I have been thumbing through the new cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for probably a month now. I needed to gather all the necessary ingredients and pick a flavor - you won't believe the amazing cupcake recipes in this book. Tiramisu, smore, mocha hazelnut, etc. - everything sounded delicious and fun. The main ingredient I didn't have was vegan non hydrogenated shortening. I don't stock shortening in general, much less vegan or non-hydrogenated. But if you can't use butter, shortening is sometimes a necessary evil.
Pawing through my cupboards I realized I still had some mint extract, so I went with chocolate mint cupcakes. For the cake part, it is the recipe for "Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake" with mint extract added. That is the recipe I'll include here, but really, go out and buy this amazingly fun book.Your Basic Chocolate Cupcakefrom Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp other flavored extract, or more vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 F 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 extract(s) and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay).
3. Pour into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely.
I used a variation of the Fluffy Vegan Buttercream recipe, which was basically:
1/2 cup shortening (vegan, non trans fat, etc)
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 pound box powdered sugar (roughly 3 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 tsp extract (I used mint + vanilla)
1/4 cup soy milk or creamer (i used 3 tbsp soy milk, I didn't want it too thin and my kitchen was warm)
Cream together, spoon into a pastry bag, and pipe onto cupcakes. Or spread with knife. I did some in zigzags, some in flowers, and some in spirals. I melted some chocolate chips in another ziploc bag, cut a small part out of one corner, and drizzled some on top in patterns to match. Some of the cupcakes have chocolate sprinkles.
Jenny's notes: I have to admit that the cupcakes pictured in the cookbook were all a little too small and flat for me, so I may have added extra baking powder for a little more height. As a result I had some slightly messy cupcakes, but they still taste amazing. There is nothing noticably vegan in these cupcakes. They taste chocolately, minty, and the "butter"cream icing is actually very good, despite my predisposation against shortening.
I also didn't have apple cider vinegar, so I used white distilled. I find I can only have so many flavors of vinegar on hand, you know? At last count, I had five, and apple cider was just not one of them. It's okay to substitute one vinegar for the other since you are using it for its chemical properties, not its flavor, when you are baking. Just be careful not to use one that has a pungent flavor where it might not belong. Chocolate mint cupcakes would not have been balsamic-friendly, for instance.
I found these to be a little melty, and not just the ones I put in the light to photograph. This means I'll have to find room in my fridge overnight for them, which is not that great of a scenario at the moment. Next time I would add more powdered sugar, or just forget the milk entirely in the icing. I also needed to bake these longer than 20 minutes, probably more like 23, but I did have more batter than recommended.