Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Vegan Birthday Party: Yellow Cupcakes

The most important part of any birthday party isn’t the dinner, though. It’s the cake! Or cupcakes in this case. My friend Jessica often says that the best test of any cupcakery is their simplest offering: yellow cake with chocolate frosting. It’s always the first thing she orders.

For a while now, yellow cake has been something of an Achilles Heel in my cupcake repertoire. My first attempt was culled from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking. While the taste was fine, the texture was too sticky and dense. When feeding non-vegans I never like to serve something imperfect. I want them to walk away exclaiming about how delicious everything was! So, the first batch was a wash, but I didn’t exactly have time for a lot of yellow cake experimentation.

Recently my mom and I have been watching the Food Network show “Cupcake Wars.” We had heard about the show after Chloe Coscarelli won her competition with a vegan cupcake. This was not a vegan cupcake competition, just a cupcake competition, and her light, fluffy, vegan cupcakes won! We looked her up and found this delightfully simple coconut cupcake recipe. Already having all the ingredients, we whipped up a quick batch, and waited.

They turned out absolutely perfectly. Light, soft, tender on the inside with a crisp, sugary edge. They are everything I look for in these individually-sized treats. Topped with rich chocolate frosting, they were the perfect end to a teenage vegan’s birthday party.

Yellow Birthday Cupcakes
adapted from Chef Chloe

1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup unsweetened non dairy milk
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Heat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare two 6-cup cupcake pans with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Whisk until thoroughly mixed. In a small bowl, combine the oil, milk, vanilla, and vinegar. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix completely. Fill each cupcake cup 2/3 full. Place the pans in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely before frosting. 

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