I really hope what they say is true–that practice makes perfect–because after last night’s cupcake disaster, I could really use some consolation. I suppose this–my vegan baking project going south (and fast)–is a rite of passage for me. Raise your hand if you’re vegan and you’ve attempted to bake before and shit just did not turn out. Probably all of you.
I’m not sure what came over me but I decided hey, I know enough about vegan baking to head into the kitchen and just freakin’ freestyle it. There are several reasons why I should not be baking: 1) I am trying to lose weight and nothing sweet lasts longer than 12 hours in my presence. 2) I am a recipe-follower, not a recipe-maker. 3) While I have been following recipes for cookies and cupcakes for years and have a pretty good idea what goes into a recipe and in what quantity, that has no bearing on vegan baked goods! That’s a whole ‘nother ball game!
But against my better judgment, I headed over to the kitchen anyway. The craving for sweets knows no bounds. While these suckers just did not turn out presentation-wise, the taste was delicious! Even omnivore-approved! But let’s not forget: they didn’t rise properly, they fell apart, the frosting was more of a runny dip than anything that would even resemble frosting. But since they tasted so good, it had me wondering: why do we concern ourselves so much with presentation? It’s all going to get mashed together in our bellies anyway. I understand wanting baked goods to look nice for parties, events, but if it’s just you and your significant other at home, what does it matter if it leaves a little (or a lot…) to be desired in the looks department?
Without further ado, I present to you the recipe. If you don’t care how things look, follow this to a T and you will have a proud little army of cupcake rejects in your kitchen. Or, since you probably have a better handle on vegan ingredients, adjust the measurements and add/subtract to come up with something that will hold together long enough to get the cupcake wrappers off these little suckers.
Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream “Cheese” Frosting
1 cup vegan margarine (I used Smart Balance light)
¾ cup granulated sugar (**you probably want to substitute organic/vegan sugar but I didn’t have any on hand**)
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup almond milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp vegan margarine
3 tbsp Tofutti vegan cream “cheese”
2 ½ cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together vegan margarine and sugars with electric mixer until just blended.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk ground flax seed with water until mixture is gelatinous.
4. Add flax seed mixture, vanilla, vegetable oil, and almond milk to creamed margarine. Blend with electric mixer until smooth.
5. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk until blended.
6. With electric mixer, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and blend until smooth.
7. Spoon into cupcake tins until they are half full. Makes approximately 12 cupcakes.
8. Bake 20 minutes.
1. While cupcakes are cooling, blend vegan margarine, vegan cream “cheese”, vanilla and 1 cup confectioners sugar with electric mixer.
2. Add remaining confectioners sugar little by little until fully blended.
As the texture of this frosting made the use of a pastry bag obviously out of the question, I attempted to frost using the aid of this spatula. After that failed attempt, I decided to try dipping them in to the frosting. This tactic worked with all but one cupcake–this little guy decided to jump ship. (“Cupcake overboard!” I yelled from the kitchen.)
At the end, these little rejects were the only cupcakes left standing. Between the one I taste-tested to see if making the frosting would even be worthwhile to the few that crumbled and fell apart pre-frosting and then the lone soldier that committed frosting suicide, this is all I had left in all their hideous glory.
But trust me on this–they tasted good. So good. I just need to figure out why the ground flax didn’t work well as a binder and why the flour + baking soda didn’t help the batter rise and why the frosting wasn’t destined to ever become fluffy.
I guess I should probably read up on Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World to get a better handle on things before attempting any other freestylin’ recipes.
Console me and tell me about your biggest baking disaster, and did you revisit the recipe to correct it at a later date? Have you ever baked something that had as poor a presentation as the cupcakes above but tasted ridiculously good anyway?