Not too long ago, a friend hosted a vegan dinner party. Neither is a true vegan, although one of them did attempt the lifestyle for a month. During that time, she found it difficult to whip up lunches and dinners that appealed to her tastes. Eating out was simple, but eating in became a dreaded chore. I ate vegan for three months, but the days passed fairly easily for me after a while because I enjoyed cooking dishes. When said friend decided on a vegan potluck, bringing a dessert seemed like one of the most fun contributions. Most people are scared of vegan desserts and other sweets, but you should quell your fears as there are a number of good ones. Do you remember this fruit crisp, this bread or these muffins? All good stuff. A vegan cake was the next experiment, and it proved to be a success.
Amir surprised me one day with a random Facebook message linking to his sister’s trials with vegan cupcakes! Apparently, it’s what she does. Well, well now. Looking at photos of her pretty mini cakes was another convincing bit of evidence that, yes indeed, you can make a fun and fancy treat without butter, eggs, milk or cream. The best place to start with with a classic vanilla cake. These vanilla cupcakes feature almond milk, apple cider and vegetable oil. When it comes to baked goods such as cakes, muffins and breads, oil has proven to provide a lighter, tastier texture as opposed to vegan butter. If someone has a successful recipe using vegan butter in baking, please share! So far, vegetable oil has been the best choice. The frosting is a very simple version of a cream cheese frosting. And the little guys on top? Just toasted, crushed pistachios. One of the things you’ll learn quickly when you dabble in vegan cooking is that it’s not about fooling anyone; it’s just about making them enjoy it. Bon appetit!
Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes – 1 dozen (inspired by Isa Chandra)
1 cup vanilla almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon or orange
1. Pour the apple cider vinegar into the milk and stir. Set aside to curdle.
2. In one medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt together until incorporated. In another medium bowl, whisk oil, sugar, vanilla and citrus zest until smooth. Add curdled milk and combine.
3. Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Pour into a paper-lined cupcake tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 min or until golden brown. Cool completely before frosting.
‘Cream Cheese’ Frosting – Approximately 2/3 cup
4 ounces Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, room temperature
3 ounces vegan butter or margarine, room temperature
2-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
Pinch kosher salt
1. Beat the cream cheese and vegan butter until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl to fully combine.
2. Add two tablespoons of the powdered sugar, along with the vanilla and mix well. Add more powdered sugar half a tablespoon at a time until the consistency reaches a texture that you prefer for spreading or piping.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.