A couple years ago when I was in college, my vegan friend Debby (as in Debby’s Kale Chips) brought some cupcakes to school. Being an omnivore myself, I was a little skeptical. But who turns down a cupcake covered in fluffy icing with what appears to be an Oreo plopped on top?!
Well, luckily, not me. Because that was the most amazing cupcake I had ever had.
When our 2/3 vegetarian Cincinnati friends from The Seedy Seeds stopped by our apartment this past weekend I jumped at the opportunity to bring these cupcakes into their lives. Now I am bringing them into your life.
The Seedy Seeds loved these so much that they took a couple for the road. Then, Kendall and I ate some but there were still a few left. We offered them up to a couple strangers when they were at our place on Monday and they exclaimed in delight—without knowing they were vegan.
Here is the recipe for the most amazing cupcake I have ever had. Whether you are vegan or not, make them. The cake is so moist and tender, even on day three of refrigeration.
There are two options for icing. If you are not vegan, I would suggest making the cream cheese icing, as it has a less oily taste than the vegan icing which is loaded with margarine and shortening. If you are vegan then you know what to do.
Vegan Cookies ‘n’ Cream Cupcakes
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Makes 12 cupcakes, 20 minute bake time
1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 coarsely chopped vegan chocolate sandwich cookies, like Newman’s Own
6 vegan chocolate sandwich cookies halved
1. Preheat over to 350˚F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper or foil muffin liners.
2. In a large bowl combine the soy milk and vinegar and allow it to sit for a few minutes until the milk curdles. Once curdled, add the sugar, oil and vanilla extract and beat with a hand mixer until foamy.
3. In a separate bowl whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients while mixing with a hand mixer until well combined. Fold in coarsely chopped oreos with a spatula.
4. Fill cupcake liners halfway with batter. (See Mandy’s Note below) Bake for 18–20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a cooling rack before icing. Garnish each cupcake with a halved cookie.
Pick an Icing:
1. Vegan Cookies ‘n’ Cream Icing
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Makes 4 cups
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine, such as Earth Balance (see Mandy’s Note)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 finely chopped vegan chocolate sandwich cookies, like Newman’s Own
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer
1. Beat shortening and margarine with a hand mixer until fluffy. Slowly beat in powdered sugar. Beat in chopped sandwich cookies.
2. Add vanilla and soy milk to the icing and beat until light and fluffy.
2. Cookies ‘n’ Cream Cheese Icing
Adapted from The Food Network
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 finely chopped chocolate cream sandwich cookies
1. Beat together the butter and cream cheese until well combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar and then chopped cookies. Beat in vanilla.
-My favorite technique for filling cupcake liners is using a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag just fill a quart-sized storage bag with batter and cut the tip off on the bottom corners. This gives me more control over the batter so I don’t end up with batter splatters all over my cupcake pan. (I mostly use this technique because I really hate getting batter on the outside of the cupcake liners. I want perfect cupcakes.)
– I’d like to take this opportunity to offer up some margarine vs. butter education. Margarine is made from plant oils while butter is made from animal products (cream, in particular). When cold, butter and margarine are solids. Because margarine is made from oil it is much softer (and spreadable) when chilled. At room temperature however, margarine is typically a liquid (oil) but butter will remain, mostly, in a stick form. This is due to the chemical structure of the two fats. This is why margarine usually comes in a tub; it is too soft under normal circumstances to hold a stick shape.
“But,” you say, “there is stick margarine at the grocery store!” And you are correct.
Think of a sponge. A dry sponge can hold water but a wet sponge that is fully saturated with water cannot hold anymore. The dry sponge is oil…. it is unsaturated with hydrogen atoms. It has room for more but it does not want anymore. Butter, on the other hand, is saturated and it cannot hold anymore hydrogen.) This is where we get the terms saturated fats and unsaturated fats.
So to saturate the oil, they (the machines) blast it with hydrogen atoms and FORCE the hydrogen into the fat strand. Because this is an unnatural process, what happens is the bonds where the hydrogen was forced in becomes distorted. These bonds are now called trans. (I’m not going to explain why because it is more than you want to know. Trust me.) THIS IS WHERE WE GET TRANS FATS FROM, PEOPLE!
This process turns an oil into a solid. This process makes tub margarine into stick margarine. The stick margarine is still an unsaturated fat but it also has that devious little trans bond. So what? Who cares? Well, trans fats are very unhealthy for us, even more-so than saturated fats. Go ahead and check out this Wikipedia article on trans fat for a little overview on the associated health risks.
So what I’m trying to say is… please buy an unhydrogenated stick margarine if you make this vegan icing. It is so much better for you. The way the unhydrogenated margarines are able to be made into a stick form is because they use a different proportion of vegetable oils, which contain some plant-sourced saturated fat.
Shew. I’m glad I got that out of my system.