I can just imagine people screwing up their face when they see the word ‘Vegan’. And I can understand why. I’ve tried many dairy-free, gluten-free and animal-free products which taste similar to a sheet of artificially sweetened cardboard. However I found a few different recipes on the internet earlier this year and have come up with the best possible combination of them all (a little less sugar here, a little more cocoa there). These cupcakes are a huge hit with everyone and if you don’t have time to fiddle around with cupcake trays, you can slap the mixture straight into a bar tin (after it’s been lined with baking paper of course) and presto. If you don’t dance around in the kitchen like I do, the preparation takes less than 15 minutes. It’s so quick and easy!
1 ½ cups plain flour
¾ cup white sugar
⅓ cup cocoa powder (If you can find Dutch Cocoa Powder; I find that works best)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
A word for the wise; Baking Soda does not = Baking Powder. Unless you want your cupcakes dry, dense and tasteless; stay clear of the powder. (It’s been a long time since Hospitality studies).
2 cups icing sugar
¼ cup dairy-free soy margarine (e.g.: Nuttelex), softened
2 tablespoons cup plain soy milk (you could also use almond milk if you prefer)
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 shot (30ml) espresso
If you don’t like coffee flavour, leave the espresso shot out. You can substitute with a few drops peppermint essence which would make a beautiful choc-mint or go all out and crumble some choc-honeycomb (e.g.: Crunchie® Bar) over the top and you could give the cupcake boutiques a run for their money.
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Line 12-cup cupcake tray with baking cups.
3. Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar and water. Mix together with electric mixer for 3-4 minutes or until mixture is smooth.
4. Spoon mixture evenly among baking cups and bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes or until cooked. You can check if the cupcakes are done by placing a skewer into the middle of the cake and it comes out clean.
5. Transfer to wire rack and allow cupcakes to cool completely (for an hour at a minimum) before icing.
6. Soften the vegan margarine. Placing it in the microwave for 20 – 30 seconds should do the trick.
7. Using your electric beater, cream the sugar into the softened margarine. Then add the vanilla extract, soy milk, cocoa powder and shot of espresso.
8. Mix well until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the mixture is too thick, add a very small amount of soy milk. If the mixture is too thin, add more icing sugar.
9. Frost your cupcakes.
10. And this is the most important step in the process… Enjoy!
To store, keep in an airtight container. Personally I don’t like keeping cake in the fridge, but it might be a good idea during the warmer weather.