Thursday, June 13, 2013

Vegan Cupcake Bake-Off - Chocolate Avocado Frosting

The first proper cupcake I tasted was in New York in 2006 on our last family holiday.  I had dragged my brother, Richard, on the Sex and the City tour and as part of the tour they took us to Carrie’s stoop which is close the very famous Magnolia Bakery.  We had a classic vanilla cupcake in a park close to the bakery and I was hooked! I’d baked fairy cakes and ‘lost cherry’ buns with my Grandma when I was little, decorating them with lots of multi coloured icing (the water & icing sugar kind). They were great but these cupcakes tasted different; light and fluffy with the perfect amount of gorgeous buttercream frosting! Since then I’ve been a little bit cupcake crazy and am constantly on the hunt for cupcakes that taste as good as that very first vanilla cupcake.
Cupcakes & Cava Birthday Party '10
There was never any doubt in my mind about cupcakes for our wedding and the so the hunt began for a vegan cupcake recipe.  I was doubtful I’d find a recipe that would match up to a non-vegan cupcake, as I’m a big fan of both buttercream and cream cheese frosting but the challenge was set.

First up is a vegan frosting suggestion from Fiona (Jim's sister).  She’d recommended trying avocado in the icing. I was a bit skeptical   We love avocados as guacamole but I wasn't sure how this frosting would taste but I  found some great recipes on some of my favourite websites and gave it a go last night.

Click below to see how I go on.

Cupcake ingredients (I followed this recipe on A Kind Life)
(NB. 1 cup = 8 Fluid Oz)

1 cup soya milk (any non dairy milk would do)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar 
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp red food coloring (or you can use beetroot juice)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

- Heat oven to about 170°C & line muffin tray with cupcake cases
- Put soya milk & vinegar into a bowl & let it curdle for 5 mins
- Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl & make a well in the middle

- Add oil, food colouring, vanilla extract & almond extract to the milk & vinegar. Whisk together.

- Pour wet ingredients into the well in the middle of the dry ingredients & mix until ingredients come together.  Small lumps are ok - don't over mix.

- 3/4 fill the cupcake cases & put in the over for 16-20 mins but keep an eye on them as your oven may be better than mine.

- Once cooked remove from muffin tray & place on wire rack to cool.  While they cool, you can make the icing. Let them completely cool before icing them. 

Avocado Icing Ingredients: (this recipe is from The Vegan Project)
1/3 cup soya milk (or your favourite non dairy equivalent)
2 cups icing sugar
1/2-1 cup cocoa powder
2 small-ish avocados
1 teaspoon vanilla

- Put all ingredients into a food processer & blend until smooth.
- I used a spoon to top the cupcakes with icing. I'm sure you could use a fancy piping bag but I didn't have one & quite liked the 'rustic' home made look! 

And Voila! 

Voila! :)
Chocolate vegan cupcakes with chocolate avocado icing.  

The cupcake recipe is perfect. The cake is light but moist. I didn't really notice a red colour to the cake- the cocoa powder seemed to have over powered the red food colouring. The icing was really nice.  It's almost like a rich dark chocolate ganache but it's not too sickly and we didn't notice the taste of avocado. I was a bit worried the icing might change colour over night as avocado browns quite quickly but there was no change to the icing.  Jim really enjoyed them and I took some samples into work and they went down really well.

Great taste
Look great & kept well.

Limited flavour & colour options because of the natural colour & taste of the avocado.

Didn't Take Jim long to devour his first cupcake!!

Disclaimer : There is quite a lot of sugar in this recipe so I’m in no way suggesting that these are a healthier alternative to non-vegan cupcakes. They are a treat and we would never sit down to eat more than 1 each (well it depends how big our accompanying cup of tea is!) 

These were really easy to make so I recommend having a go!  
I’m sure there was lots of other great vegan cupcake recipes out there so if you know of any others, let me know in the comments below.


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