Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vegan Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

These past few weeks, a few friends and I hit a huge milestone. We all turned the big 3-0! While most people see it as a big deal, I didn't see it that way. I really am one of those that feel like 30 is the new 20, and my life and adventures have only just begun. If anybody looked at Gary and I, we definitely don't look like we're already in our 30s! These are the same folks I celebrated 2 years ago at the sausage fest party.

A bunch of my friends are ones that I've known since elementary school, as early as kindergarten. I think it's great that we've still kept in touch all these years. Even though we've all hit 30, we decided to go do something fun and kiddy - Laser Tag! I've never gone before, so better late than never!

We went out for an early dinner at a Shanghai Restaurant and I brought cupcakes. I made two flavors, this vegan vanilla one being one of them. I actually bookmarked this recipe a while ago, and I decided to make it for this occasion since I had almost everything on hand. I didn't have many eggs left, and I had some soy milk to use up. I didn't have to go the vegan route, but I did. To be honest, I think vegan cupcakes are pretty easy to make, and seem less messy.

If you think there's no way these cupcakes can stand up to regular ones, well they can! Nobody knew they were vegan until I told them!

Vegan Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World, as seen on their blog

1 cup unsweetened soy milk (or almond milk and omit the almond extract)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 TBSP cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped

frosting (half the original recipe)
1/4 cup non hydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup vegan butter (rec: Earth Balance)
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP soy milk

make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Whisk the milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to curdle.

Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix to combine.

Beat together the milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla extract and vanilla bean in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain. (batter will be thin)

Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

prepare the frosting:
In a stand mixer, beat together the shortening and butter until light. Add sugar a little at a time and beat for 3 minutes until no lumps remain, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Add vanilla and milk and beat for another 5-7 minutes until light and fluffy.

Scoop frosting into a piping bag or heavy duty zip top bag and pipe from the outside in.

Makes 12 cupcakes

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