I know I just posted that I haven’t been using my kitchen much lately, but tonight I shuffled my tools and painting supplies around to make room to bake. It’s a coworker’s birthday tomorrow and I signed up to bring the birthday treats. This particular coworker is allergic to eggs so I couldn’t make my regular batch of cupcakes. But I’m always up for a challenge.
My first thought was to look for a vegan cupcake recipe since vegans do not eat eggs. A quick Google search gave me a recipe for Basic (Vegan) Chocolate Cupcakes on Chow.com. It seemed simple enough so I decided to go for it.
Basic (Vegan) Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
¾ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with paper liners. I like to spray my liners with non-stick spray for added non-stick protection.
Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. I used vanilla flavored soy milk. While the mixture is curdling, in a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Personally I hate sifting dry ingredients. I never do it. I put all these ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk them together until blended.
Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract and other extract to the soy milk mixture(I used almond extract for the second extract). Beat until foamy. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay).
At this point I noticed that the batter is very runny. Much runnier than other cupcake batters I have made. I poured the batter into a four cup measuring cup with a spout and then poured the batter into the lined muffin cups, filling to approximately ¾ full.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. I baked my cupcakes for 19 minutes total. Let cupcakes cool in pans for several minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
I decided to keep the cupcakes vegan from top to bottom so I whipped up a batch of basic buttercream frosting using vegan “butter” in place of regular butter. Vegan “butter” is a natural vegetable oil spread and comes in stick form just like regular butter. I bought the Earth Balance buttery sticks at my local Whole Foods. I also substituted vanilla soy milk for regular milk.
The verdict? I think my biggest downfall with these types of recipes is that I expect it to taste just like the original version. I remember once I bought some vegetarian breakfast “sausage” when I was on a health kick. I imagined it tasting exactly like regular sausage and it would be an easy replacement for the less-healthy meat version. Boy was I wrong. The vegetarian version tasted nothing like the meat version and I hated it.
Well this recipe is not like that. The chocolate vegan cupcakes with vanilla vegan buttercream frosting taste very close to the non-vegan version. I was pleasantly surprised! Especially since I plan on serving these to my coworkers.
One thing I would change is the extracts. The almond extract I used was a little overpowering to me. Next time I will use all vanilla extract or maybe mint extract. Actually these cupcakes would probably be great with mint buttercream. Using the basic buttercream recipe, substitute mint extract for the vanilla extract and add a few drops of green food coloring. After frosting cupcakes, sprinkle tops with mini chocolate chips and you have a mint chocolate chip cupcake.
Although these cupcakes turned out great, I probably won’t make them regularly since I’m not a vegan. I’ll rely on the non-vegan version primarily. But if I ever do need a vegan cupcake again I know these are perfect.