Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How to vegan to say thank you...

I had a friend come by with his truck and take my husband to pick up this piece of furniture for us. I can't imagine being a truck owner. Always doing favors. My husband hates bothering people with trucks because he thinks they hate when people use them for their vehicle. He's probably right, but since we don't have a choice, it had to be done.

Anyway, I wanted to make some thank you cupcakes. The problem - he's a vegan. I've been thinking I need to learn how to make vegan cakes anyway since I have lots of friends who have made this commitment. I envy them for their ability to stay true to their beliefs. I live with two meatatarians who would never allow a meat-free house let alone going vegan. Plus, I have a very deep rooted and serious love of cheese. A life without cheese? No thanks.

But, this wasn't about me. So I turned to one of the best resources for recipes - I like the fact that people post their own recipes so you get variation. The best part about the website, though, is the reviews. I'm skeptical about making anything without hearing what others think first. Luckily, they had a vegan recipe with good reviews and reasonable ingredients.
One of the most important things I learned from reading the reviews is that vegans do not eat sugar because apparently it is sometimes processed using animal bone. I went to the grocery store looking specifically for vegan sugar. What I found was a natural unprocessed sugar (for a couple extra dollars of course!) that would work. The problem was with the powdered sugar. It's made out of granulated sugar so the same non-vegan processing is possible. I didn't find an alternative but, luckily, my friends don't mind the use of regular sugar so on this one ingredient I may or may not have been completely vegan.

The cupcakes were so soft and moist, I love them! I was a little disappointed with the flavor. I added seasonings to make it more like a spice cake and, although delicious and not at all plain, it was not as flavorful as I had hoped. Definitely a recipe that is easy to make and easy to adapt into all different kinds of cakes.

Vegan Spice Cupcakes - adapted from Allrecipes

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups almond milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar (vegan?)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 18 paper baking cups.

Measure the apple cider vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup. Fill with almond milk to make 1 1/2 cups. Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter. Frost with desired frosting.

The reviewers also told me they wouldn't rise much. I was surprised how much they actually did rise. I would suggest filling the cups about 2/3 full.
I topped the cupcakes with a pumpkin icing ('tis the season!) to make a nice flavor addition. I made the icing as follows: 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 4-6 cups powdered sugar. I added the sugar until slightly stiff. The icing was still pretty liquid and I applied with a teaspoon in a dollop and allowed to firm as it cooled.
The end result was cute and tasty...and a nice thank you if you ask me!


  1. organic powdered sugar is almost always vegan (trader joe's has some right now)!
    also, was this by chance for aaron? just being curious.
    awsome flavor combo, i will be making these for work! i got into baking after i went vegan so that i knew i would still be able to eat cake, the thing is i live alone and if i made cake as much as i wanted i would be as big as a house! now when i get in the mood, i just make a lot and take it in to the animals at work :)

  2. I always bring extras to work! They're getting so used to it, when more than 3-4 days go by without treats, everyone asks me what's up! HA HA!