Archive for the 'Cupcakes' Category



Lemon Topped Vanilla Cardamom Mini Cupcakes

Everything is a blur around here, as I am beginning baking up a storm, recipe and flavor testing for my friends’ upcoming wedding cake that I will be baking. We’re still mostly in the idea-stages, but yesterday I baked the first test-cake, and today I’m going to bake the second. I am thinking one cake a day, for the next week or two, until we come up with the perfect combination of flavors, textures, fillings, and frostings. As I whip out the sample cakes, I wanted to leave you with something to drool over. I may have found this picture in my archives, but I can still remember how delicately spicy these Cardamom Cupcakes were, and how perfectly paired the cake was with the tangy-sweet Lemon Buttercream. I don’t have the recipe, but if you add some cardamom to your favorite vanilla cupcake, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice to a buttercream frosting, then you’ll end up with a similar flavor explosion. Perfect for these summer days…

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Salted Caramel Cupcakes


I recently ate at a vegan chocolate truffle shop in New York City. One of my favorite flavors, although not incredibly original like their other choices, was their salted caramel truffle. Messy, sticky, gooey, it was a perfect combination of sweet, salty, and dark chocolate. I had to recreate it in cupcake form when I returned from my vacation.

This is what my friends thought about the cupcakes:

Becca: Yum yum yum

Zoe: Intense rich chocolate flavor

Both Zoe and Becca: The caramel was to die for!

Rosa and Rachel thought these were the best cupcakes they’d ever eaten, hands down.

Julie: The caramel was like taffy and perfect. The chocolate cupcake was intense and not too sweet. A nice chocolatey-ness. The caramel was gooey and chewy and I couldn’t stop eating it!

Just thinking about these cupcakes again made all of us hungry, and we had to make a snack!


Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
4 Tblsp. very dark, or black, cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup caramel (recipe below)

Caramel Ingredients:
1 cup Earth Balance margarine
1 cup brown sugar
¼ almond milk

Note: Make the Caramel before you make the cupcake batter.

To make the caramel:
Melt the Earth Balance margarine in a saucepan over a medium flame. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Allow the caramel to begin boiling and bubbling, and stir intermittently until it thickens considerably. Meanwhile, heat the almond milk in a small pot until warm or hot to the touch. When the caramel is as caramelized as you would like, add the heated milk and stir rapidly until fully combined. Turn off the burner but allow pot to sit over the heated stove and preheating oven while you prepare cupcake batter.

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat your oven to 350º F. Line a twelve-muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl combine the almond milk, oil, maple syrup, sugar, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat this wet combination until fully combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing as you go. Beat until there are no lumps.
Fill your cupcake tins just under ¾ of the way full. Now it is time to spoon about a tablespoon of caramel onto the top of each cupcake. Dollop the caramel in, and let it rest on the top of the cupcake.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes sit in the pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Caramel Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (Earth Balance brand is good)
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup caramel, or to taste (see recipe above)
3 pinches of rock salt, or to taste, to put on top of your finished cupcakes

Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy.
Add 2 cups of sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Don’t add the third cup of sugar yet, until after you add the caramel when you can decide if you want the frosting to be sweeter or fluffier.
Add the vanilla and the caramel, and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy. If the frosting has a weird lumpy consistency because of adding a warm caramel to the cold margarine and shortening, then you can mix everything together and then refrigerate for about a half hour. Take out of the fridge, and whip using an electric mixer until you have a fluffy consistency. Add more sugar if you want a thicker frosting, but be careful to not make it too sweet since the caramel already has a good amount of sugar in it. Pipe onto the tops of your cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle rock salt over the tops, and enjoy!

Takin’ It Easy

I’m on vacation in New York, which means I am taking it a little easy with the postings (sorry) but of course I am still baking up a storm! Sadly, I did not bring my entire cupboard of gluten-free flours across the country with me, so we improvised a little when we wanted to make gluten-free cupcakes…and (gasp!) we used a gluten-free vegan cake mix! Because I am who I am, I had to drastically adapt it, but it started with a cake mix and therefore I can’t share the recipe with you. But, I can tell you what flavors were included in these cupcakes, which were scrum-diddly-umptious.

The cake mix was for a golden vanilla gluten-free cake. My friend Becca and I added about 2 cups of coconut milk instead of the 3/4 cup of water it called for, we used coconut oil instead of canola, and we added a handful of dried shredded unsweetened coconut to the batter. We had very coconutty-vanilla cupcakes, to say the least! After baking and cooling, we piped on an airy vanilla buttercream frosting, and sprinkled chopped thai basil and coconut chips over the top. The cupcakes were so fluffy and moist and the thai basil really complimented all the coconut! I have learned two lessons: 1. Baking from a boxed mix works. Very well. 2. Thai basil is my favorite cupcake addition. I might just be adding it to more cupcakes in the future!

Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

Happy (belated) Birthday, Sari!!!

One of my favorite cookie blogs is Smitten Kitchen – I am always drooling over Deb’s fabulous recipes and gorgeous pictures. However, for some reason, I haven’t made many of them for myself. For my friend Sari’s birthday, I knew we needed to bring in Summer with style! Deb’s Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting were right up that alley, and I hopped right to it and whipped them up. They are simple and have such a light fruity and wholesome flavor to them, and they satisfy all dessert cravings. They were perfect for the picnic party.

To veganize the recipe, I used:

1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar — instead of buttermilk

2 1/2 Tablespoons of cornstarch blended with 1/4 cup water — instead of both eggs

Earth Balance margarine — instead of butter, in equal proportion

I added about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of extra powdered sugar to the frosting to get the consistency and flavor I liked best.

Deb, thank you for this recipe! Yum!

2nd Place!

Thanks to all of you who came out to Rock Paper Scissors Collective today to participate in the Second Annual Vegan Cupcake Bake-Off! There were some really amazing cupcake flavors represented, ranging from tomato soup with vegan cream cheese frosting, chocolate with corn kernels, horchata (with a complimentary shot of horchata to drink out of cute straws), to the number one winning flavor which was a lemon-infused cupcake filled with peach jam and topped with a blackberry frosting.

My Coconut Curry Cupcakes won 2nd place! So, I think that officially makes me the second-best vegan cupcake baker in the Bay Area…Can I claim that fame? Well, on this blog, I can! So many people came out – there were about 200 people at the event. I made over 50 cupcakes (and divided them into quarters, for the judges to taste…). I think I imbibed about 2 pounds of lime buttercream frosting, just from the process of making and decorating so many cupcakes — and I have a ton of it leftover! You can look forward to some new posts soon with creative ways to use lime frosting…On that note, I’d better go clean the frosting off the walls and batter off the beaters so I can plan my next few teaching days in a clean kitchen.

Thanks for your support if you were able to come taste-test and vote for your favorite (mine, of course)!

Coconut Curry Cupcakes

These sweet Curry Cupcakes have a thick Coconut Filling inside, and a tangy Lime Buttercream frosting piped on top. A sprinkle of chopped peanuts and a Thai basil leaf round out the ultimate cupcake experience. I can’t even describe how incredible these cupcakes are. A delicious meld of savory and sweet, they are the brainchild of myself and my dear friend Kiernan. There is a Vegan Cupcake Competition being held at the Rock Paper Scissors Collective in Oakland, and this seems like an event that I am destined to enter! In order to participate, I had to submit a recipe by email, and then the collective members would choose 10 recipes to enter the actual contest which will be held on May 22nd. So I had to come up with a creative cupcake flavor to submit, and then I sent them the recipe…We dreamt up about a billion different unusual cupcake flavor combinations, but when a “Thai cupcake” was mentioned we stopped short. Kiernan spent last summer in Thailand, and my favorite kind of food is Thai. So obviously we know a lot about Thai food (oh goodness, we know probably know very little between us…So let’s get this straight: This is not going to be an “authentic” Thai cupcake. I have no idea what that even means. But it is drawing on the common flavors found in Thai restaurants that I felt could combine nicely into a sweet vegan cupcake…Like, no fish sauce, obviously). Anyway, Kiernan and I knew this cupcake was going to be the way to go. And it was.

Last week I submitted the recipe, and today I received an email announcing that these cupcakes were chosen to enter the competition! So if you want to try one of these babies without having to make it yourself, please come down to Rock Paper Scissors in Oakland, California, on Saturday, May 22nd from 2-5pm. Everyone who comes gets to be a judge! You will taste-test every cupcake, and then submit your votes for the best one/s. I’m going to encourage you to vote for my Coconut Curry Cupcake! Thank you in advance!

If you can’t make it to the event, I’ll give you the recipe now:

The savory aspect of the Curry Cupcake was in theory too savory for many people; however, when they had the opportunity to try it, they realized that it’s not savory at all! The cupcake is actually quite sweet, with a hint of curry flavor in it. You could add a little fresh ginger to the batter to give it an extra punch but it really doesn’t need it, especially when combined with the Coconut Filling and Lime Frosting. The Thai basil leaf on top really makes the cupcake feel authentically Thai – which obviously it’s not, so I’m not sure where I’m going with that.

Curry Cupcake Batter Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. curry powder (or to taste)
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.
Beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and curry powder, and mix until no large lumps remain.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before filling and/or frosting.


Coconut Crème Filling Ingredients:

1 can whole-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened, dried coconut

Put coconut milk in medium sized bowl. Whisk on medium-high speed in an electric mixer until thick (about 8-15 minutes, depending on your mixer).
Add powdered sugar and dried coconut and combine thoroughly. It should have a thick texture, like a thick pudding. Add more dried coconut if you need to thicken the filling.


Tangy Lime Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (Earth Balance brand is good)
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk
zest from 2 limes
juice from 2 limes

Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy.
Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.
Add the vanilla, almond milk, and lime juice, and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy.
Add the lime zest and combine thoroughly.

Topping Ingredients:

1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1 small bunch Thai basil, de-stemmed


To Assemble Cupcakes:

Make a hole in the center of each Curry Cupcake by poking with your finger. Very gently press the sides and bottom of the hole to make it a littler larger. You’ll want the space to be able to fill in with lots of Coconut Crème Filling.

Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip, then fill the bag with Coconut Crème Filling. Fill only halfway to make handling the bag easier.

Fill each cupcake with Coconut Crème, trying to get as much filling as possible into the cupcakes. Cupcakes should feel noticeably heavier.

Fit a second pastry bag with a large round or star tip, and fill the bag halfway full with Tangy Lime Buttercream Frosting. Pipe the frosting in a spiral around the cupcake top, starting from the outside and working in and up. Alternatively, you can spread the frosting on top of your cupcake.

Sprinkle crushed peanuts over each cupcake. Top with one or two Thai basil leaves.

Fallback on the Favorites

I thought I was going to have more time. But no. Lots of work to do, lots of fun to be had! I’ve been saving this post for about a week, and a certain sweet someone (cough-Julie-cough) has been asking about these cupcakes. I baked two types of cupcakes for a friend to take to a birthday party, and I baked an extra batch of each for another birthday party I was attending. Coincidentally, both friends were named Sara!

One of the Sara’s requested White Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes, and while brainstorming a chocolate-y flavor for my second batch I remembered the Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcake recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. I remembered that I made them a few years ago, they were very good, and Zoe took one home and stuck it in her refrigerator. I went out of town for about a month, and on one of my last days on vacation I received a message from Zoe in which she was describing all the amazing flavors of this cupcake that she had saved…for a month! And she sounded practically orgasmic, as she ate it. I still can’t believe the cupcake lasted that long, or how ridiculous that message was. So, I thought I should probably recreate these incredible cupcakes, and hope they came out just as good.

The recipe is just as it was in VCTOTW so I won’t copy it here, but dark chocolate, cinnamon, a hint of spicy cayenne pepper, crunchy cornmeal granulates, and a fluffy vanilla butter cream frosting piped on top – mmm! They were just as I remembered them, and I even gave one to Zoe! She’ll have to comment on this post in about a month and let us all know if it lived up to her memories!


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