And of course…

Red Velvet Cupcakes. Is it me or do they just seem to be every where lately? Popular little things, they are. It seems like you can’t watch an episode of Cupcake Wars (or any other cupcake show, for that matter) without someone turning to them. It makes sense though – they taste amazing and they are pretty easy on the eyes (you always eat cupcakes with your eyes first!). They are a classic, and I used to make them all the time in my non-vegan days, so of course I wanted the challenge of making them vegan and still have them taste just as good. I was further motivated by the boyfriend telling me how he wasn’t sure if he ever had a red velvet cupcake or not.  That, and Tofutti, was all the motivation I needed (as if I need more motivation to bake)!

After sorting through recipes, I found one that sounded close to the non-vegan version but also sounded like it would make a moist cupcake that wasn’t overly sugary. Of course, I changed a few things, as I always seem to do that when baking.

This is the recipe, adapted from http://www.food.com/recipe/red-velvet-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting-vegan-412578:

Cake: (to make just over a dozen cupcakes)

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp red food coloring
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I used Earth Balance), at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, and then started by adding the vinegar to the soy milk to let it curdle while mixing other ingredients. Then, I added the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt. Coming back to the soy milk, I then added the food coloring, oil, vanilla extract and ground almonds. I mixed wet and dry together just until there were no lumps left in the batter. I then filled the cupcake tins and let them bake for about 20 minutes (my oven seems to take a couple minutes longer to bake things than normal though).

Gorgeously red!

While the cupcakes were cooking I made the frosting by first creaming together the Earth Balance and cream cheese, and then the sugar and vanilla. The key here is to have the cream cheese and margarine soft but not too warm, just enough to the ingredients will mix but not start to get runny. This is also why it’s important to make sure the cupcakes have cooled ALL THE WAY before frosting them. As you can see, I was a little hasty (and without my frosting kit) in frosting them, so the cream cheese melted a little on the cupcakes. Although tempting to throw them in the refrigerator, that would only dry the cupcakes themselves out.

The finished product!

I promise you they taste just as good as their non-vegan versions! I wanted to chain eat them all day long, and so did the boyfriend. I would cut one in half and try to convince myself to save the other for later, but it never worked. There was leftover frosting though… if only I had some pastry shells laying around or something. Sadly, I was forced to just feed it to myself right out of the bowl….

In summary, they are gorgeous and I can’t imagine anyone not loving them.

Also, I know there is a lot of debate going on right now about the use of Earth Balance since it contains palm oil. Earth Balance has claimed that their palm oil comes from renewable sources and is not a detriment to the environment. When baking, nothing seems to work quite as well as Earth Balance, so I will continue using it!

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