Simple Vegan Chocolate (or Vanilla) Cupcakes.

This recipe is so easy. And it’s so tasty it passes the cafe quality control test every. single. time. It’s one of those, ‘slowly mix the wet into the dry’ recipes, so make sure you divide your mixtures accordingly when you are weighing out. You will need to measure the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl (if you’ve got a freestanding mixer use that, if not, a big bowl and a hand or electric whisk will do the job nicely), and you will need to measure the wet ingredients into a small pan so that you can melt them together on the hob.

Makes 12 large cupcakes or a 20cm round cake

250g plain flour (works well with white or wholemeal)
80g cocoa powder (replace with flour for vanilla cupcakes & add a tbsp vanilla)
270g caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

125g vegan spread/coconut oil
300ml soya/nut milk
2tbsp/80g golden/agave syrup
Preheat your oven to 175. Line a muffin tray with cases or a cake tin with baking parchment.
Melt the spread, syrup and milk together in a small saucepan.
Sieve the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and lightly whisk to combine.
Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry whilst slowly whisking until everything is incorporated – don’t over-mix or your cakes could come out a bit tough!

Divide the mixture evenly between 12 cases and bake for 20 minutes, turn the pan around half way through to ensure an even bake. If you are making a round cake it will take about 10 minutes longer. Always test your cakes for ‘done-ness’ by stabbing them in the middle with a with a skewer or sharp knife – if it comes out with any raw batter on it give the cake another few minutes in the oven and re-test. Let the cakes cool slightly in the tin before carefully taking them out and cooling completely on a wire rack before icing.
Vegan icing

450g icing sugar
60g cocoa powder (replace with icing sugar, a pinch of fine salt & a tsp vanilla extract, or even better vanilla bean paste, for vanilla icing)
150g vegan spread
1 tbsp of soya/nut milk (not usually necessary for vanilla icing as the extract softens it enough)

Weigh out all the ingredients into a large bowl and gently bring together with a fork – otherwise you’ll get a very tasty, but messy, icing-sugar cloud in your kitchen. Then whisk with a handheld electric mixer on slow. If it needs it, gradually add a tbsp of soy/nut milk so it comes together, add more milk if necessary but be careful! You don’t want your icing to be too runny. Whisk on high until light and fluffy. You want it to be stiff enough to hold its shape but not too stiff to work with easily. Then spoon the icing into your piping bag and ice away. I like to use a asterix shaped nozzle (see pic) in my piping bag and make roses. They are easy to do and look great! Start in the middle and spiral out to the edges. Check out some YouTube tutorials if you need some tips. When I’m icing a large cake I smooth over a thin layer of icing with a pallet knife, then do the rose spiral with a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag and nozzles, then of course you can just spoon on the icing and spread it into a neat swirls with the back of a teaspoon or a pallet knife. Liz x