Vegan Chocolate Passion Fruit Cupcakes

Created by Laura Wright
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Vegan chocolate passion fruit cupcakes with coconut cream frosting. Moist chocolate cupcakes, clouds of coconut cream and tangy passion fruit

vegan chocolate passionfruit cupcakes + coconut cream frosting //
vegan chocolate passionfruit cupcakes + coconut cream frosting //
vegan chocolate passionfruit cupcakes + coconut cream frosting //
passionfruit //

I believe in letting things line up as they will with minimal force or interference. Organic growth. I don’t like to push anything too much and sometimes this tendency accelerates the pace of life more than expected, and sometimes it forces certain elements to lie still. Never too eager to push things forward persistently, but not laid back enough to watch any shred of a plan go to pieces without intervening either. Often enough, I find that these subtly strong undercurrents bring a cluster of life events all to a head at once.

I don’t know how else to say it. I’m making a cookbook! I’ve been keeping it secret from you for so long. I almost slipped a handful of times too. Over a hundred new recipes to suit any season, time of day, or movement in life. All vegan of course with simple, natural ingredients. My aim was to offer a physical companion to this site that would carry on those familiar themes of nourishment, seasonality, and celebration.

Recipes that feel just as right to make for a Tuesday night with your partner as they do for a proper holiday feast with the neighbours and friends. Things to make that are simple enough, but elegant and feel-good at the same time. There will be tons of photos and anecdotes to encourage. It’s going to be published by Avery in the US and Penguin Books in Canada.

So now that I’ve got that out in the open, I can tell you that I’m beginning the work of testing the recipes and ideas to make sure everything lines up with tasty/beautiful results. My goal is to be photographing this thing all summer so that the pages are full of dreamy, golden light. My posts here might be a touch more infrequent in the next year or so, and I hope you don’t mind.

Publishing a personal collection of stories from my kitchen only entered the realm of possibility because of your kind attention over the years. I’m overcome with a constant and gentle appreciation for this chance at a fulfilling career that feels just right for this moment in my life. Like a warm lightbulb glow that touches everything and never goes away. The timing is right, and I’m glad that we get to enjoy it together.

I made a simple enough, but sort of unusual treat to celebrate. A one-bowl chocolate cupcake with an airy coconut whip frosting and some tangy and tart dollops of fragrant passionfruit for a little interest. I love chocolate and passionfruit together. I think it’s the stuff of winter dessert dreams–fresh and rich at the same time. It evokes that whole unlikely-but-delicious chocolate and lemon combo. There’s a lot of flavour and texture contrast with this one and I think that’s why it’s such an appealing combo for me.

To birthdays, cakes, books, projects, life! :)

vegan chocolate passionfruit cupcakes + coconut cream frosting //
vegan chocolate passionfruit cupcakes + coconut cream frosting //

Vegan Chocolate Passion Fruit Cupcakes

Vegan chocolate passion fruit cupcakes with coconut cream frosting. Moist chocolate cupcakes, clouds of coconut cream and tangy passion fruit
No ratings yet
chocolate passionfruit cupcakes // via @thefirstmess
Servings 12



  • 1 ½ cups light spelt flour
  • 1 cup coconut palm or cane sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brewed coffee
  • ½ cup filtered water

Coconut Frosting & Assembly

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • pinch vanilla powder or splash of vanilla extract
  • 3-4 ripe passion fruits


  • Most grocery stores are cool enough that you can test the setting properties of coconut milk for the icing right in the aisle (at least I find this to be true in my part of the world). Give the can a shake and if you feel liquid sloshing around, move on to the next one. It might look silly, but it’s worth the time.


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with paper cups and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the light spelt flour, coconut palm sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the sunflower oil, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, coffee, and water. As quickly as you can, stir the batter with a spatula until smooth and fully combined. Quickly divide batter evenly among paper cups in the muffin pan. (you want to act fast because the vinegar and acidic components start working together as soon as they’re combined.
  • Slide the tray into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until cakes spring back when lightly touched or a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake emerges clean. Cool cupcakes completely.
  • Open the cans of coconut milk and scoop out the top layer of solid cream, leaving the residual water in the can for another use. Place coconut cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. To the bowl, add the maple syrup and vanilla powder. Whisk on high until you have an airy and smooth cream.
  • Divide coconut cream icing among the 12 cooled cupcakes, smoothing it out and leaving little pockets at the top for the passionfruit.
  • Cut passionfruits in half and scoop out about one teaspoon of pulp per cupcake. Serve immediately.
vegan chocolate passionfruit cupcakes + coconut cream frosting //

26/02/2015 (Last Updated 09/02/2023)
Posted in: coconut milk, creamy, dessert, nut free, quick, sour, sweet, vegan


Recipe Rating

  • Kat

    I know it’s an older post, but, wanted to say how much I loved how these little cakes turned out. I even subbed plain old all purpose flour for the spelt and reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup… didn’t have coconut milk so made a simple passionfruit icing. These are my new go-to chocolate cupcakes. the coffee makes them so deep, aromatic, and delicious. Funny, but a local donut shop makes an incredible passionfruit curd filled coffee glazed donut and as I was eating these cupcakes I was completely reminded of them. So beautiful!

  • Alicia (lisa louloubel)

    These look amazing, chocolate and passionfruit = heaven!!

  • Emma - She can't eat what?!

    These look absolutely stunning – and are suitable for a low FODMAP diet if I use gluten free flour so I’m over the moon! Can’t wait to try the coconut and passionfruit flavours together!

  • Theresa

    First of all: I love browsing through your blog, it’s full of inspiration! I have been a reader for a while and when I first saw this recipe, I couldn’t wait to finally try it myself. But unfortunately, the cupcakes didn’t turn out as imagined, I am quite disappointed. It took twice the baking time (40 minutes!), the consistency before was pudding-like. Furthermore, the cupcakes ended up not rising at all – they flattened more and more during the baking process and turned out dense (now it’s as much cupcake as topping). And the taste… in my opinion it should be more chocolatey. There is also some weird unexpected flavour, I guess it’s the vinegar. Not really happy with these cupcakes…

    All the best from far away Austria,

    • Laura

      Hi Theresa,

      I’m so sorry that these were a disappointment for you! I know at least a few people have made this recipe with good results. I’ll try to address some of the problems here, but I’ve only made these one way (as described in the recipe), so I’m not sure how helpful I can be.

      Honestly, I can’t explain the longer baking time. Maybe my oven is hotter and I’m just not aware of it? Do you live at a higher altitude than sea level possibly? This observation is troubling to me because the baking time is such a crucial component. I don’t want to lead others astray. I wonder if your flour was fresher than mine? This definitely isn’t a poofy, super-domed cupcake, but they shouldn’t have flattened more as they baked either. Did the surface appear sort of mottled when they were done baking? These cupcakes rise because of the interaction between the baking soda and acidic components (cocoa + vinegar). Because I use that interaction as the leavening agent, as soon as you’re done mixing the batter, it has to be scooped into the cupcake tins and baked immediately. I just realized that I did not specify this in the recipe and will do so now.

      I’m sorry they weren’t chocolaty enough to suit your taste either. I’m curious if you made any adjustments to the recipe at all? Or if European versions of tablespoons/teaspoons etc are different than the North American counterparts and THAT may have effected the recipe..? Any other feedback that you feel comfortable sending my way would be so appreciated! I might even try making these up this afternoon just to re-visit the recipe.

      Thanks so much + all best,

  • Bella

    wow, these look mouthwateringly good! I live in Hawaii and we just reached the end of our passion fruit (a.k.a. lilikoi) season, and I’m so sad about it. Just a month ago I could take a five minute walk from my house and pick up a shirt-full of passion fruit from vines growing on the side of the road. I’ll keep this recipe in mind for next season. Thanks so much!
    p.s. I made a passion fruit sangria a couple months ago, and it turned out a-maz-ing!

  • Peri

    Best cupcakes recipe ever. Fresh and with fruits and awesome look!

  • Kate

    Holy mackerels, this BBQ sauce is AMAZING! I just had some with tinned lentils on top of buttery toast.

  • SouthernSpoon

    A belated happy 30th and huge congrats on the cookbook! I find inspiration from your blog all the time and am constantly recommending it to friends. What a joy it will be to have a hard copy version on my cookbook shelf. Good luck!

  • kate

    Very much looking forward to your book! Congratulations!
    These cupcakes also look divine – I wish I could get my hands on some passionfruit to make them! :)

  • Laurel

    A little late here – but wanted to say congratulations. I am currently eating your recipe entitled “fall vegetable slaw with hot + sweet ginger dressing” and it is AMAZING! It’s probably the 5th or 6th recipe I’ve made of yours and they are always much more delicious than I expect them to be. Now I just trust I will like whatever recipe of yours I’m using whether I think I like the ingredients or not. I love your recipes because I get a CSA box and they allow me to use up my produce in delicious and creative ways. All of this is to say I am very excited about you publishing a cookbook and I will buy it as soon as it becomes available! Thank you so much for helping me eat delicious, healthy, wonderful meals!

  • Kathryne

    GIRL!!! Been meaning to send you so many congrats. Jeanine may have spilled the beans in Austin. :) Thrilled for you and cannot wait to see the undoubtedly gorgeous cookbook that you are creating. Hooray!

  • Mike

    Just a comment on these photographs. Such interesting dynamic of light and shadow. It complements these delicious chocolate passion fruit cupcakes very well. Keep up the good work and congratulations on the book.

  • Lindsey @ Lou Lou Biscuit

    These are gorgeous and unique! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Sini

    Laura, you beautiful soul. I was beyond excited when I first stumbled upon this piece of news on social media (Twitter?), and this post just left me teary-eyed. I love seeing you being so passionate about what you’re doing, and to have just a fraction of that passion in my home, on my kitchen counter, feels extra special. So thank you for being so awesome. Hugs and cheers! xoxo