Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In large bowl combine flour, 1/2 cup (125 mL) cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, combine vegetable oil, almond milk (soy milk can be substituted), vinegar and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Divide batter into lined muffin tins. Bake 20 to 25 min., or until a toothpick inserted into centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes from pan to cool completely on wire rack, about 20 min.
Meanwhile, make icing by sifting icing sugar and remaining 1/2 cup (125 mL) cocoa powder into bowl. Using a whisk, gradually stir in about 1/3 cup (75 mL) water, until icing is smooth and creamy. Spread on cooled cupcakes.
For chocolate-almond cupcakes, add 1 tsp (5 mL) almond extract to wet batter ingredients, and sprinkle sliced almonds on top of icing.