These are my favorite. Period. I tried a similar recipe from Love & Olive Oil about a year ago. (I remember because I was trying to wrap up the writing of my undergrad thesis and made a bowl of the blackberry frosting as a present to myself. Yes.) The cupcake recipe is culled from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (mentioned in my last post), and it’s really a great go-to recipe for a platform vanilla cupcake. I added shaved dark chocolate to jazz things up a bit, but you could feasibly add anything you want – almonds, orange zest, dried cranberries, cinnamon, etc. Likewise you can pair the cakes with any type of frosting or glaze depending on your taste. I wanted beautiful pink-purple sugary goodness tonight, so that’s what we’re doing.
For the Cupcakes:
1 cup soy milk (or almond milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons corn starch (I used 2 tablespoons of soy flour as a substitute)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened –or– 1/3 cup canola oil (I used the oil)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/2 bar dark chocolate (or baking chocolate), chopped or grated
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper (or silicon) liners. In a small bowl whisk the soy milk and vinegar together and set aside to curdle. This sounds gross, but it’s really just a substitute for buttermilk. Mix the flour, cornstarch (soy flour), baking powder, baking soda, salt in a medium bowl.
If using margarine: In a separate large bowl, use a handheld mixer at medium speed to cream the margarine and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. (Don’t beat past 2 minutes.) Beat in the vanilla and other extract, if using, then alternate beating in the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. Note: I’ve found that you don’t really need to use a mixer for this if you use a little elbow grease.
If using canola oil: beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, and extracts in a large bowl. Mix in the flour mixture and blend until there are no large lumps. (Little ones are ok.) Add in chopped chocolate. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 way full using a 1/4 measuring cup, and bake for 20-22 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Makes a dozen.
For the buttercream:
About 4 or 5 fresh (or thawed) blackberries, washed and patted dry
1 teaspoon honey
1 /2 cup margarine
2-3 cups confectioner’s sugar
Heat the berries and honey in the microwave for about 45 seconds (or over low heat on the stove until you get kind of a syrupy sauce). While the compote is cooling off, blend the margarine with the sugar until you start to get the desired frosting consistency (too thick, add a little bit of soy milk; too watery, add more sugar). In the midst of this, when you have the bulk of the sugar and margarine blended, add the berry compote and mix until well-blended. This will give you a gorgeous pink lilac color for the frosting… feel free to sample before decorating the cakes!