Sunday, May 13, 2012

Vegan Coconut Cupcakes

I've always viewed vegan baking as being in the same class as "healthy" or "diet" baking.  Better in theory than in practice.  So I wouldn't have ventured down this path except that my parents have started following a vegan diet and I wanted to bake something for Mother's Day.  I had long been curious about Chef Chloe's coconut cupcakes, and had spent a fair amount of time drooling over the pictures.  As if she didn't have me at coconut, there was also an excuse to break out the food coloring.

(Recipe from Chef Chloe)
  • Cupcakes
    • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • ½ cup canola oil
    • 2 tablespoons vanilla
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Frosting
    • 1 cup coconut oil (solid)
    • 3 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2-5 tablespoons coconut milk
    • 2 cups coconut
    • food coloring

Blend the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together.

Combine all of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl...

..and whisk together.

Pour the wet into the dry.

Whisk together until just combined.  Preheat the oven to 350°.

Spread out the cupcake liners between two cupcake pans.  Fill ⅔ full.  Officially the recipe is supposed to yield 14 cupcakes, but I was able to squeeze out 15.

Bake until they pass the toothpick test.  Official recipe baking time = 15-18 minutes.  Mine took 22 minutes.  Set on a wire rack to cool while you make the frosting.

Scrape out a cup of coconut oil.

Beat on high for a minute to soften.

Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time.  Add in the vanilla and enough coconut milk to make spreadable (I ended up using 4 tablespoons).

Beat on high until creamy.

Now food coloring is of course optional for adults, but I couldn't resist.

Add the tiniest amount to the coconut.

Stir to combine.

Add a generous dollop of frosting to each cupcake.

Smooth down.

Add the coconut.

Now it's truth time: are vegan cupcakes any good?  I ate a cupcake immediately after frosting.  The frosting was excellent, but the cake was just OK.  Better than all of the "healthy" cakes I've tried, but not that special.  I boxed them up and walked away.

A few hours later at the party, the cupcakes came out and it was an entirely different story.  The frosting was still excellent, and wow, the cake part was holding its own.  You can stack these up against any conventional cake and it's a fair fight.  So yes, these cupcakes are winners.

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