So Lyns, the proprietor of Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes Bakery, asked me to make some fabulous egg-free vegan cupcakes, and requested a very interesting theme: Queen of Hearts. I loved the idea, and although I’m not vegan and really haven’t done much vegan baking, I jumped right into it.
What is “vegan“, exactly?
Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans endeavor not to use or consume animal products of any kind. The most common reasons for becoming a vegan are an ethical commitment or moral conviction concerning animal rights, the environment, human health, and spiritual or religious concerns. Of particular concern to many vegans are the practices involved in factory farming and animal testing, and the intensive use of land and other resources required for animal farming.
As daunting as baking without eggs and milk seems, its really not bad. Once you have apple cider vinegar, soymilk and shortening, you can pretty much make any kind of cupcake vegan, including frosting.
Now, as far as I know there are two Queen of Hearts’; one, the card from a deck of playing cards, and two, the evil Queen written by Lewis Carroll and popularized by Disney. For those of you not familiar with that Queen of Hearts, she’s a character from Alice in Wonderland. Famous for uttering the words “Off with her head!”
I decided that these would just be my Valentine’s cupcakes, since the Queen of Hearts idea was so perfect. I had had another idea planned but these were cuter and Lyns specifically asked for them so I figured I’d leave it at these. I made fluffy white (vegan) cupcakes and topped them with thick white (faux) “buttercream.” To top that off, I rolled the sides of the frosting and tops of some in red sugar and topped them with conversation hearts. Cupcake liners are courtesy of Martha Stewart’s collection for Michael’s. If you’re looking for this kind of frosting look, its best to pipe it on with a large round tip and then spread it with an offset spatula, keeping the roundness on the sides but just “flattening” the top and adding a little swirl.
If you want to check these out on Lyn’s blog, click here.
FLUFFY WHITE VEGAN CUPCAKES
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- roughly 1 ½ cups vanilla soymilk
- 2 1/8 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/8 cups sugar
- ½ cup oil
- 1 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. coconut extract
- Preheat the oven to 350º. Line 20 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Place the apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup and fill the cup with soymilk to equal 1 ½ cups. Stir well and set aside (the mixture will curdle).
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another mixing bowl whisk together the soymilk mixture, canola oil, vanilla, and coconut extract. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth using a hand-held mixer, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl when needed.
- Fill each muffin cup with ¼ cup of batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
THICK & CREAMY FAUX “BUTTER”CREAM
- 1 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
- 1 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor
- 3 ½ cups confectioners sugar, sifted if clumpy
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup vanilla soy milk
- Beat the shortening until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.
- Add the vanilla and soy milk, and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.
For my first vegan cupcake experience, this was great. They came out fantastic. Its definitely worth it to have these under my belt in case I run out of butter or eggs and need to make cupcakes, or in case I’m asked to make them for someone who’s vegan. And most importantly, they taste awesome. In my little taste test, where I didn’t tell people they were vegan; nobody knew, and everyone gushed about how moist, light, fluffy and delicious they are.
These cupcakes would also be great with a cherry filling if you like that kind of thing. As an added surprise, you know? And you don’t need the butter flavoring to make the frosting, but I prefer it, it makes it seem more like real buttercream.