Some may think the words 'vegan' and 'cupcake' should never meet in a sentence. Unfortunately, the word 'vegan' still has some rather drab connotations. It conjures up images of tofu-like textures and pale imitations. Cupcakes, on the other hand, inspire child-like delight and sinful decadence. The idea of a dairy-free cupcake certainly didn't do anything for me.
That was until I tried a cupcake from the cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.
They're quite spectacular. Light, moist and decadent -- all perfect cupcake prerequisites.
In the recipe, milk is substituted with plain soy milk and apple cider vinegar. It's rather ingenious really. The cider curdles the soy milk and turns it into the consistency of buttermilk. Eggs are substituted with a little canola oil which gives the cupcake its moist, fluffy texture.
The icing is a combination of non-hydrogenated margarine, vegan shortening, soy milk, icing sugar and cocoa powder.
I made the cupcakes for the Thanksgiving party I recently catered for. My reason for choosing a vegan recipe was purely out of practicality - not to cater to anyone's dietary restrictions. I know these cupcakes to be reliable and their 'veganess' takes nothing away from their 'cupcakeness'.
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World is the brainchild of punk rocker Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero. Moskowitz has authored several vegan cookbooks all of which have won critical claim amongst the vegan community.
These cupcakes are a great way for the uninitiated to venture into the ever-more-popular world of veganism.
Basic Vegan Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
(Makes 12 Cupcakes)
Recipe: adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
1 cup of unsweetened soy milk
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup of castor sugar
1/3 cup of canola oil
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
Special equipment: muffin tin & cupcake paper cases
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
- Line a muffin tin with paper or foil cupcake cases.
- In a metal bowl, whisk together the soy milk and vinegar. Set aside for about 5 minutes and allow mixture to curdle. Add the sugar, oil and vanilla extract and whisk until foamy - about 2 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain. Tiny lumps are ok.
- Pour into cupcake cakes, filling them up about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Use a toothpick to test their readiness by inserting it into the centre of a cupcake. If it comes out clean, then they're ready.
- Transfer cupcakes onto a cooling rack and cool completely. While you're waiting, prepare the icing.
Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup of non-hydrogenated shortening, room temperature
1/2 cup of non-hydrogenated margarine, room temperature
3 1/2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of soy milk
- Beat the shortening and margarine together until combined and fluffy.
- Add the icing sugar and beat for about 2 minutes.
- Add the cocoa powder and until to beat until completely combined.
- Add the vanilla and the soy milk. Beat for another 5 minutes until fluffy.
- Use a piper to decorate the cupcakes. Alternatively, you can cut the corner of a sandwich bag and use it as a makeshift piper. Or you can just spread the icing on with a knife.