Vegan cupcakes

I made vegan cupcakes tonight and no, I'm not really a vegan. The recipe comes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I first discovered Moskowitz a few years ago when I was searching for vegetarian recipes and found her wonderful book Vegan with a Vengeance.

I have an incurable sweet tooth and I thought I would try one of the cupcake recipes. If I'm not cutting back on sugar like I should be, at least I could say I was cutting back on dairy. Does that count for anything? I tell myself that it does.

Good news - these were delicious! In fact, I'd venture to say that they are even better than a cupcake made with real butter and milk. The icing is especially rich and yummy. If you have an aversion to dairy products, try this recipe! They are very simple to make.

Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake (reprinted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch processed or regular
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
2) Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil and vanilla extract, and the other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat till foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add in two batches to the wet ingredients and beat till no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay).
3) Pour into liners, filling three quarters of the way. Bake 15 - 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup margarine, softened (**I use Smart Balance)
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted if there are clumps) (**I use Dutch processed cocoa)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons soy milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cream together the margarine and the shortening until well combined. Add the cocoa powder and incorporate well. Add the confectioners sugar in about 1/2 cup batches and beat well, adding a little soy milk after each addition. When all ingredients have been well incorporated, add vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes with a hand mixer, 7 minutes if mixing with a fork).

There are variations to each recipe (I won't list them here, you will have to buy the book!). There are all kinds of other cupcake recipes and frostings. I can't wait to try more.

Since I discovered Dutch-processed cocoa, I always use it in baking. It really makes a big difference. Of course it hard as heck to find. I don't believe it exists in the city limits of Florence. But I've discovered a great mail order source. Penzey's offers it in various sizes and reasonable prices and their spice catalog is addictive.

I have a dear friend who lives in Memphis and she works part-time at Williams Sonoma. Every time she comes for a visit, she brings me something from the store. About a year ago, she brought me a bottle of chocolate extract. I've never seen a recipe that calls for it until I saw this one and I used it tonight! What fun!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Wow! Phillip, finally something I can eat! Yummy! Yes it does count by cutting out dairy. Pounds will lightly fall. If that is any concern. (Mind you my dearest neighbors are dairy farmers... so I do not wish them less business... There goes the truck right now... I just happen to have an allergy.) Only make sure the sugar and chocolate are organic if possible... all the ingredients if you can... you get bonuses for that! ;>)) Each small step makes for less harmful chemicals in our world and who knows anyway what they might be doing to everyones weight and overall health ( well we do know about that already.) Hopefully your Dutch source already is. Gee I hope you do not mind my saying all this. ;-)

  2. Passed this along to a vegan friend. :-)

  3. This is too tempting and yes I will try it!!

  4. My only health concern is that margarine and shortening have trans fats. But whatever. If they're the best cupcakes ever, I'm totally interested. :)

  5. Those sound yummy! However, I wonder if I could sub butter for margarine. Something about margarine just kinda grosses me out (lord, there's an old phrase!). I've never heard of chocolate extract before.

  6. Sounds yummy. This just made me thing, I don't know a single Vegan:)


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