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Chocolate Cupcakes with Fig Caramel and Vegan Frosting

Vegan chocolate cupcakes filled with fig caramel and vegan frosting are not just for special occasions. The vegan caramel is an amazing cupcake filling.
Course: Dessert
Keyword: fig caramel, vegan caramel, vegan frosting
Servings: 12
Calories: 1012kcal


For the Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (63g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4.5g) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (188ml) oat milk (or other unsweetened plant-based milk such as soy)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) canola oil (or other neutral oil such as avocado)
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (188ml) hot coffee

For the Fig Caramel:

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (63g) water
  • 6 tablespoons (82g) refined coconut oil**
  • 3/4 cup (188ml) full-fat canned coconut cream*** (no gums)
  • 1 cup (140g) Orchard Choice® or Sun-Maid® California Dried Figs (preferably Golden Figs for a lighter filling)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract

For the Vegan Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (114g) vegan butter sticks (room temperature—not tub style)
  • 1/2 cup (92g) non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 3 1/2 cups (350g) confectioner's sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons (15-30ml) oat milk (or other plant-based milk such as soy)
  • 6 dried figs (cut in half, for garnish)


For the Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda together, whisking to blend.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the plant-based milk, coffee, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract. Add this to the flour mixture and whisk just until combined. Do not over-mix.
  • Fill the paper liners about ⅔-¾ full with the cupcake batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with a few cooked crumbs. Cool the bases in the tray for 5-10 minutes and then transfer each cupcake to a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before filling and frosting.

For the Fig Caramel

  • Whisk the sugar and water in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, stop stirring. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 8-10 minutes until it starts to become an amber color. During this time if the sugar starts to crystallize on the sides, carefully brush the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve the sugar. Swirl the pot gently if the caramelization is not even. Keep an eye on it as the change in color happens quickly, and it can burn very easily.
  • Once you have a nice light amber color, turn off the heat and add the refined coconut oil, whisking well. Whisk in the coconut cream taking care as the mixture will bubble vigorously. Stir in the salt and vanilla extract. Let cool until safe to add to the food processor. 
  • Cut stems from the dried figs; chop the figs. Add them to a food processor and pulse until their skins are broken down, scraping down the sides. 
  • Stream in the warm caramel and process until the figs are blended. The seeds will remain intact. Pour the fig caramel into a jar and let it come down to room temperature before filling the cupcakes. 

For the Vegan Frosting

  • In a stand mixer with a balloon whisk (or with a large bowl and beaters), beat the vegan butter and shortening together until smooth. Add in the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time. Beat for 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally. Add in the vanilla and beat another minute. Add the plant-based milk a teaspoon at a time beating well after each addition, until the frosting is a pipe-able consistency. Slightly firm is easier to manage than too soft. Beat for 5 minutes more.

To Assemble the Cupcakes:

  • Using the wide end of a frosting tip, an apple corer or small knife, remove the centers from the cupcakes - the cavity should be about ¾ inch wide, and ¾ way into the cupcake. 
  • Pipe the centers of the cupcakes with the fig caramel.
  • Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and garnish with a slice of dried fig. 


Recipe & Photographs by Bronwyn Fraser

*may use decaffeinated coffee. Coffee flavor is not detectable in the cupcakes but it intensifies the chocolate flavor.
**refined coconut oil has had the coconut flavor removed which makes for a more neutral tasting caramel. The coconut milk does not impart coconut flavor to the caramel. 
***may chill full fat coconut milk with no gums in the fridge overnight. Scoop off the cream, reserving the water for another use.


Calories: 1012kcal | Carbohydrates: 162g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Sodium: 338mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 125g | Vitamin A: 36IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 4mg