Thursday, January 7, 2010

You don't have to be vegan to love vegan food

While filling up on holiday party treats, Food Maven Tania L. from Berkeley really surprised me with her outstanding mini chocolate cupcakes - and it wasn't just the googley eyes on top (an homage to Stephen Colbert's googley-eyed clams?).

I was surprised how delicious vegan cupcakes could be and how superior they were to the conventional cupcakes in our local specialty bakeries like Kara's and Sprinkles.

Tania's cupakes were made according to the recipe
from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule by Moskowitz & Romero who have also written the vegan cookie bible: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats. At the end of this post, you'll find the recipe for these cupcakes and the chocolate mousse topping/frosting.

If you're considering going vegan this year, now's the time for Philadelphians. To help you fulfill your new year's resolution, the Pennsylvania chapter of Friends of Animals is hosting a free program this January to help up to 30 people pledge to go vegan for one month. Participants in the “Vegan Pledge” will be paired with a vegan mentor, will be started off with a vegan care package, and will be invited to five meetings in Philadelphia. At the meetings, participants will be given cooking and shopping lessons, receive information about veganism, and will have lunches together where they will sample various vegan foods. "Philadelphians who want to dedicate 2010 to the animals, the environment, or their health have a great opportunity to do that," says Leila Fusfeld from FOA Philly. The program is already more than half-full, but there is room for about a dozen more. To register or find out more information about the Vegan Pledge, e-mail

Happy 2010 everyone!
Chocolate Cupcakes
(From Moskawitz & Romero, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

1 cup soymilk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspooon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 350; line muffin pan.
2. Whisk soymilk and vinegar in a large bowl.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour through salt.
4. Add sugar, oil, and extracts to soymilk; beat until foamy.
5. Add dry ingredients to wet in two batches, and beat until only a few small lumps remain.
6. Pour into liners, 3/4 full, and bake 18-20 minutes. (For mini cupcakes, baking time is closer to 12 minutes.)

Chocolate Mousse for topping
(From Moskawitz & Romero recipes in VegNews)

12 ounces extra-firm silken tofu (e.g. Mori-Nu brand)
1/4 cup plain soymilk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use 62% Scharffen Berger)

1. Crumble tofu in food processor or blender with everything but chocolate, and blend until perfectly smooth. May need to scrape down sides a few times.
2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. If using the microwave, heat in 30 seconds increments, mixing in between.
3. Add melted chocolate to tofu mixture, and blend until perfectly smooth.
4. Taste and adjust accordingly -- depending on the chocolate, you may want to add more maple syrup.
4. Chill for 1 hour for a firm mousse. You can serve on its own, or use a pastry bag to top the cupcakes.

Note: It's easier to pipe this mousse through a pastry bag if it hasn't been chilled for a full hour. The quality of the chocolate also matters -- I like it very dark, and find that a high quality chocolate (like Scharffen Berger) produces a *much* better result than generic chocolate chips.


  1. Vegan cupcakes won the SF Food Wars Mini Cupcake Clash! "Cinnaholic Sweets' chocolate cupcakes were stuffed with (vegan) cream cheese, and decorated with (vegan) chocolate ganache, blueberries, and dragon fruit."



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