My Journey in the Far North

thoughts, inspiration, devotions and recipes from my journey in the far north

Coffee Break Cupcakes February 28, 2011

A while ago I heard that cupcakes are on their way out…a fad no longer.  Kind of hard to believe because I’ve seen cupcake shops everywhere.  While visiting my sister in Tacoma, WA, I visited two cupcake shops (located in Tacoma) and enjoyed their cupcakes…very tasty.  I even saw a cupcake shop today in east Fresno.  So, I don’t think cupcakes on their way out.

Since becoming vegan (meat and dairy free), I probably shouldn’t have tried those cupcakes in Tacoma, but they sure tasted great.  One of the concerns I had about becoming meat and dairy free was that I wouldn’t be able to bake anymore, but thanks to several blogs focusing on vegetarian and vegan cooking/baking, I’ve been able to continue baking.  My vegan baking has included cookies, muffins, vegan buttercream frosting, and much more…but I haven’t made a completely vegan cupcake.

So, I decided to challenge myself.  I found a really good recipe for the cake part of the cupcake which I decided to use.  For the frosting, I’ve had my eye on a cooked frosting.  While the original recipe is not vegan, I decided to try making it vegan. 

I decided to combine two of my favorite things:  Chocolate and coffee.  Result: Coffee Break Cupcakes…chocolate coffee cupcakes with a mocha marshmallow-like frosting.

They turned out great.  And, my tasters (my mom and gran) liked them. Honestly, I love the cake.  It’s light and devil’s food-like.  Really great.  The frosting is…interesting.  It, too, is light and air-y, but very different…very marshmallow-y. 

Coffee Break Cupcakes

The frosting is speckled for some reason I can’t figure out, but it still looks nice, don’t you think.

Coffee Break Cupcakes

Yields 12

Vegan Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

1 cup almond milk (you can use soy milk)

1 tsp distilled vinegar (white vinegar)

3/4 cup granulated white sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 T instant coffee powder or espresso powder (use Starbuck’s VIA)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F (or 190 degrees C).  Line muffin pan with liners.

Whisk together the almond milk and vinegar, set aside.

Add sugar, oil and vanilla to the almond milk mixture, and beat until foamy.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and instant coffee/espresso.

Add dry to wet and beat until no large lumps remain.

Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Test with cake tester (if it comes out clean it’s done) or touch the top of one of the cakes, if it springs back it’s done baking.

Vegan Mocha Cooked Frosting

5 T Flour

1 cup almond milk (sub with any other kind of milk if desired)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup vegan butter, like Earth Balance Buttery Spread (in sticks)

1 cup granulated white sugar (not powdered or icing sugar)

2 packets Starbucks VIA

1/4 cup cocoa powder

In a sauce pan, whisk flour, milk together, cocoa powder and VIA packets and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until very thick…like brownie batter thick.  Take off heat and cool to room temp (approximately 10 minutes).  You can speed cool this by placing pot in cold water.

Once cooled, add vanilla extract to mixture.

Meanwhile, beat vegan butter and sugar in mixer until light and fluffy (try to beat until there are no sugar granules.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until fluffy and resembles whipped cream.

I chilled this is a little in the fridge before piping on to the cupcakes.  This seemed to help.  After frosting the cupcakes need to be chilled or the frosting will get really soft.

If you prefer buttercream style frosting, it’s not hard to make. 

Vegan Mocha Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup soy margarine (like Earth Balance)

1/4 cup soy, almond, or rice milk

3 cups powdered sugar (also known as icing sugar)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1-2 packets Starbucks VIA

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the milk together.  Add cocoa and the contents of the VIA packet(s).  Blend.  Add half of the powdered sugar and beat well.  Add the vanilla extract, beat.  Add the rest of the sugar, beat.  Add more sugar until it reaches desired consistency.



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