Sunday, June 12, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Recently, I ordered and received two vegan cookbooks from the Book Depository, after they had a 10% off offer in May.

I am now feeling personally accountable for Border's recent decision to close their stores in Australia. Online book ordering was, after all, the main contributor to the flagging store-based book trade. Borders, I am so very sorry. I was so excited when you arrived. I am quite devastated that you're leaving.

In an effort to partially absolve my guilt, I plan to get a lot of use out of the cookbooks.

And where better to start than with dessert?

The inspiration for today's baking. I know, it isn't actually a cupcake recipe. But it is a cake recipe. 

The Vegan Table, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, was the first book to arrive. I have flagged a number of her recipes to try, savoury and sweet, but decided to start with a cupcake adaptation of the Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Frosting. I felt like making cupcakes, I had never before made vegan cupcakes, and it seemed like a good choice for a sunny Autumn Sunday.

My main adaptations, other than converting cake to cupcake (and thus halving the recipe quantities), was to increase the cocoa and omit the red. Thus, chocolate cupcakes were born:

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Adapted from The Vegan Table's recipe for Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Frosting

 Makes 12 - 16


  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used soy)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 180'C and prepare your cupcake tin
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, sugar, oil, vinegar and vanilla, and beat with an electric beater on medium speed for 1 - 2 minutes.
  3. Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and mix well. 
  4. Bake for 20 - 22 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back slightly when touched.


  • 50g non-dairy spread, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp water
  1. Combine the ingredients and beat on medium - high speed with an electric beater, until light and fluffy.
  2. Spread over completely cool cupcakes.

Clearly, this isn't a particularly healthy treat. It isn't low in fat or sugar, and it does use refined ingredients. It does taste pretty good though - and at least no animals were involved.

The cupcakes themselves are light and fluffy, and the icing tastes exactly like the dairy buttercream frosting I remember on cupcakes as a child. I certainly wouldn't have any qualms serving these at a non-vegan party.

I might keep this batch just for us though.


  1. Kari,
    I know what you mean about Borders, I felt bad when they closed down in the U.K. I actually preferred going there and flicking through the cookbooks for inspiration and now and again coming home with one.

    Your chocolate cupcakes look fab. I especially like the look of the frosting.

    I also wanted to come by and say Thank you so much for your encouraging and kind comment on my blog recently. Really means a lot. Thank you. Kindest of wishes.

  2. Oooh, what was the other cookbook? I'm planning an order from there myself (p.s. imagine how guilty I feel about online ordering - I worked at Angus and Robertson for two years!)

  3. Oh yes. I'm guilty of online ordering too. It's such a pity that Borders is closing down in Australia. It's one of those places that I go to when I have some time to spare between appointments. This looks like a pretty awesome cookbook. The cupcakes look fabulous too!

    Oh, I notice that you seem to like muffins and cupcakes. You might wanna check out the following two vegan dessert books:

    1) The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

    2) Vegan Cupcakes Take over The World

  4. I've borrowed that book from the library and made the mock tuna salad which was great - there looked to be lots of other great stuff in there - and who doesn't love a chocolate cupcake - sounds delicious!

    btw I sort of feel the loss of borders but their aggressive marketing practices never really endeared them to me - once they opened right opposite readings I lost any respect I might have had for them - though I have spent enough money in their shops

  5. Oh another guilty one here as well. Poor Borders...
    I think I'm going to venture a little more into vegan foods and see if Mr Chocolate actually notices :-)

  6. Yum! I've loved the enchanted broccoli forest cookbook for the last two decades, have you got that one?

  7. @Shaheen
    Oh, I hadn't realised they had shut in the UK too. What a shame. It's definitely nice being able to browse books in person.

    You're very welcome on your blog comment too :)

  8. @Hannah
    Yep, your guilt wins! :) That would have been a cool place to work though (although everyone used to say that when I worked at Toys R Us, and it really wasn't.)

    The other book I've received is The 30-Minute Vegan, by Mark Reinfeld & Jennifer Murray, but I actually also have a third on the way :P That one is The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes, by Kris Holechek, and I'm sure will provide many more cupcake ideas.

    It's rare I place a Book Depository order for 1 book, I find...

  9. @Kayla
    Thanks so much for those recommendations! I do like muffins and cupcakes. I've heard of both of those books and might just add them to my wish list for next time...

  10. @Johanna GGG
    That does make me feel a bit better (the reminder of Borders marketing practices). I suppose when Border's opened, people worried for the small independent book stores. Most of the ones I know in Perth are still going strong, so I guess marketing success is always hard to predict!

  11. @cityhippyfarmgirl
    Do! Mr Bite has taken to the sweet things without any trouble. These chocolate cupcakes certainly don't taste vegan (I think he described them as "very cupcakey").

  12. @Mrs Bok - The Bok Flock
    Ooh, no! Another one for my list. What a great title too.


I genuinely appreciate all comments and the time taken to post them. Occasionally, I may need to restrict commenting to registered users in order to halt large volumes of spam. If that happens, I will lift the restriction within a week.

Want other ways to interact? Bite-sized thoughts is on Facebook ( and Twitter (