Cakes, Pies & Tarts · Featured · Uncategorized

Veganizing a Classic

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes-The Duo DishesNot 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.


13 thoughts on “Veganizing a Classic

  1. Love how you guys use lemon or orange zest in many of your recipes. Every sweet and savory dish is better off with the spice. I also like the pistachios on top. A great way to balance the sweetness of the frosting.

  2. To be honest, I had a vegan cupcake once at a famous vegan bakery in NYC… so really, it should have been good. It was so dry and way too sweet. I threw half of it away. I’ve always heard that vegan baking CAN be really good, and that sometimes you can’t even tell the difference. Your cupcakes look really great! I would definitely be open to trying vegan cupcakes again 🙂

  3. I’ve actually only had good experiences with baking vegan goods! They always come out super moist! And these look like no exception. I am also SO going to have to try that cream cheese frosting…divine.

  4. It’s funny that your friend had trouble not with eating out but with eating in. I went vegan for a month a couple of years ago for VeganMOFO and eating in was a breeze because there are so many delicious vegan recipes, but eating out was hard because so many restaurants don’t have vegan options. Most vegetarian options are heavily cheese based so there often was little to choose from or things became pretty flavorless once the animal products were removed. That said, I believe you’re in S. California, which may be more vegan friendly than where I was living at the time.

    For the most part, I find vegan eating, when I attempt it, easy, but I’m not so easily sold on vegan cheese substitutes. I keep trying but they always underwelm me so if I’m eating vegan I’d rather go cheese free, that said, I’ve never tried tofutti so now I am curious.

  5. Well, it is nice to come from the point of view where we know, appreciate, love and enjoy the ‘real’ things of course. It’s just about being open to trying something new and different. If you have an open mind, there are many foods and substitutions that can be just as tasty!

  6. To be honest, whenever I read vegan blogs and they rave about some kind of vegan dish, I get dubious because I feel like they probably never got to try the real deal so can’t compare. But I certainly trust your taste. I’ll have to give vegan dishes and desserts another try…

  7. Vegetable oil is fine when you can use a liquid fat, but for things like pie crust, you do need to use vegan margarine (not being repetitive – not all margarine is dairy-free). I made some little banana pie turnovers for a vegan and made the crust with vegan margarine and it worked out fine.

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