I am no vegan but appreciate and admire its cause. The reason I made these cupcakes was not due to environmental reasons or animal rights, although those are HUGE pluses, I made them because they were easy. When it's 9PM, I'm laying on the couch watching the fifth Sopranos episode in a row (and possibly a few glasses of champagne deep) one of the last things I want to do is bake (and also clean up the inevitable giant mess I will create....due to champagne consumption). So I glanced through the Martha Stewart "Cupcakes" book and spotted these babies. Another huge reason I made these was because I was out of milk and whipping cream. So that means no frosting. Nearly every recipe contains milk or buttermilk, and inevitably has some sort of cream-related frosting recipe. When I happened upon a recipe with neither frosting nor milk involved in the cakes that's all I needed to whip them up. And the fact that they took like 5 minutes to prepare. I realized half way through (champagne) that the recipe only makes 12, so I had to go back and make another batch. Wasn't a problem though because it didn't require that much of any one ingredient. Thank God I had enough of everything because I was not about to go up to the store and I think I've used up all my favors long ago with Collin running that errand for me.
The batter was incredibly thin and I questioned whether they were going to turn out, but since they were chocolate I figured my lab-mates couldn't complain too much. Also, I decided to omit the vegan part until they had all consumed at least half before dropping that on them, figuring if they knew before hand they would say "oh yea, I know what you mean, they are dry" or "yea, butter would have really been nice here" or "where the hell is the frosting?". But instead of any of these comments, they were quite pleased they were vegan and requested more in the future. I was surprised but also agreed with them entirely. They were delicious cupcakes and certainly take no backseat to any dairy-ridden treat. I confess, I did use a tiiiiiny bit of butter in the ganache on top. What? It's ganache what am I supposed to do? I was confounded by the veganess and broke down and used some butter. In the book they have you dust cocoa powder on top which is a lovely version. So if you really want to be strictly vegan, use the cocoa powder or just have them plain. I promise they are good enough without any extras.
I'm happy to add this to my repetoir and my fear of offering a vegan treat has subsided a bit. I no longer fear that the people will rebel if they don't get their weekly rations of butter and frosting from me and are perfectly happy with a sweet non-dairy alternative. We can all feel a little better about ourselves for it. Which reminds me....
A wonderful charity that I donate too frequently is the Human Farming Association which rescues animals from industrial farms in this country. Please check it out. They do great work for such a worthy cause. If you can, please buy your dairy products from a local/organic farm. They are usually much smaller farms (non-industrial) and treat the animals humanely. Happy cows = good milk and butter (happy body). Yum.
In the case of these cupcakes at least, you will not miss the dairy. Promise.
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 12)
From Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self rising, sifted)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups water
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, mix together oil, vinegar, vanilla, and the water until well combined. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed (batter will be very thin).
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn out cupcakes onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
- Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 1 month, in airtight containers. Dust cupcakes with cocoa and confectioners' sugar just before serving.
Photos by ME this time (new camera).