up, you can always scrape the icing off and try, try, try again!
Vegan Halloween Recipes: Chocolate Brain Cupcakes

Vegan Halloween Recipes: Chocolate “Brain” Cupcakes

Recipe Type: Sweets
utensils YIELDS 12 cupcakes
herb graphic for recipe card
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unrefined sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons beet juice
        graphic for recipe card


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil cupcake liners. 2. Prepare the batter: Combine the almond milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside to curdle. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Once the almond milk mixture has curdled, stir in the unsweetened applesauce and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until no lumps remain. 3. Bake the cupcakes: Divide the batter evenly between the 12 paper liners until each cup is about ¾ full of batter. Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes and test with a toothpick to be certain the cupcakes are done (insert the toothpick into the center of the cupcake and if it comes out clean they are good to go!). Allow the cupcakes to cool completely. 4. Prepare the icing: Combine the vegan butter, vanilla, almond milk, powdered sugar, and beet juice into a bowl. Use a spoon to gently blend the ingredients together prior to using a mixer so that the mixture doesn't splatter. Then, use a mixer to blend the ingredients together until they are nice and creamy. 5. Frost the cupcakes: Keep in mind it is best to frost the cupcakes immediately before serving them as the icing can melt and become runny when it is exposed to warm temperatures. If you are not ready to frost them, you can store the cupcakes (unfrosted) in a container and refrigerate the frosting until you are ready to use. When you are ready to frost the cupcakes, spoon a small portion of the icing into a small, round-tipped piping bag (refilling when necessary), and slowly pipe two lines down the center of the cupcake. Next, begin piping a winding, squiggly pattern onto each side of the “brain.” Trust me when I say I did not get this right on the first try, so if you mess up, simply scrape the icing off the cupcake and back into the bowl and try again. When you have finished applying the frosting, place the cupcakes into the freezer for 3-5 minutes, or until the frosting has hardened. 6. Applying the "blood": This step is completely optional. I chose to omit the "bloody" liquid from my cupcakes as I am not the biggest fan of beets, BUT if you want your "brains" to leave partygoers feeling extra squeamish you can mix 2 tablespoons of beet juice along with 1/2 teaspoon of cocoa powder into a bowl and apply the juice to each cupcake using a spoon. You can also dip a cloth or paper towel into the juice and apply it to the cupcake by gently dabbing it onto the frosting. Enjoy!
More vegan Halloween recipes: "Eye Ball" Almond Butter Energy Bites
Homemade Sunbutter Cups
__ Photo: Audrey Enjoli

Audrey resides in Los Angeles, California with her rescue dog, Gullah Blue. Audrey is a passionate writer and advocates sustainable and cruelty-free living. Follow Audrey on Instagram @audreyenjoli.


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