As soon as I found out that my new boss eats vegan, I got a knot in the pit of my stomach. This, of course, was after the first time I brought in baked goods to my new office. Great. I realize that when baking for a group, there are always going to be people who won’t or can’t eat what I bake and that I can’t always please everyone. But I’d like to try. So when my boss’ birthday was approaching last week, I set out to make her a vegan vanilla cupcake. It wasn’t an easy task and I must have looked through 15+ recipes (mostly vegan) before I finally settled on the one I wanted to use in the first place: a non-vegan recipe. I knew the challenge of this whole vegan baking thing was going to be the ingredients I used in place of dairy so it didn’t really matter if the recipe was labeled vegan or not.
And through the magic world that is Whole Foods, I found everything I needed: vegan butter, an egg substitute, and soy milk which of course is sold other places as well. I had a couple of concerns using these new ingredients, some of which I didn’t even know existed before I started reading vegan baking recipes. How in the world would a powdered egg substitute work? And, can I make buttermilk with soy milk? And to answer quickly, wonderfully and yes! All in all, the vegan butter (vegetable oil-based) reduced the oiliness that some butter-based cupcakes turn out like, the egg substitute yielded a fluffy cupcake, and adding 1 1/2 tbsp of white vinegar to 1 1/4 cups of vanilla soy milk makes a great buttermilk.
My coworkers (including the birthday girl of course) couldn’t have been happier with these cupcakes! The base recipe itself is a fabulous one and one that I look forward to making again. I completely adore anything vanilla bean and this recipe does not disappoint. The flavor of these cupcakes improved as they sat and the stash I left home for Kyle was down 3 before I got home from work that day. When I asked him how he liked them he responded, “Why, what’s in them?” The clear verdict from Kyle and my coworkers was that you could not at all tell that the cupcakes were made with non-traditional baking ingredients. Success!!
PS – the chocolate buttercream recipe (also vegan) can be found here.
Vegan Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 16 tbsp. vegetable oil-based butter (such as Earth Balance), at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 7 ½ tsp. EnerG Egg Replacer mixed with ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. water
- 1¼ cups vanilla soy milk, at room temperature
- 1 ½ tbsp. white vinegar
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside. Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use.) Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.
- Combine the vanilla soy milk with the vinegar (to make soy buttermilk) and set aside. Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the egg substitute mixture until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Combine the soy buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
- Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full (you will likely have batter left over after filling 24 wells.) Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Replace paper liners and bake remaining batter if desired. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.
Yield: approximately 30 cupcakes