Vegan Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

When I was 9, in one weekend, I went to the adorable petting zoo and got a small talk from my vegetarian next door neighbor about animal cruelty. So I ultimately decided to be a vegetarian. Like most children trying to be vegetarian, this attempt lasted no longer than two weeks and my parents ‘cure’ was to simply cook spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Although my vegetarianism was a short extravaganza, I have always admired the idea and reasons behind being vegetarian and vegan. In English we were assigned a creative project on a societal flaw and one of my peers chose to present on animal cruelty and the motives she has behind being a vegan. Her presentation was both fascinating and heartbreaking and I immediately became interested in vegan lifestyle. This let me to research some vegan recipes and after trying a few out, I immediately took to them. Knowing that I will probably never be vegan doesn’t stop me from trying to bake vegan treats.

While eating at vegan restaurants can be enjoyable, I struggle to find homemade vegan cookies, cupcakes brownies etc. that I am proud to give out to my vegan friends. This recipe is definitely an exception. The simple vegan vanilla cupcakes tasted no different than any other cupcake, and the chocolate frosting, even without dairy butter and milk, tasted delicious. My success with this recipe has definitely inspired me to continue to make vegan recipes in the future. Can’t wait to try some vegan brownies next! ENJOY!

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INGREDIANTS:

Cupcakes:

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups almond milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed until liquid

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Vegan Buttercream Chocolate Frosting:

1 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (sifted)

1 1/4 sticks of vegan butter (softened)

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup non-dairy milk (almond)

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 18 paper baking cups.
  2. Measure the apple cider vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup. Fill with almond milk to make 1 1/2 cups. Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, coconut oil and vanilla.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. When done, cool in the pan over a wire rack.
  7. While the cupcakes are baking, make the vegan frosting:
    1. Add the butter, milk, vanilla extract and cocoa powder to a large mixing bowl and using an electric hand or standing beater, start mixing them together until the liquids thicken with the fluffy cocoa. Turn beater on low and beat until smooth.
    2. Add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time and beat until frosting is fluffy. Avoid overbeating.
  8. Frost the chocolate frosting onto the cupcakes when they are completely cooled. If the cakes are warm, the heat will easily melt the vegan butter.

Love,

Ally!

Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Frosting

                   Taking a small step away from fall-themed baking, I decided ago to try making this cupcake recipe that I have seen on allrecipes for sooooo long. It was on my to-bake list all summer long, but I just never got around to making it before fall began. Last week, we had a ton of extra lemons laying around, and was in the mood to make a unique recipe. These lemon and blackberry cupcakes seemed to fit my needs perfectly.

                I was planning on selling the cupcakes at a bake sale that my volleyball team was holding on Thursday, but unfortunately Wednesday was Yom Kippur. The only thing harder than fasting, is fasting while baking. I decided to see if I could push through it, and bake anyway. Although it was really difficult, I finished the cupcakes without having taken a single bite!  After I broke the fast, and tried a cupcake, I decided that it was definitely worth it. Somehow the subtle sweetness of the blackberry blends perfectly with the lemon cupcake. The people at the bake sale were going on about the cupcakes, they were sold in minutes. I would 1000% recommend this recipe for anyone who wants a unique cupcake that everyone will love. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1 lemon, juice and zest

1 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup seedless blackberry jam

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. Cream sugar and 1/2 cup butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and mix 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract into mixture with the second egg.
  4. Beat in flour and baking powder until thoroughly combined; beat in milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest to make a smooth batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until cupcake edges are slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes completely.
  7. Beat 1 cup butter with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and salt until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, to make a creamy frosting. Beat in blackberry jam. Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes.

Love,

Ally

 

(http://allrecipes.com/recipe/220884/lemon-cupcake-with-blackberry-buttercream/)

Piña Colada Cupcakes

If I am ever traveling to a tropical destination, piña coladas are a MUST HAVE. They are my absolute favorite drink and I would kill for one at any time of any day. My love for piña coladas started when my best friend Shelby (more like a sister), her family and my family all traveled together to Cancun, Mexico. Since we all stayed at a Club Med, we got unlimited drinks, which, being a couple of 10 year olds, made Shelby and I very happy. Since I had heard “If you like Pina Coladas” by Jimmy Buffet so many times as a kid, I immediatly knew that a piña colada was the first drink I had to try. From that point on, every single time that we passed the bar, Shelby and I stopped by and ordered a new set of drinks. I would always get a piña colada and Shelby got a strawberry dackarie (virgin of course). I can’t even count how many piña coladas I drank that week. Every since then, I have associated piña coladas with happiness and always make sure to have at least one every time I travel somewhere with a beach and a bar.

So when I came across a piña colada cupcake recipe a few months ago, I immediatly planned to make them asap. Unfortunately I forgot about the recipe until last week when I came across it in a cookbook. I absolutely couldn’t be happier that I made these cupcakes. They tasted like exactly piña coladas in cupcake form and gave me the biggest smile. They also were SO much fun to make, as I had never baked such non-traditional cupcakes. If you’re a piña colada lover, this one is for you! ENJOY!

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Ingredients:

1 and 2/3 cups  all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup  granulated sugar
1/2 cup  unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, room temperature preferred
1/2 cup  pineapple juice
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
FROSTING:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
7 tablespoons coconut milk
small can of pineapple for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk melted butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk in egg, pineapple juice, coconut milk, and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain.
  5.  Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  6. Make the frosting: 
    1. Combine the butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat until combined and creamy.
    2.  Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Slowly beat in the coconut milk.
    3. Continue mixing until the frosting becomes thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  7. Frost the cupcakes and top with pieces of pineapple or coconut flakes.

Love,

Ally

Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling and Frosting

I am the kind of person who gets really excited about changing seasons. In the Summer, all I can do is think about how amazing the Fall is going to be. When the Fall begins, all I do is imagine the upcoming snowfall fights and movie watching I’m going to do in the Winter. While us human beings have ruined the changing seasons (especially this year), I still usually know and look forward to the exact date in which the seasons change. Since winter was so late this year, when I heard that the first day of spring was last week, I had a small internal freak out. I ran home and decided that as a celebration I had to make something fruity and Spring-ish. I asked my volleyball team, and they seemed to be in the mood for vanilla. So I decided to make VERY lemony vanilla cupcakes. I think we all went to lemon-heaven for a few minutes while eating them.

Every other time I’ve made cupcakes, I spend a long time searching for a recipe that consists of ingredients that I already have. I do this so I don’t have to do too much shopping. This time around, I decided that instead of finding a recipe that conforms to my needs, I was going to choose the most highly rated recipe and buy all the ingredients. This was a COMPLETE success. I swear that the cupcake was so good that it didn’t need any frosting. It’s definitely worth taking the extra trip to the grocery store to buy the cake-flour and buttercream.

Enjoy your first taste of spring!!

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Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1¼ cups cake flour  (If you don’t have cake flour and don’t wanna buy it, all-purpose flour works, it just won’t be AS delicious)

1¼ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 large eggs

¾ cup sugar

1½ tsp pure vanilla extract

½ cup canola oil

½ cup buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour (or all purpose flour), baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set flour mixture aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat in the 2 eggs until combined (20ish seconds).
  4. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed (30 seconds). Add vanilla and oil and beat on medium speed (1 minute)
  5. Reduce mixer speed to medium/low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture. Add half of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour mix and the rest of the milk. Beat until just combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl. The batter should be thin.
  6. Pour batter into a lined muffin pan. Fill to about ½ full for flat topped cupcakes. For a rounder, muffin life top fill 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 12 -14 minutes at 350°F. Let them cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then remove and let sit until cooled.
  8. Once the cupcakes are cooled to room temp, cut a hole in the middle of each cupcake or use corer. Fill with lemon curd. Then pipe on the lemon frosting.

 

Lemon Curd

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp lemon zest, 3/4 cup sugar, 3 eggs, and 1/2 cup (one stick) butter.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat until thick enough to hold marks, and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes. Don’t let boil.
  3. Refrigerate until cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

 

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  1. Beat 1/2 cup butter or margarine until soft in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Beat in 1 package of confectioners’ sugar (1lb) with 1/2 tsp lemon rind, dash of salt, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp milk and drop of yellow food coloring.
  3. Continue beating until smooth and spreadable. For thicken frosting add less milk or more sugar. For thinner, add more milk or less sugar.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filling and Vanilla Frosting

 I made these for my volleyball team on a day off from school. I wanted to keep the recipe simple, because it’s always better to play it safe when serving 18 teenagers that have completely different palets. I unfortunately had to leave early before I had a chance to hand out the cupcakes after a volleyball game and I wasn’t able to take pictures of everyone eating them as planned. I had someone hand them out for me instead and they apparently were very widely enjoyed.

ENJOY!

Ingredients

 

Chocolate Cupcake

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vinegar

Chocolate Ganache Filling

1-1/2 Cups Semisweet chocolate chips

1 Cup Heavy Cream

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter Melted

Vanilla Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

4 – 5 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients well with a mixer or wooden spoon first then add in all your liquid ingredients. It should be brown and smooth, free of lumps.
  2. Fill paper baking cups 2/3 full.
  3. Bake at 350 F for 15-19 minutes if you are baking cupcakes for a cake I’d say 17-25 minutes.
  4. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
  5. Heat the cream in a saucepan or in the microwave until simmering.
  6. Pour the heated cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until combined.
  7. Beat in the melted butter for two minutes.
  8. Use a corer or make a hole in the middle of the chocolate cupcake and fill with the ganache.
  9. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes.
  10. Add 4 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick.
  11. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  12. Spread or pipe onto the cupcakes.

Love,

Ally

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Snickerdoodle Buttercream Frosting

Similarly to the previously posted “Fall Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting”, I made these for my cousin’s engagement party (hence the rings on top). I personally believe that Snickerdoodle is a very autumn-like flavor and couldn’t wait to embrace my love for the season. The dessert was gone within 4 minutes of serving and I received raving compliments all night. The recently engaged couple couldn’t have been any more excited about a dessert. Make sure that all the measurements are accurate, especially the flour.

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Ingredients

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

1 and 2/3 cups (210g) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar, divided

1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg

1/4 cup (60g) yogurt*

3/4 cup (180ml) milk*

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

The Snickerdoodle Buttercream frosting

1 cup salted or unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

3-4 cups  confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup  heavy cream or half-and-half*

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

salt, to taste

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave.
  3. Whisk in 1 cup of sugar – mixture will be gritty. Stir in egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon together.  Set aside.  Spoon 2 scant Tablespoons of cupcake batter into each cupcake liner.  
  5. Top with 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Top with 1 heaping Tablespoon of cupcake batter, until the cupcake tins are about 3/4 full. Some of the cinnamon-sugar filling from the center layer may peek through the top layer of batter. See photo above for a visual.  Top each cupcake with 1 teaspoon more of the cinnamon-sugar.
  6. Bake the cupcakes for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting, beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3-5 full minutes. The longer the better.  
  8. Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if the frosting is too thick. You can also add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the frosting if it is too sweet.
  9. Remove half of the frosting from the mixing bowl and transfer to a smaller mixing bowl.  Add 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon and beat until combined.
  10. To swirl the frosting, spoon half cinnamon frosting into the piping bag and half vanilla frosting into the piping bag and frost with your choice of tip. If you do not have a piping bag and tip, frost the cupcakes with both the vanilla and cinnamon frostings. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake.
  11. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 5.

Love

Ally

Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

So tonight my mom, my dad, my brother, his girlfriend, my great-grandmother and I are going out to dinner as a sort of pre-birthday celebration for my brother (he’s turning 17 tomorrow). I wanted to make cupcakes to bring to the restaurant but my mom is gluten-free and I didn’t want to make her sit on the sidelines watching us eat a delicious dessert. I took my favorite flourless chocolate recipe from allrecepies.com, which is a super dense and delicious cake, and experimented with turning the cake into something representing a cupcake. I haven’t served them yet, but I’ll update you on my family’s thoughts tonight.

These taste amazing with a chocolate glaze or a chocolate ganache topping. To make a chocolate ganache topping, simply heat up 8oz of half and half or heavy cream and mix with 8oz of chopped up chocolate or chocolate chips. Pour this ganache over the cupcakes to create a chocolate lava cake-like cupcake. My brother strongly requested a vanilla buttercream frosting for the topping, but it doesn’t suit the cupcake as much as a ganache would. ENJOY

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UPDATE: Everyone loved the dessert and surprisingly, the vanilla buttercream went well with the flourless chocolate cupcake. Don’t overdo the frosting, a thin layer is best.

 

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Ingredients

4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3 eggs, beaten ahead of time.

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease a cupcake pan and dust with cocoa powder or line with cupcake liners.
  2. In the top of a double boiler over lightly simmering water, melt chocolate and butter. If necessary heat a frying pan over low heat to melt the butter and chocolate.
  3. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into the prepared cupcake pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. A knife should come out clean. Let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then take out of the cupcake pan to let them cool completely. You also can pop them in a refrigerator for a few minutes to cool quickly. Cupcakes can be reheated in a microwave for 20 to 30 seconds before serving.

Love,

Ally