Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I have been working on getting a cupcakes recipe right for a long time. I either can't get them to rise the way that I want or the frosting turns out like runny poo or I burn them or something equally unappetizing. 

I am not a baker. But I'm learning and I'm beginning to master recipes and pick up skills that are making me a better baker and, as a result, a better overall cook.

A couple of crucial things that I have learned about making cupcakes.
  •  Don't fill the cupcake liners too full. They really mean it when they say 2/3 full. Any fuller and they won't cook evenly and will become too dense and heavy and stay flat topped.
  • If using the apple cider vinegar-non-dairy milk curdling method (used as a butter milk substitute and works like a charm if done correctly) using so-delicious coconut milk will NOT allow the vinegar to curdle and therefore the effect will be lost.
  • If adding flavor in the form of liquid to cupcake recipes (as an alteration), make sure to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe so they don't turn out too runny (duh, Taylor, duh).
  • Vegetable shortening is the only vegan way to make frosting super fluffy (that I have found anyway). Margarine doesn't do the trick.
  • Resist the urge to just dump your powdered sugar in all at once. Really. If you sift it and then put it in in batches the frosting will turn out much fluffier and prettier.
So far, those are my important lessons although I learn something new every time I take a whack at baking; with each new post, there will be new lessons :)

Alright, so recipe time. This recipe is actually for red velvet cupcakes (but I didn't have any red food coloring sooooo they are just velvet cupcakes).

  • 1 cup soy milk (USE SOY - rice may also work but I haven't tried it)
  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla/almond/chocolate extract (whatever you have is great here!)
  • 2 Tbsp red food coloring (not pictured because I didn't have it...haha oops)
 Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (earth balance works beautifully here) - softened
  • 1/4 + cup tofutti or other non-dairy cream cheese - softened
  • 2 Tbsp vegan margarine (again with the earth balance) - softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pan.

Pour your apple cider vinegar and soy milk in a bowl and set aside for about 5-10 minutes to curdle (this replaces buttermilk and will give the baking soda something to react with, allowing your cupcakes to rise). You won't taste the vinegar in the final product (or even really in the batter for that matter), scout's honor.

In a separate bowl, sift/mix together your dry ingredients until completely combined.

In your mixer bowl, mix your soy/vinegar mixture, canola oil, apple sauce, extracts and food coloring.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until there are no lumps left.

Pour batter into cupcake liners until each one is 2/3 of the way full (lesson learned, don't overfill!)

Place in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes.

For the frosting:

Cream together the shortening, cream cheese and margarine until nice and smooth.

Slowly sift in your powdered sugar, making sure that each time you add more you give your frosting enough time to whip completely. After all the powdered sugar is added, whip for another minute or so and then add in your vanilla. Whip the vanilla in and prepare to have beautiful, fluffy vanilla frosting!!

Helpful hint: Because I don't have piping tips or frosting bags yet (I ordered them on amazon today yay!!) I simply scoop  my frosting into a quart sized ziploc bag and cup and cut off a corner (about 1/4 inch) and use that to pipe my frosting! Not the best solution but it works in a pinch :)

Clearly I'm still learning how to pipe. Baby steps, baby steps.

Live long and prosper! And bake it up!

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