I’m sorry guys. I’m so sorry. I’ve been neglecting you. It’s not just that I’ve been baking less often – though I have definitely been baking less often. I’ve also been doing some seriously sloppy baking (and, as you can probably tell from the photos below, some even sloppier photography). I just sort of throw things together, and then I heat it all up in the hostel toaster oven (which is actually a decent little oven, but I know it’s lying to me about the temperature so there’s a lot of guesswork involved.) Sloppy. I even managed to bake the first batch of these without sugar. Eight ingredients and I managed to forget one.
So yes, I apologize. But I’ve moved into a new place, with a nice kitchen with things like scales and measuring cups. Mixing bowls. A fridge with enough space to chill things. It’s wonderful. I’m about to start on my first baking endeavor, but I wanted to give you guys a couple of the nice things I baked in the hostel to tide you over.
These were a project undertaken for a friend of mine who is (you guessed it) vegan. I’m actually living with all vegans now, so this will certainly not be the last vegan baking experiment. Not that I’ll be giving up regular butter-eggs-and-milk baking anytime soon, but it’s a good learning opportunity. Especially if all my vegan baking is this tasty! I’ll be honest, this is never going to beat my favorite cupcake recipe, but it’s dead easy (one bowl!) and it’s pretty damn good.
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
(Heavily adapted from The Kitchn.)
3 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 2/3 cup water or cold coffee (I used water, but coffee would be great here)
1 cup neutral vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1. Preheat your oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Line a muffin pan with cupcake cups.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar until thoroughly integrated.
3. Stir in the water/coffee and the oil, mixing in thoroughly.
4. Add the white vinegar. It will bubble and turn the batter lighter wherever it reacts with the baking soda. Stir it in quickly – you’ll know it’s well-combined when all your batter is the same color again.
5. Pour the batter into the pan so liners are about 3/4 full. Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 15 minutes (depending on the size of your cupcakes). Let cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then move to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
(Adapted from Alton Brown.)
2 small-to-medium avocados, pitted and scooped out
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 pound powdered sugar
1. Beat the avocado and the lemon juice for about 2-3 minutes, until lightened in color. This is obviously best with an electric mixer, but I did it with a fork and it worked out okay.
2. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, beating until smooth. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes.