The BEST Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes

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Moist, fluffy, rich, and with ingredients unlike any cake you’ve seen before – these Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes will blow your mind!

Oh so you like healthy cake too? Or is it the frosting you came for?

Well whichever the cake/frosting reason you find yourself here, I’m very glad that you are so we can chat about how healthy and easy and deeeeeeelish and generally mind-blowing these little cakes are. I was thinking we’d start from the bottom and work our way to sprinkles, cool?

If you ask me which recipe I suggest starting with to anyone new to fruit-sweetened baking…

Or if you ask which recipe is my go-to for sharing with friends and family, vegan or not…

Or which recipe has been remade with more positive reviews than any other…

Or which you should make for your {insert celebratory event here} this weekend…

The answer to any and all of the above is the same: CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES. Do I have the stats to back up all those answers? Nah don’t need ’em. Because I’ve got chocolate-frosted chocolate cupcakes, and no one argues with the girl holding the cupcakes.

So if any dessert around here deserved a revisit/revamp/take 2/opportunity for me to gush on about how and why I love them so, it’s these guys.

Ingredients. They haven’t changed too drastically, but for a quick preview of the how-do-these-things-possibly-make-cake? list:

1. Medjool dates
2. Water
3. Rolled oats
4. Cacao powder
5. Baking powder
6. Non-dairy milk
7. Sea salt
8. Vanilla extract

Short, sweet, and definitely a case of the whole being way more magical than a simple sum of the parts.

Take 2 tweaks. There are a couple of ingredients I left out the first time in favor of keeping the recipe super simple. But those little things can make a big difference on flavor, so we’re not skipping them this time around. I also amped up the chocolate flavor because that is never not a good idea. And there are a couple of technique tips too that will make your life easier and your cupcakes better-textured.

If you ever needed proof of the power of a pinch of salt in sweet things, these cupcakes are it. As is salted caramel. And salted chocolate. But the topic today is cupcakes, so don’t even click those salted-stuff links. A pinch of salt paired with a teaspoon of vanilla extract makes all the difference between this recipe and the old one. It’s like chocolate to CHOCOLATE if you know what I mean. Deeper, richer, bolder, and just. plain. better.

Have you ever in your life said: “this chocolate cake is just a little too chocolatey”? Because I know I haven’t, and I’m guessing you are shaking your head as well. If you answered yes – are you sure you’re okay? So for this updated version, I made the cupcakes chocolatey-er (chocolatier? more chocolatey?) with more cacao powder. And never looked back.

Blend better. There is this thing that happens when you make the same recipe a zillion times and know it by heart and can do it with your eyes closed. No it’s not a mess that you can’t see because your eyes are closed. (Although that too.) The thing is you figure out the ideal, efficient, turns-out-perfect-every-damn-time way to do it. And at this point I’m pretty confident I’ve got blender cupcake batter all figured out.

The first time I made these cupcakes I used a food processor. But if you happen to own a certain brand of food processor of a certain capacity, there is a chance that combining dates + water in it could lead to date-water violently spraying all over your kitchen. I thought it was just me and my machine was defective or something, but nope turns out it has happened to others too. So for the sake of your walls, use a blender.

In the original recipe, I also say to “blend on high”. No, no no. I have since learned that high speed and excessive blending does terrible things to oat flour based baked goods, so actually blending on low speed and just long enough to combine all the ingredients works much better. And honestly if there are a few lumps left I’m not even worried about it. I’d rather stir those in by hand than risk gummy cupcakes from overly aggressive blending. So blend on low and as briefly as possible.

If you don’t have a blender that can handle no-bowl batter jobs like this, my best advice is to blend just the dates and water in whatever you’ve got and then do the rest of the mixing by hand.

Fudgier frosting. Perhaps the biggest transformation actually took place on top of the cupcake rather than inside. The original recipe featured a date-based chocolate frosting made up of just Medjool dates + non-dairy milk + cacao powder. But sometime between then and now I discovered that nut butter makes that mix of frosting things approximately 100000x better. So I’ll be adding that from now on ALWAYS.

Almond or cashew butter (the thicker/less runny the better!) is best for a nutty-neutral just chocolate frosting. But peanut butter…brb, lemme go grab a spoon! And while I’m gone why don’t you go ahead and blend up another batch to actually put on the cupcakes.

The nut butter addition also means this frosting thickens and sets as it chills, so if your frosting seems too soft to pipe right after blending pop it in the fridge for a bit first. And after frosting you definitely want to chill the cupcakes before serving so the frosting doesn’t start to soften again. If you aren’t opposed to it, a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil blended in will make it set that much better too.

This recipe started out as “everything-free cupcakes” but that name never felt quite right. While they are free of oil, gluten, nuts, dairy, eggs, and refined sugar, they do still contain things. Very good things in fact like dates and oats and cacao! So while whipping out a word like “best” seemed a bit over-confident back then, three years and many reviews later I, without hesitation, dub them The BEST Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes. Boom.

Update to the update! The below photos are from a batch I just made swapping the 1/4 cup almond milk with coconut oil and it made them even richer and more delicious. Or 1/4 cup of your favorite nut or seed butter would work too.

If you try them, either leave a comment and rating or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram to tell me if you think they live up to the title.

So now you can be that person at the party who waits until after everyone takes a bite to say: “Oh btw, that chocolate cake you’re stuffing your face with is made of fruit and oatmeal!


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The BEST Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes

4.7 from 48 reviews

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: american

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Moist, fluffy, rich, and with ingredients unlike any cake you’ve seen before – these Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes will blow your mind!



  • 1 cup Medjool dates (200g or about 12 pitted)
  • 1 cup (240g) water
  • 1/3 cup (35g) cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (125g) oat flour*
  • 1/4 cup (60g) non-dairy milk**

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • 1 cup Medjool dates (about 12)
  • 1/22/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup nut or seed butter (almond used)
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: sprinkles for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Combine the dates and water in a high speed blender. Blend on high until smooth.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend on low speed briefly until just combined. DO NOT over blend.
  4. Divide the batter between 6 cupcake tins that have been lightly coated with oil. (I do not recommend paper liners because this recipe is oil-free and they will stick.) Fill each so it is level with the top of the pan.
  5. Smooth the tops with the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes at 350F.
  7. Remove from the oven. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely of ideally chill overnight before frosting.
  8. For the frosting, combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Start with 1/2 cup of milk and add more only as necessary to get it to blend, you want it as thick as possible. Transfer to a piping bag and chill for at least 1 hour to thicken.
  9. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes, or spread with a knife. I recommend storing the cupcakes unfrosted, and frosting right before serving.
  10. Top with sprinkles and enjoy!


*For a grain-free option: Replace the oat flour with 1 1/4 cup almond flour. Add 2 tablespoons tapioca, corn, or arrowroot starch. And replace the non-dairy milk with 1/4 cup of any nut/seed butter.

**For a richer cupcake, replace with 1/4 cup nut/seed butter or coconut oil.


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 220
  • Sugar: 32g
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 51g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 4g

Keywords: baking, easy, healthy, chocolate, birthday, vegan, gluten-free, sugar free

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