Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl (use a 1/4 cup of water or fortified plant-based milk first) and then stir to combine together.
Pour batter into 12 cupcake molds or into a lightly greased and floured cake pan (8.5 inches in diameter).
Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes for a cake or 20 minutes for cupcakes, or slightly longer until done (this is when a toothpick or knife inserted in the cake comes out clean).
If you use maple syrup or agave nectar instead of the brown sugar, then mix up the batter without adding any water first. Depending on the thickness of the batter, slowly add in tablespoons of water and mix until the desired baking batter consistency is reached.
For a gluten-free option, you can try to use 1 ¾ cup of gluten free flour mix instead of the wheat flour and include 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum in the recipe.
For those who simply want a vanilla cake, just omit the cocoa powder and double the amount of vanilla extract used in the recipe. You will need to reduce the amount of water (or fortified plant-based milk) added to achieve the same cake batter consistency.