With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it might be your turn to go from chocolate inspiration to warm cupcake magic. Cupcakes, also called Fairy Cakes, are a cultural phenomenon with almost universal appeal.
According to Everything Cupcakes, “The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of ‘a cake to be baked in small cups’ was written in American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons.” Another theory, this one from All About Cupcakes, proposes the word cupcake may have originated with the notion that its ingredients were measured by volume (i.e., cups) rather than weight. Also referred to as Number Cakes, early cupcake ingredients might have included one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, and four eggs.
Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to make cupcakes, and this recipe, adapted from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, is the perfect place to start. The batter comes together in about the time it takes to preheat an oven, with the ease of two bowls and a wooden spoon…and without any dairy, butter, eggs, or cholesterol. Although the recipe originally called for 1/2 cup of canola oil, I like to omit the oil, and swap in nondairy yogurt to reduce the fat content. I also use whole wheat instead of refined all-purpose flour.
The yummy frosting is a very simple ganache, and along with fresh berries, adds a beautiful finishing touch.
CHOCOLATE VALENTINE CUPCAKES
Adapted from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, by Chloe Coscarelli
Makes 16 to 18 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup sucanat or organic whole cane sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup plain nondairy yogurt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons nondairy milk
Garnish: Fresh berries (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper or parchment liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together water, yogurt, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients, and whisk until just combined. Do not over mix.
Fill cupcake liners evenly with the batter. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out dry, with just a few crumbs clinging. Remove the cupcakes to a cooling rack.
To make the frosting, melt the chocolate chips with the milk in a double boiler or microwave. Whisk until smooth. Spread thin layer of frosting on each cupcake and garnish with fresh berries.