I became curious about making vegan desserts after happening upon a delicious looking chocolate cupcake at Whole Foods. By all appearances, it seemed rich and flavorful, like something I would happily pay $4.00 to savor and enjoy. That is, until I picked it up and realized it was vegan, which prompted a knee-jerk reaction to put it right back down. I have since discovered that my innate vegan aversion was totally unwarranted.
If youve never tasted a vegan dessert, you should really give it a try. Many of the good ones do not use any seemingly odd substitutes or require a trip to the health foods store. I was so amazed at the way the raw ingredients for this particular cupcake yielded a fluffy, sweetly indulgent and impressive dessert- which accomplished a mission to please a mixed crowd.
Definitely make a point to use good, dark cocoa powder for this recipe. Along with the vanilla, it will lend the majority of the richness to the cake itself, which may otherwise be missed by those accustomed to butter and eggs in their baked goods. Coffee also does something fantastic to chocolate and if you start slipping it into your baking, you are sure to notice a difference in the intensity of the flavor.
Heres the recipe:
Vegan Cookies n' Cream Cupcakes
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
Combine the vegetable oil, vanilla, vinegar and water in a mixer bowl and mix until fully blended. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet ingredients in batches, until incorporated and smooth. Use a large scoop to pour even amounts of batter into the cupcake liners, filling ¾ of the way full. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting below. Garnish with additional cookies.
1/2 cup all-vegetable shortening
3/4 cup vegan/non-dairy margarine
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup soy milk
6 chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Newman-Os
Cream together the shortening and margarine until light and fluffy. Sift the confectioners sugar and add to the mixture in small batches, blending well after each addition. Add the vanilla and soy milk, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and whip together for about 5 minutes. Place the cookies in a plastic bag or food processor and blend/smash into small bits and crumbs. The cookie pieces should be small enough to fit through the open end of a piping bag or large round pastry tip. Add the cookies to the frosting and mix until fully incorporated.
Makes 20 Cupcakes.