Friday, September 5, 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes - Vegan without being ... weird

When I got the book Chloe's Kitchen as part of the round-robin cookbook trade that's the essence of the Cook My Book group I belong to, I wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea of another vegan book.

I have nothing against vegans in general, or with vegetarian or vegan meals. But sometimes the adaptations to recipes can be ... not really my taste.

For example, it's pretty common to substitute coconut oil for butter in baked goods. And I'm not a fan of coconut.

But as I browsed through the book, I started bookmarking a whole lot of recipes that were naturally vegan - they could have been found in any other cookbook, without raising eyebrows or using coconut.

Sure, there were some recipes tofu and seitan, or that used vegan margarine, but there were also recipes that used pasta, vegetables and olive oil in creative ways that looked really good - even to a meat eater. I booked marked two pasta recipes, one polenta recipe, one tomato bisque, and a couple vegetable side dishes.

That's a lot of recipes.

When I got to the recipe for a Hostess cupcake clone, I figured it was worth a try. I didn't make the filling or ganache - just the cupcakes.

I have to say that these chocolate cupcakes weren't really a clone of the commercial version. The texture was quite different.

But ... those commercial cupcakes tend to be a little dry and not really that great. These cupcakes were the opposite. Really moist. Really good.

I'm going to make these again. And again and again.

Maybe I'll go crazy and substitute some almond milk for the coffee, or *gasp* maybe milk. Or buttermilk. Or ... water. Because that would be fine, too.

The one interesting thing about these cupcakes was that sometimes cupcakes tend to stick to cupcake papers, which is annoying. These cupcakes wanted to separate from the papers, which made it easier to peel the papers and get to the cupcakes.

"Chlostess" Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from the recipe "Chlostess" Creme-Filled Cupcakes
from Chloe's Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold coffee or water
1/2 cup canola oil (I used an olive oil blend instead)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with about 14 liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Whisk or stir well to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the coffee, oil, cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine, then add this to the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined and there are no dry bits of flour, but don't overmix.

Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full of batter - you should have enough for 14 cupcakes.|

Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting.