Sunday, July 27, 2008
Lately, I have been trying to make the perfect vegan cupcakes. It all started when I purchased Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I started out making a basic vanilla cupcake with a rich chocolate frosting. The cupcakes did turn out delicious, and I did get a good response from my office peeps, but I wasn't 100% happy with them. Then, I made the Chai Latte Cupcakes with a sugar and cinnamon topping. Again, this cupcake had potential, but I knew it still needed work.
Tonight, I got together with some friends to watch The Godfather II, and I decided I would try out another cupcake recipe to try out on my friends. I know, Cannolis would have made more sense, but I already had the ingredients for this. I'll try out vegan Cannolis next time for ya! This time, I decided to make the recipe for the basic chocolate cupcake (with a few modifications) with Vegan Buttercream Frosting. Can you say, Yum? Here it goes:
1/2 cup mocha soymilk
1/2 cup plain soymilk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup raw granulated cane sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup coca powder (I use the brand Green & Blacks Organics)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
about 1/2 cup chopped vegan oreos (I use Newmans Os dairy free and wheat free)
Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pan with muffin papers. In a large bowl, whisk together mocha and plain soymilk and apple cider vinegar, and set aside for about 5 minutes to curdle. While you are waiting, go ahead and measure out all of the ingredients. When you are finished measuring, you can start adding ingredients to the soymilk and vinegar mixture. Add the sugar, oil, and extracts and mix together until foamy. You can mix this in a separate bowl, or sift together if lumpy, or you can just go ahead and add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder, and salt to the mixture. Then, I continue to mix together until creamy. Some small lumps are okay, but try to make the batter as creamy as possible. You could probably do all of this in a blender too. Add the chopped oreos to the mixture and continue to mix. I use a hand chopper that I purchased from Pampered Chef that worked quite nice for chopping the oreos. It takes about 6-7 oreos to make 1/2 cup. Pour the batter into the muffin liners. This should make around 12 cupcakes. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes. Eat the leftover batter and lick the mixing spoons! When done, let cool for an hour before topping with the frosting.
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening. (I use Jungle Shortening)
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine (I use Earth Balance)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain soy milk
4 chopped vegan oreos
I do all the mixing in a blender. You can mix manually as well, but I find a blender much more efficient. Mix the shortening and margarine until well combined. Add the sugar and continue to blend until the butter mixture coats the sugar. Add the vanilla and soymilk and blend until creamy. Add the chopped cookies and blend until the mixture is creamy and the chopped cookies look like small crumbs inside the mixture.
Once the cupcakes are cooled, top the cupcakes generously with the frosting. Break cookies in half and top each cupcake with a half of a cookie. I find that the cupcakes are best to serve after they have been cooling for about 4 hours. It has been my experience that if I serve them too soon, then they aren't always cooled all the way through and the frosting doesn't sit well on a warm cupcake. Also, you want to let them cool long enough so that they are sitting firm against the liner. If you dig in too soon, then they may fall apart in the middle when you peel the liner off.
Delights and After Thoughts:
When I went shopping for this recipe, I went to the local grocery store, which is much closer than the whole foods. I actually only needed to buy the shortening, and so I went looking for it. I had never purchased shortening before, so I wasn't really sure where it was located or what I was looking for, but I finally found it by the oils. The first one that I see is by Crisco, and the label said "No Trans Fat." I thought, Awesome, but I checked the ingredients anyway to make sure it was vegan. First of all, I noticed that the first ingredient is fully hydrogenated oils, and the second is partially hydrogenated cottonseed oils. Second of all, there was about 10 more ingredients that I had never heard of. I thought, how could they label this as no trans fat? But, then I looked closer and it said, No Trans Fat Per Serving. Needless to say, I had to run to Whole Foods to get the right kind of shortening that won't kill me or my friends. I do have to say though, that it really makes me angry that these companies trick consumers with how they label things. It also upsets me that it is possible to make these products with ingredients that are healthier, but they choose not to. And lastly, it annoys me that the local grocery store doesn't carry any unique brands of shortening for people who want to live longer. So, that's my rant about Crisco.
Back to the finished product of the cupcakes.....
These cupcakes are my best to date. They came out perfectly chocolaty and moist, and the buttercream frosting is to die for! I'm working on perfecting the basic vanilla and chai latte cupcakes, so I'll get back to you (Cannolis first though). But for now, bake these mouth watering cupcakes, and be sure to close your eyes and really enjoy that first bite!