vegan cupcakes take over my life

So… I have charged boldly forth into the world of vegan cupcakes. Yes, vegan cupcakes are quite the trend these days, and because of that I kind of resisted heading in that direction, but you know what? I think I like vegan cupcakes better (shhhhh!) than traditional cupcakes. If made correctly, they are much, much less work, tastier (I don’t particularly love the flavor of butter and I think without it, one can taste the actual flavors in the cupcakes more clearly), and moister. I swear. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a number of bad vegan cupcakes, but I have also had many, if not more, terrible cupcakes made with butter, eggs, and all sorts of other supposedly delicious things.

Here’s where I’m going with this. I’m not going to make a big deal about it because I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I may have the opportunity to be a dessert provider for a cute little restaurant. They specifically expressed an interest in vegan desserts, so that’s what set me off on this path. Now, whether that actually happens or not, I now have the perfect excuse to test recipes!

The first recipe I tried was a kind of combination of a few recipes from VCTOW, or, for the lay-reader, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I was wooed by the idea of mexican hot chocolate cupcakes, but I also had a request to make the cupcakes sugar free. I also didn’t have corn flour, which is called for in the mex/choc cupcakes, so I smushed a few recipes together, a bit from here, a bit from there and got:

Vegan Agave Sweetened Spiced Hot Chocolate Cupcakes, Philadelphia Style
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
(makes 12 cupcakes)

For the cupcakes:
2/3 C soy milk
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2/3 C light agave nectar
1/3 C canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cayenne
(I also added about ¼ cup of almond meal to the second half of the batter.  You can too, it was good!)

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 325°F.  Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2.    Mix the soy milk and the apple cider vinegar in a large bowl.  Allow this mixture to sit for a minute until it curdles.  Beat in the agave nectar, oil, and vanilla extract.
3.    Measure the dry ingredients into a small bowl and sift them into the wet ingredients.  (If you’re going to add in the almond meal, do it now).
4.    Mix only until smooth.
5.    Pour into the cupcake liners (this should make 12 cupcakes).  Only fill 2/3 of the way.
6.    Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a knife or a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Be careful not to over (or under) bake.
7.    Let the cupcakes cool before you frost them.  Seriously.  Just wait.  I promise, even if you’ve got to eat one right off the cooling rack, it’ll taste a LOT better at room temperature.

For the frosting:
(I just used a simple pourable vegan ganache to frost these babies.)

1.    Melt about half a bar or dark chocolate, two or three tablespoons of soy milk, and a few tablespoons of agave nectar (to taste) over very low heat.
2.    Let the ganache cool a bit, then pour over cooled cupcakes.
3.    I decorated them with slivered almonds because it was cute.

*These are less sweet than your average cupcake.  If you’re open to that, I think they’re pretty good!

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