Over the years, Gilmore Girls has given me many important life lessons. One that really stuck in my head was Sookie’s incessant need to never attend a party without bringing food. Or rather, in her own words, “I never go anywhere without a casserole.” I live by this same motto except that I almost always bring a dessert when going to a party or family gathering of sorts. Most of the time that just consists of our family cookie recipe or a big batch of brownies, but this week I decided to mix things up a bit and make vegan red velvet cupcakes.
Red velvet cupcakes are always a showstopper. There is just something about a red cupcake with fancy cream cheese icing that really excites people. I was never the most adventurous eater as a child, and mainly stuck to the plain chocolate and yellow cakes from a box. However, a little reunion with high school friends, dressed up in their Gatsby-best, inspired me to make something uniquely delicious.
Vegan baking was a huge mystery to me until I made these cupcakes for the first time, two years ago. I completely understand that egg replacer, vegan butter and fake cream cheese all sound pretty gross. Real eggs, butter and cream cheese aren’t particularly appetizing on their own either, which should be taken into account when preparing vegan baked goods. Ingredients are just part of the puzzle - it is the end product that should be scrutinized. These cupcakes will please any persons palate, vegan or not.
Apparently, having easy access to sweets is a major deal breaker when it comes to turning vegan. To be honest, it never really crossed my mind because I don’t find myself baking in the kitchen on a regular basis. However, I decided to get some use out of this recipe again when I decided to bring a dessert to this gathering of my old high school pals. It would have been much simpler to make some basic yellow box-mix cupcakes, sprinkle on some jimmies and call it a day. That just is not how I was raised.
Also, I figured this would be a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone (is it vegan to say that?) by making these cupcakes for my friends and writing about it in my blog. I even made another batch later in the week for some family friends. In other words, I had nothing to do on a Friday night and gave away the cupcakes because I wanted to avoid a sugar-induced coma. Vegan baking is just as fun as normal baking except you are given piece of mind knowing that your cupcakes were made without animal products.
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
2 Tbs red food coloring (liquid)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1. Combine soy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle about 5 minutes or more. (DON'T SKIP THIS.)
2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add the oil, food coloring, and extracts to the milk/vinegar mixture, and whisk well.
4. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just until the large lumps disappear.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Pour the cupcakes into cupcake liners (2/3 of the way up) and bake for 18-20 minutes.
1/4 Cup vegan margarine (earth balance), softened
1/4 Cup vegan cream cheese, softened
2 Cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Cream together the margarine and vegan cream cheese until combined.
2. Sift in the powdered sugar in half-cup batches, whipping thoroughly after each addition.
3. Add the vanilla and whip until light and fluffy.
* A lot of icing that you buy at the store is actually vegan. Just make sure to check the ingredients beforehand!
Photos by Christie Merino/Gavel Media