Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha American-Style Buttercream

Last week my husband asked if I could please bake something for a good friend of his. I immediately jumped at the chance to do some baking… and then I remembered that I was out of eggs. Oops. But then I remembered that Rosie over at Sweetapolita  recently made some vegan chocolate cupcakes, based on a recipe from a cookbook that I already own. And if Rosie says they are good, then I know they are good. Perfect! I decided I’d give those a try, and pair it with a mocha American-style buttercream from the same book (no eggs = no Swiss meringue buttercream either).

The cupcakes turned out great – very chocolatey and moist. (I did find them just a little bit crumbly – I ate it on a plate, with a spoon – but I assume that is because there are no eggs to give it structure.) I would not hesitate to make these again.

I did make the frosting with margarine and soy milk, keeping these completely vegan, and it was really yummy. However, I’d imagine that if made with butter they’d be even more delicious!

Vegan Chocolate Cake (or Cupcakes)

2 cups (275 g) all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (100 g) natural cocoa powder (NOT Dutch processed) (I used plain old Hershey’s)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 3/4 cups (450 ml) soy milk

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 2/3 cups (320 g) superfine sugar

1 1/4 cups (320 ml) sunflower oil (I used grape seed oil)

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 315°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line with parchment or line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2. Put the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Sift twice.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soy milk, vinegar, sugar, oil and vanilla extract. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until well combined.

4. For a 9-inch cake: Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 40-55 minutes. A wooden skewer inserted in the middle should come out with almost no crumbs attached, and the middle of the cake, when pressed, should spring back slightly instead of sink. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes if necessary. For cupcakes: Divide batter evenly between the muffin liners, filling each cup no more than 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes (start checking at around 18 minutes; mine took about 22 minutes), until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake come out with almost no crumbs attached.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Slide a table knife all around the edge to loosen the cake, then remove from the pan (or carefully remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin). Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

*Adapted from Tea with Bea: Recipes from Bea’s of Bloomsbury, by Bea Vo

Mocha American-Style Buttercream

3 sticks (350 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into chunks

7 cups (780 g) confectioners’ sugar

2-3 tablespoons (30-50 ml) milk

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons espresso powder

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Using an electric mixer with paddle or beater attachment, beat the butter and sugar until the mixture is lightened in color and fluffy in texture. Beat in the milk, vanilla extract, espresso powder and cocoa powder (I dissolved the espresso powder in the milk before adding to the frosting).

*Adapted from Tea with Bea: Recipes from Bea’s of Bloomsbury, by Bea Vo

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