I have been waiting for an occasion to make a big layer cake. I'm not that great of a baker and after a few failed attempts, I still feel the desire to get it right one of these times with the perfect cake and frosting recipes. I want it to be understated and beautiful and decadent. Like Tara's cakes. I am attempting her recipe next in hopes of a cake like that. So, what does one do mid-week when you want cake but maybe not a triple layer situation? Cupcakes, of course. Cupcakes on an ordinary Wednesday made me think of small victories - of little things that are going right, like finishing taxes and friends with a new healthy baby and picking a paint color for the nursery... reasons to celebrate with cake that may not be a birthday. You can always find people to help you eat cake.
I pulled this cupcake recipe from the new Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon that is packed with a great collection of vegan recipes. It is a lovely resource for those on a vegan diet or otherwise just trying to eat less meat and dairy and more produce. Because it was what I had, I substituted dutch processed cocoa for the natural stuff here. I know, I know. I altered the baking soda/powder and things got funky and I don't recommend doing that. Do as I say, not as I do. I am writing the recipe as published, with natural cocoa. If you want to use dutch, find another recipe, the acid v. alkaline ratio doesn't work with it here. The frosting is not so vegan, but I always prefer mascarpone based frostings over buttercream (vegan or otherwise) and I was the one who would be consuming most of these so there you have it :) To weekday cake!
CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH COCOA MASCARPONE FROSTING // Makes 10-12
Cupcake recipe barely adapted from Oh She Glows Cookbook
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup natural cane sugar
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or grapeseed oil
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 8 ounces mascarpone
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp. milk, as needed
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 pint strawberries, cleaned, stemmed and chopped
Preheat the oven to 350'.
In a mixing bowl, combine the non-dairy milk and vinegar. Let them sit for a few minutes (this creates a vegan buttermilk). Add the vanilla, sugar and coconut oil and stir to mix.
In another bowl, sift together both flours, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine. If the coconut oil gets chunky because it got cold, use a mixer or whisk to break it up (Angela suggests an electric mixer but I was afraid it would make the cake tough).
Grease a muffin tin or line it with liners. Fill the vessels 3/4 full for 10 cakes, 1/2 full for 12. Bake on the middle rack for 21-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely.
While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. With a hand or stand mixer, combine the butter, mascarpone, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and milk and mix until smooth - adding a tiny splash of milk as needed to thin the frosting. When the cakes are cool, frost them and top with a bundle of fresh strawberries.