Monday, July 18, 2011

Vegan week day 6: Easy vegan cupcakes

Breakfast: Vegan apple-quinoa granola

Lunch: Grilled veggies sandwich at the Mad Dog Cafe 

Dinner: Family BBQ: Potatoes and salads and corn and spicy bean burgers followed by chocolate and vanilla easy vegan cupcakes

I was reminded this weekend why I love Toronto cafes. Hanging out and writing in my favourite Tequila Bookworm is always a joy, but having lunch at the local Mad Dog Cafe, for the first time I might add, I found I was short of cash and they didn't take debit. "Don't worry about it" said the owner, "You can just pay next time." I loved him (and I did pay...but they gave us coffee for free!).

So this was my first attempt at vegan cake baking, if you don't count the fateful day years ago when we ended up presenting my vegan friend Charley with a slab of vegan dough that wouldn't rise for her birthday. I researched a couple of methods and this one worked perfectly. If you don't believe me, I even took these along to a Ukrainian family BBQ (where cakes are usually filled with butter and cream, and delicious) and these were a success! They're crazy light and more moist than you would believe possible without eggs.

I am making them again this week, as they've all gone already.

You'll need:
(makes 10-12)
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup unbleached cane sugar*
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup cocoa, if making chocolate cupcakes
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup vegan margarine
a splash of almond milk
1 tsp of cocoa, if making chocolate frosting

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F)
Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda (and cocoa, if using) together in a bowl
Pour the vinegar into a bowl and gently pour the almond milk into it
Leave this mixture to curdle for about 5 minutes
Add the vanilla essence and the vegetable oil to the vinegar mix and stir until combined
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combined
Divide batter into cupcake tins and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is a little spongey
Allow cakes to cool
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then frost the cupcakes

I made both vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, and the recipe is pretty much the same - just add the stated amounts of cocoa if you're making chocolate ones. Do be careful that your cocoa is vegan though, as some cheaper brands do contain milk extracts.

*Many vegans do not eat white sugar, as the bleaching process involves filtering it through ground up animal bones. For this reason, I used unbleached cane sugar. However, if you don't mind consuming white sugar, feel free to use it instead!

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