Friday, 25 May 2012

Foodie Friday - Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

There is kind of a glut of recipes for vegan chocolate cupcakes. It's like the lawyer of the vegan baked goods world. There might actually be too many.  Still, when you need a lawyer or a cupcake, you usually need one RIGHT AWAY and don't care it's charging you $400 an hour/400 calories a serving. 

But if I'm going to fit in in the vegan world, I know I have to do a few things: avoid animal products; float 2 inches off the ground at all times; and make a good vegan cupcake.

I love baking. I mean, I really love it. But cupcakes have never been my forte. So I turned to my friend Ryan, who you all know and love, because he is our circle's go-to baker for cupcakes and for high end baked delights. He has his own food blog which we are all imploring him to get back to. After begging him and promising not to draw any embarrassing portrait of him, Ryan consented to help me with this week's post - for Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate frosting.

The original recipe is found at this site, but we made several changes. 

But before we could embark on our morning of baking, as every vegan knows, it is important to align your Chakras before you start. If your Chakas are out of balance, your cupcakes will fail and butterflies will die and the Euro will plunge further.

So we aligned our Chakas.

Whew, that feels better.

Ryan is more of a purist than am I when it comes to baking - he sources out the best ingredients,

sifts his dry ingredients, and weighs them rather than just scooping them up slap dash in the measuring cups like I do. 

He even did research to ensure that the icing sugar we were using was vegan. Lantic icing sugar IS vegan. Redpath sugar is NOT vegan. Ryan says, "you're welcome".


Ryan created a pousse cafe of oil milk and sugar

Sam wants cupcakes. Sucks to be Sam. No cupcakes for Sam

 Here is the recipe as adapted by Ryan and Elpoo:

Vegan Deep  Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

275 g/2 cups all-purpose flour
100 g/3/4 cup natural cocoa powder  (Hershey's)
1-2 Tbsp espresso powder (Ryan suggests the King Arthur Flour brand of espresso powder)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
a pinch of salt
450 ml/1 +3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons (10 ml) red wine vinegar
320 g/ 1 + 2/3 cups raw sugar, pulsed to make a fine powder (or caster sugar)
320 ml/1 + 1/4 cups oil (we used vegetable oil - next time I'd use sunflower or canola to keep the soy content down)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vanilla extract (Rebecca's home made!)


1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line 24 muffin tin cups with paper liners.
2. Sift twice, the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large  bowl. 
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, vinegar, sugar, oil and vanilla extract. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake pans about 1/2 full,  and bake in the preheated oven for 40-55 minutes.

 A wooden skewer inserted in the middle should come out with almost no crumbs attached, and the middle of the cake, when pressed, should spring back slightly instead of sink. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes if necessary.  
5. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Slide a table knife all around the edge to loosen the cake, then remove from the pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour
They will be VERY moist. So be careful if you take off the paper wrappers. It's better to leave them on, actually. You could refrigerate the cooled cupcakes for a bit to firm them up before frosting them.

Psychotic weirdo puts cupcakes into oven

Dark dark dark and deleeeeeeeeeshus.

Vegan Chocolate Frosting

1 cup (227 g) Vegan, non-hydrogenated margarine. I used Earth Balance or Becel Vegan margarine.
1 cup (125 g) icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)

1 tsp espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons  pure vanilla extract 
5 oz (145 g) quality bittersweet, chopped, melted and cooled 
1/4 cup (60 ml) almond  milk
pinch of salt
1. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and margarine and beat on low speed for about 1 minute.
2. Add vanilla and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted & cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).
3. Add almond milk and salt, and beat on medium speed for another minute. Do NOT over beat. Keep an eye on it.

adding the cooled chocolate to the sugar and vegan "butter"

The frosting should look creamy and smooth. Decorate with vegan approved silver coloured smartie things.


Full disclosure time. The first time we made this, the cupcakes turned out great. Super moist and dark, almost black. But the frosting was a disaster.

Ellen is saddened by awful icing. Yes. icing an be awful.

We tried to tart up the awful icing with a silver smartie thingie, but it just looked like a silver smartie on a cow pat.

 Not wanting to waste all the time and ingredients, Ryan whipped up a new batch of vegan frosting when he got home so he could take the cupcakes to a barbecue without losing his King of Cupcakes status.

We couldn't figure out why the icing failed so epically. We may have beaten the margarine and sugar too long. Was it because our Chakas were not really aligned? As a vegan, was I not being strident enough? In the end, we decided that it was most likely because instead of using a good quality chocolate to melt and use in the icing, we just used an old Easter Bunny broken up and melted down. 

not really for baking.

What were we thinking? How could I use an innocent chocolate bunny in this, this what was supposed to be VEGAN! I'll never harm another animal shaped food again. Serves me right. I have been chastised. 

Now I have to go and put tiny razor cuts in my leg and sit in a bath tub full of vinegar. Because that's what vegans do when they know they've been bad. 

Anyhooo, have a good weekend. Save the bunnies.

These cupcakes are so good - before he ate this cupcake, Peter had brown eyes.


  1. Great "chaka" laugh this am!! Also, I'm craving any and all sugar with this diet so let me tell you, even the cow pat icing looked good to me!

    1. Trust me, Karen. The icing was awful and not worth the calories. Imagine putting a brown crayon in some margarine and then adding some sand. That's what it was like.

    2. The kind that is itchy and burns and full of badness.

  2. Oh, chocolate is good no matter what it looks like! I would say the bunny was probably at fault. I love how ya'll work together!

  3. I take full responsibility for the bunny mishap. It was a quality dark-chocolate bunny with only four ingredients, but I guess the ratios were off with the cocoa butter and what-not.

    Anyhoo...thank you, Ellen, for allowing me within your complete lack of of boundaries. It was a joy and a pleasure and my Chakas have never been more in alignment.

    Oh, and the disadvantage of making a frosting that looks and tastes good: you have one cupcake, then another, then another, then another. Then you spread the leftover frosting on bread like Nutella. Then when you run out of bread, you move on to crackers. Then after the crackers, it's with a spoon. Sad indeed, but oh so delicious.