A Southern Grace: a little veganization

November 5, 2013

a little veganization


You'd think that with the rise in popularity of vegan diets, people would know by now how to pronounce the word.

But no, I still get requests for vay-gan cakes and vej-an pies. That's okay though--at least these folks are trying to be accommodating to the needs of their friends and family.

I totally respect vegans, whether it's a philosophical choice or out of nutritional necessity. I'm fortunate enough to have no such dietary or conscientious restrictions, but there's certainly no reason why vegans shouldn't enjoy a cupcake just like the rest of us.

Honestly, I was skeptical when I came across the recipes upon which these cupcakes are based. I can see past using vegetable oil in place of butter and soy milk instead of cow's milk, but what about eggs? Those little ellipsoids have so many functions!

I'm here to testify that those ingredients are not missed in these cupcakes, especially the chocolate ones. The chocolate flavor shines and the texture is surprisingly light and springy. The frosting, while a little bit weird if, like me, you're used to butter in your buttercream, is smooth and decadent.

The vanilla cupcakes, while still tasty, were not as much of a triumph. They had an odd flavor that I couldn't quite identify, but again, the texture was pleasant and unexpectedly fluffy. The story was the same with the frosting--the shortening contributes to an interesting mouthfeel that isn't offensive but is definitely different from a traditional version.

All in all, I'd say these vegan cupcakes would satisfy any person who consumed them. The next time you have to make dessert for a crowd, do your vegan friends a favor and make something they can enjoy too!

Veganized Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 12
  • 1-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened plain soy milk, plus more, if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
To make the cupcakes, first preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together oil, vinegar, vanilla and water until well combined. Add flour mixture to the mixer and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Don't be alarmed that the batter is more watery than normal cake batters. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of 1 of the cupcakes comes out clean, making sure to rotate the pan halfway through cooking. Immediately remove cupcakes from muffin tin and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the powdered sugar, shortening, soy milk, extract, and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, then reduce the speed to low. Add the chocolate and beat until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute more. If the frosting is dry, add more soy milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks.

Veganized Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes about 16
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain soy milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3 tablespoons unsweetened plain soy milk
To make the cupcakes, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with 16 cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy milk, oil, vanilla, and vinegar. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not over mix. Fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds full with batter. Bake standard sized cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the vegetable shortening until smooth. With the mixer running on low, add powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon soy milk at a time, as needed, until frosting reaches the proper consistency. Beat on high for another 2 minutes until light and fluffy.


I Wilkerson said...

I laughed at your egg comment because I had the same thought about the vegan chocolate almond cakes I just made. I actually filled the (mini-bundt) molds too full, I was so worried they wouldn't rise enough. Silly me! These had a chocolate glaze so got past the butter issue.

Ally said...

I was cracking up at your examples of people's mispronunciations. I've gotten emails from readers for "glutton-free" recipes on occasion. The first time it happened it took me a moment to realize they meant gluten-free. LOL ;)

Guru Uru said...

Ok so the idea of being a vegan sincerely scares me, as I am a massive devotee of eggs in baked goods - but now I understand how they do it - with cupcakes like this :D


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautiful and extremely tempting!



Gloria Baker said...

you make me laugh Grace and I have too some vegans recipes but the eggs are important for me but yours cupcakes look abdolutely wonderful xo

Barbara said...

Funny....the things people come up with. I'm grinning this morning at your opening lines. (And the glutton for gluten) I love it.
I don't make a lot of gluten free and don't know if I've ever baked vegan, but must confess, am amazed at how they turned out. And without eggs!

Blond Duck said...

My aunt is vegan and I have such a hard time cooking for her!


~~louise~~ said...

Good morning Grace!

My son has been following a vegan diet for over a year now. I'm embarrassed to say I've never baked him anything "sweet." I'm going to save these recipes for his birthday. I'm sure he would be deliciously surprised!

Thanks so much for sharing, Grace...

Rosita Vargas said...

Ohhh Grace son pastelitos abosolutamente maravillosos y deliciosos me encantan su estilo bien Gourmet,abrazos.

Pam said...

My vegan friend will love this, the pronunciation, and the cupcakes too! Yum! I'm new here and glad I found your blog.

Angie Schneider said...

I can imagine myself being a vegetarian....but not vegan. These cupcakes look fanfreakingtastic, Grace.

Pam said...

I just don't think going vegan would be a good option for me. However, I love that these cute cupcakes can still let a vegan have their cake & eat it too! They look great.

Caroline Taylor said...

How nice to post something vegan friendly! Worth a try I think.

Lucy @ Lucyeats said...

Haha vay-gan! Thanks for the post, Grace -I've always wondered what kind of desserts would suit vegans!

Joanne said...

I'm always shocked by how well vegan cupcakes turn out. They are always so moist!!

Beth said...

I baked vegan cookies for a friend last year, and was honestly surprised at how well they turned out without eggs. I wouldn't hesitate to make them again!

Lisa-Marie said...

I have several vegan friends, so these are much appreciated Grace