vegan vanilla bean cupcakes with chocolate ganache

vegan vanilla ganache-0441

Lovely people. If you’re still out there, you have my heart. It has been forever and ever since the last time we were all here and I can’t tell you how much I have missed this place. I feel like so much has happened in the three months I’ve been away. It’s been a journey.

vegan vanilla ganache-0308

I wish I could say that I had gone away for three months traveling the world, doing fabulous things, but that just isn’t the case. I did sneak off to Montreal for a weekend in May, which was lovely and hilarious and full of deliciousness (poutine! and fois gras! oui!). I guess the best excuse for my extended absence is my move. I moved to Berkeley in the beginning of June. I didn’t go very far, about 10 miles, but it was a big deal move. It’s my first time ever being on my own, my first time living outside of the town where I grew up. It took me over a month to kind of sort of get it together. I spent the first few weeks slowly bringing things over from my parents’ (so. much. stuff.). Spent an obscene number of hours perusing the interwebs for home furnishings, obsessing over bar carts and throw pillows and pink sofas. Temporarily forgot how to cook for myself. It was rough in the beginning. I use to fantasize about living alone, but it got kind of lonely after the first week. I didn’t realize just how quiet it would be. I bought a small fountain just because I needed some ambient noise. I’m still figuring a few things out, but I absolutely love my place and can’t wait to share it with you.

vegan vanilla ganache-0336

These cupcakes were the last thing I baked in my old kitchen, way back in May. My bestie had a birthday party, and I couldn’t show up without goodies in hand, even though she specifically told me not to bake anything (I know she was just being nice, and didn’t want me to be two hours late like previous years). And although I was already packing up my kitchen at that point, I really wanted to squeeze in one last baking day and one last shoot in that old space. So here we are, visiting the old kitchen for the last time.

vegan vanilla ganache-0365

If you’re ever in need a solid vegan cupcake recipe, Isa Chandra is the source. I had something very simple in mind, and vanilla cupcakes and chocolate ganache are about as basic as it gets. I couldn’t resist the berries at the market that morning, and they were the perfect way to finish off these beauties. On to the next chapter…

vegan vanilla ganache-0519

vegan vanilla bean cupcakes with chocolate ganache

very slightly adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s post punk kitchen

makes 1 dozen

For the cupcakes:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup canola oil

3/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped

For the ganache:

1/3 cup almond milk

heaping 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon Earth Balance or margarine 

2 tablespoons corn syrup or pure maple syrup

Bake the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a small bowl 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.

Beat together the almond 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.

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

In the meantime, prepare the ganache.

In a small sauce pan, bring the milk to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and add the chocolate, Earth Balance, and syrup. Mix with a rubber spatula for about 30 seconds. Turn heat off, continue stirring until the chocolate is fully melted and the icing is smooth.

To assemble:

Let ganache cool for about 10-15 minutes. Dip the top of the cupcake in the ganache and then set them on a cooling rack. Alternately, you can spoon the ganache onto the cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a few raspberries and let set in a cool room for an hour or so, or place in the fridge to set.

 

 

Advertisements

car bomb cupcakes

carbomb.cupcake-0064

I noticed recently that the sweets around here have been very chocolate-centric. I meant to remedy this. There were citrus desserts in the works. But then these cupcakes happened. And I’m super excited about them. Let me explain.

carbomb.cupcake-0011

There were a couple of birthdays to celebrate, and I was racking my brain for a dessert that was suitable for a bunch of dudes. At first I thought some sort of s’more concoction would do the trick. I also liked the idea of a grown-up Hostess cupcake. Then I realized that a boozey sweet treat was most appropriate for this group of young fellas.

carbomb.cupcake-0014

And then it became obvious that an Irish car bomb cupcake was going to cover all of the bases. I can’t actually remember the last time I had an Irish car bomb, though I’m guessing it was sometime in my early twenties. I don’t recall ever being too fond of them, but I really liked the idea of them in cupcake form. For the sake of research, I did a car bomb while these were baking in the oven. It made for a fun Thursday night at home to say the least.

carbomb.cupcake-0041

This little car bomb cupcake is the bomb (yes, I’m totally from the 90’s). It’s a hybrid of Deb’s cupcake and a Hostess cupcake. It’s a chocolatey Guinness cake filled with Baileys buttercream and glazed with Jameson spiked ganache. I threw in a little gold and silver sparkle for good measure (and because I can’t resist the bling), which gives them that sort of “pot of gold” effect, making these perfect for St. Patty’s day. Bottoms up!

carbomb.cupcake-0378

car bomb cupcakes 

adapted from smitten kitchen

makes 2 dozen cupcakes

for the cupcakes: 

1 cup stout (such as Guinness)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with liners. Set aside.

Bring beer and butter to a simmer in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to blend. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the eggs and sour cream and beat until combined. Add the chocolate mixture to sour cream mixture and beat just to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat briefly on low speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake until tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

for the Baileys buttercream: 

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 – 4 tablespoons Baileys 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and beat on medium speed for several minutes, until light and fluffy. Slowly add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys and whip until combined. If the frosting becomes too thin, beat in another spoonful or two of confectioners sugar.

for the chocolate-whiskey glaze: 

adapted from Martha Stewart 

makes 1 cup

2/3 cup heavy cream

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon corn syrup

2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (like Jameson) 

Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Place chocolate and corn syrup in a small bowl. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture, and stir until smooth. Add whiskey and stir until completely incorporated. Use immediately.

to assemble cupcakes: 

gold and/or silver sanding or crystal sugars  (optional)

Using a cupcake corer or the small end of a large pastry tip, insert into the center of the cupcake and remove a small hunk of the cake to create a well.

Fill a prepared pastry bag with the Baileys buttercream. Pipe buttercream into the well of the cupcake until it reaches the top. Use a spatula to smooth the buttercream at the cupcake’s surface.

Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.

When all of the cupcakes have been filled, dip the tops of each cupcake in chocolate glaze, letting excess drip off. If the glaze gets too thick, set over a pan of hot water until it melts slightly and stir. Let stand until set, about 30 minutes. Embellish with sprinkles.

Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 2 days.

vanilla-vanilla cupcakes

I’m sneaking in one last goodie since it’s still birthday month. And because I get the feeling that you really need a cupcake right now. Everyone needs a vanilla cupcake in their repertoire. This is mine.

I’ve actually made these cupcakes twice this month. I made them a few weeks ago for my littlest homegirl’s big first birthday bash. And because I had so much fun with all of the colors and hand-tinted sprinkles, I had to make them again for myself.

I’ve made a whole lot of traditional buttercream in my time, but this is my new favorite. It’s light and creamy and sweet without being too sugary. It’s the closest thing to a European buttercream without including eggs. Nowadays, I almost exclusively use a pastry bag to pipe my buttercreams. But there’s something very fun and nostalgic about hand frosting cupcakes. I’m digging it.

The same goes for the cupcake. There are an endless number of vanilla cupcake recipes out there, but this is the one that has yet to fail me. It’s a white cake, meaning that there are no yolks in the batter. This can sometimes lead to a dry cake, but this cake manages to be moist and has a lovely crumb. It’s the kind of thing you crave when you just want a good ol’ cupcake. Plain and simple.

vanilla-vanilla cupcakes

makes 12 standard cupcakes

for the cupcakes:

adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts: The Cookbook for All Things Sweet and Wonderful by Barbara Fairchild

1-1/3 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup whole milk

3 large eggs whites, room temperature

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk milk, egg whites, sour cream, and vanilla in another medium bowl until sour cream is completely incorporated.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 additions, beating on low speed. Beat until combined, being careful not to overmix.

Divide the batter equally among paper liners (about 1/3 cup each). Bake cupcakes until  a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Cool in pans on rack for 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

for the vanilla buttercream:

from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones by Kris Hoogerhyde and Anne Walker

makes 4 cups (enough for 24 cupcakes)

1/2 vanilla bean

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

4-1/2 cups powdered sugar, measured then sifted

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

gel food coloring (optional)

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the knife to carefully scrape the seeds from the pod. Add the vanilla seeds and pod to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment.

Beat first on low speed, and then increase to medium-high speed and continue to beat until the frosting is light, fluffy, and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix briefly again.

Remove the vanilla bean. If you’d like to tint the buttercream, add a drop or two of food coloring and mix well. Add more to reach the desired color. Use the frosting immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks. If made ahead, let the frosting come to room temperature before using and remix briefly using the stand mixer until it regains its light and fluffy consistency.

for the hand-tinted sprinkles:

white sprinkles

petal dust, luster dust, or powdered food coloring

Pour sprinkles into a clean, dry jar with a lid. Add a pinch of food coloring to the sprinkles. Screw on the lid and shake until the sprinkles are tinted. Add more powder to reach the desired shade.

to frost the cupcakes:

Using a spatula, spread the tops of the cupcakes with a generous dollop of buttercream, creating a swirl. Top with sprinkles if desired.

vegan dulce de leche cupcakes

Even though at the time it felt as though the sky was falling, I think turning thirty was one of the best things that ever happened to me. So I am pleased to welcome my bestie of hella years to the club. Hooray! You made it! Good job!

Every birthday is worthy of a sweet treat. But the big birthdays call for something fabulous. So I made sure to pull out all the stops. There was a serious debate going on in my head for days. Cupcakes or a cake? Chocolate cookies? Marshmallow frosting? Caramel?

And then I had an epiphany. A dulce de leche cupcake epiphany.

I actually already had a dulce de leche moment a few months ago. I tried the whole canned condensed milk in the crockpot thing, which probably would’ve worked out if I had let it cook for an additional hour or two. Then I went the store-bought route. And put it in everything. I put it in cupcakes. I put it in frosting. But I just wasn’t satisfied with the results. And because I gained a few pounds that week as a result of my overzealous taste testing, I decided I had to move on.

But while I was looking for caramel recipes the other day, I found this recipe for vegan dulce de leche sauce. And I knew I was onto something. The perfect dulce de leche cupcake was just around the bend.

It begins with a super moist, super chocolatey cupcake. Then a little well is created in the center of said cupcake. The well is filled with dulce de leche sauce. And the whole thing is topped with a cream cheese-dulce de leche frosting, which will knock your socks off. It’s quite the package, this little cupcake. It’s just what I wanted.

Thanks for being born, pal!

vegan dulce de leche cupcakes

makes 1 dozen cupcakes

for the dulce de leche sauce:

from Terry Hope Romero via Shine

makes about 1-1/2 cups

1 cup soy creamer or rich soy milk

4 teaspoons tapioca flour or arrowroot powder

1⁄2 cup brown rice syrup

1⁄2 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegan margarine

1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)

In a measuring cup, whisk together 1/4 cup of the soy creamer and the tapioca flour and set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining 3/4 cup of soy creamer, brown rice syrup, and brown sugar.  Bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Stir in the margarine and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should resemble a thick caramel sauce and easily coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Whisk the tapioca flour mixture again and stir it slowly into the simmering sauce. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens even more, simmering for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Let cool completely before using in frosting or cupcake filling.

for the chocolate cupcakes:

adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

1 cup soy milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract or chocolate extract  or more vanilla extract (I used 1/4 teaspoon of almond and chocolate)

1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or natural ( I used Dutch-processed)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a standard muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, other extracts, and espresso powder to the  soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients in two batches to the soy milk mixture and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay).

Pour into lined muffin pan, filling three quarters of the way. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

for the dulce de leche cream cheese frosting:

adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened

1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon dulce de leche sauce

1-1/2 – 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, cream together the margarine, cream cheese, and dulce de leche sauce until just combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar in 1/2 cup batches. Add the vanilla and mix until smooth and creamy.

To assemble the cupcakes:

Using the small end of a large pastry tip, insert into the center of the cupcake and remove a small hunk of the cake to create a well.

Fill the well with a spoonful of the cooled dulce de leche sauce.

Fill a prepared pastry bag with the the dulce de leche cream cheese frosting. Pipe the frosting on top of the cupcake.

Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.

tiramisu cupcakes

So you’ve probably noticed the shortage of sweet, delicious things around here. Believe me when I say that this hurts me far more than it hurts you. When I’m not baking, I obsess. A lot. All the time. About cookies and cakes and pies and open faced tarts.

And cupcakes. I daydream about all the different cake flavors and frostings that are just waiting to be put together. I want an excuse to bake and play cake and frosting matchmaker.

A few weeks ago, I had a mini cupcake tasting courtesy of Trang. I took a tiny bite of each cupcake, purely in the name of research. But when I got to the tiramisu cupcake, I was very tempted to eat the entire thing. As a matter of fact, it took a whole lot of will power to step away and leave the rest of that cupcake in the box. I’m a tiramisu lover, and that cupcake was the goods.

Naturally, I began to obsess about tiramisu cupcakes.Then this little video (so bizarro and so completely random, you have to watch the entire series) found its way into my life and I took it as a sign that it was tiramisu time. So I tried to make them for the opening reception of Edwin’s art show. But that first attempt was nothing like I had hoped it would be, so I abandoned that batch. I went back to the drawing board and tried a different vanilla cake recipe, a different technique for making the whipped mascarpone frosting, snuck a little more booze into the coffee syrup (and frosting), and it all seemed to just come together. And now I’m just waiting for an excuse to make them again.

tiramisu cupcakes

makes 36 cupcakes

for the cupcakes:

from Gourmet Today edited by Ruth Reichl

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1-3/4 teaspoons salt

3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

1-3/4 cups sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups whole milk

cocoa powder (for dusting)

Arrange the racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350F. Line muffin trays with liners.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until completely incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk alternately in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing just until batter is smooth.

Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them two-thirds full. Bake cupcakes, switching position of the pans halfway through baking, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean., 18 to 22 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pans on racks for 5 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely.

for the coffee syrup:

adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

2/3 cup freshly brewed very strong coffee

2-4 tablespoons dark rum or marsala (or a combination of the two)

1/4 cup sugar

Stir together the coffee, rum, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool before using.

for the mascarpone frosting:

adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts

2 cups heavy cream 

16 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted

2-4 tablespoons amaretto

Combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed, until soft peaks begin to form. Add the amaretto and continue to mix until stiff beaks begin to form. Be very careful not to overmix in order to avoid grainy frosting.

to assemble:

Using a toothpick, poke holes in the tops of each cupcake. Brush the tops of the cupcakes generously with the coffee syrup. Repeat until all of the syrup has been used. Allow the cupcakes to absorb the liquid for at least 30 minutes. Dollop frosting onto each cupcake or transfer the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a tip and pipe onto each cupcake. If not serving immediately, refrigerate cupcakes in an airtight container. Dust with cocoa powder just before serving.

two!

Dear fancyfoodfancy,

Happy 2nd Blogiversary! I can hardly believe that you’re already two.

My, have you grown since those early days. We have seen countless sticks of butter, at least one hundred pounds of sugar, occasional disasters, a handful of masterpieces, and thousands of photographs. What fun it has been!

Thank you for keeping me in line and inspired these past two years. Here’s to another year of doing what you love most. Keep eating. Keep drinking. Stay fancy.

xoxo,

Sandy

devil’s food cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting

from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

makes 32 cupcakes

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

3/4 cup hot water

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1-1/4 teaspoons coarse salt

1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes

2-1/4 cups sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream, room temperature

for chocolate ganache frosting:

1 pound good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2-1/3 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup corn syrup

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three standard muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 5-7 minutes. (If the mixture is taking too long to cool, you can place the bowl in an ice bath and stir for a few minutes.)

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each addition.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

for the chocolate ganache frosting:

Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.

Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer over medium-high heat; pour mixture over chocolate. Let stand, without stirring, until chocolate begins to melt.

Beginning near the center and working outward, stir melted chocolate into cream until mixture is combined and smooth (do not overstir).

Refrigerate, stirring every 5 minutes, until frosting just barely begins to hold its shape and is slightly lighter in color. Use immediately (ganache will continue to thicken after you stop stirring).

To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.

vegan banana dream cupcakes

“Nothing says love like a cupcake does. If you don’t bake someone a cupcake then you don’t really care about them”. – Isa Chandra Moskowitz

I couldn’t have said it better myself. May is birthday month in these parts and I’ve been baking up a storm the past two weekends.

My bestie for life is among those born in May and I’ve spent weeks trying to decide what to bake for her birthday this year. I tried to take some mental notes while we were in New York, but my memory has been a bit of a loser since I’ve been back. Yeah, all those notes-to-self have been washed away. Woops.

So I turned to what I believe is the most reliable source for vegan sweet treats: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I’ve made the crimson velveteen cupcakes from this little cupcake bible a few times and they are fantastic. So there was no doubt in my mind that whatever I chose would be awesome. Since the birthday girl is a fan of artificial banana flavor, I thought banana cupcakes fit the bill.

Then I started thinking about bananas with peanut butter. And bananas dipped in chocolate. That’s when I decided that a peanut buttercream filling and chocolate buttercream on top would make these banana cupcakes real birthday material. And a little sprinkle of Maldon to finish it off never hurt anybody, right?

Everything about these cuppies is right. They’re moist and have serious banana flavor without tasting like banana bread. The peanut buttercream is everything you dreamed peanut butter icing would be – creamy and fluffy and peanut-buttery. I could have eaten it by the spoonful. And the rich chocolate buttercream ties it all together, providing a little depth in the midst of all the sweetness. It’s a glorious thing, this cupcake, which I think in the future will be referred to as the MurphDay cupcake, in honor of Miss May 21st.

 vegan banana dream cupcakes

adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

makes 1 dozen cupcakes

for the cupcakes:

1/2 cup very ripe banana, mashed well

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

2/3 cup rice milk

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with liners. Set aside.

Push the mashed bananas through a sieve or blend with an immersion  or regular blender to get rid of any remaining lumps. The bananas should be smooth.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and mix. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, rice milk, vanilla, almond extract, and mashed banana.

Create a well in the dry ingredients and fold in the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined – do not over-mix.

Fill the liners two-thirds full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through baking. The cupcakes are done when a cake tester comes out clean. After 5 minutes, remove from trays and cool completely on a wire rack.

for the peanut buttercream filling:

1/4 cup margarine, softened

2 tablespoons shortening

1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter

1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or molasses, optional

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted 

1 to 2 tablespoons rice milk or soy milk

Cream together the margarine and shortening at medium speed until smooth. Add peanut butter, barley malt syrup/molasses, and vanilla, and beat until very smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the sugar; the mixture will be very stiff. Dribble in rice milk a little at a time, beating continuously till frosting is pale tan and very fluffy.

Adjust the thickness of the filling by adding rice milk or more confectioners’ sugar in small amounts if necessary.

for the chocolate buttercream frosting:

1/4 cup margarine, softened 

1/4 cup shortening

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted if there are clumps

2-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted ( I thought 2 cups was perfect)

2-3 tablespoons soy milk

1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cream together the margarine and shortening until well combined. Add the cocoa powder and incorporate well. Add the confectioners’ sugar in about 1/2 cup at a time, adding a little splash of soy milk after each addition. When all the ingredients have been well incorporated, add the vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

to assemble:

Using a chopstick or a small knife, make a hole in the center of each cupcake about the size of your pinky finger.

Fill a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with the peanut buttercream. Place the tip of the bag in the hole in the cupcake and squeeze until the hole is filled. The cupcake should feel heavier. Repeat with the rest of the cupcakes.

Frost the tops of the cupcakes with the chocolate buttercream. Sprinkle with a little bit of flaky sea salt. Enjoy.