A lot of my friends are vegan, and although we love to talk about food, I hate not being able to share a lot of the things I bake with these friends. So on a winter trip to Toronto, I was quite excited to find the book Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World, which I have heard is apparently the vegan cupcake bible.
So I decided to try out some vegan cupcakes to surprise some friends who don’t get to eat baked goods very often.
These Gingerbread cupcakes, with a lemony buttercream are my first real foray into the world of vegan baking. They use ingredients like soymilk and soy yogurt that I otherwise wouldn’t use on a regular basis, but for the most part the recipe was simple and straightforward. I was very pleasantly surprised by the cupcakes they were light and fluffy, had a lovely texture and a spicy, rich gingerbread flavour. They tasted good both warm from the oven and room temperature.
The problem however was their appearance. The cupcakes sank in the middle. A combination of the very liquidy batter, and possibly my inconsistent oven, produced fluffy tasty cupcakes that unfortunately had pronounced craters in their centers. Now as an artist I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my baking, and when I eat a cupcake I want it to have lovely rounded tops. I can’t bring myself to serve ugly cupcakes no matter how good they taste, my vegan friends deserve better.
Behold the craters:
The trick is to think of the craters as frosting opportunities. So I proceeded to make up a vegan “butter” cream recipe to make what was once concave look convex. The recipe is loosely based on the lemony buttercream in Vegan Cupcakes take Over the World, but I messed with the quantities because I really didn’t want to buy margarine. So I just used shortening as my frosting base, and made sure it was liberally flavored with lemon zest, and vanilla. And it was better than I’d hoped.
I brought these gingerbread cupcakes with lemony frosting to a soup-making potluck. We ate them with green tea to cap off a productive night of cooking. My friend said they tasted like a lemon bar and a gingerbread cookie that had a cake lovechild. She also thought that the lemon frosting was a surprise with the ginger. She went back for seconds so I do believe my vegan baking experiment was successful.
Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup molasses
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup soy milk
- 2 tablespoons soy yogurt
- 1-1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcakes liners.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt into a bowl and mix.
- Whisk the oil, molasses, maple syrup, soy milk, yogurt, and lemon zest in a separate large bowl. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just until smooth. The batter will be quite runny.
- Fill cupcake liners two-thirds full. Bake for 19-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting. (I let the cupcakes cool in pans for about ten minutes before turning out.)
Notes: the cupcakes have a lot of liquid in them so they might sink in the middle, this is ok! As long as the cupcakes are baked through they will be good and fluffy and moist. Think of the craters as frosting opportunities.
Lemon “Butter” cream
- ¼ cup shortening (I used Crisco)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- Beat all ingredients together until smooth, adding more lemon zest or sugar if needed to loosen or stiffen icing.
Adapted from: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World