7, 270 cyclists took to the streets of Columbus, Ohio this past weekend to raise money for cancer research. You can read more about this amazing organization on Pelatonia’s website. One of those riders is my friend Hilary. She is 18 years old and rode 100 miles raising $1,800. Not only was she one of the youngest people to ride, she was also the only one on a mountain bike, which she was told is the equivalent of running a marathon in flip-flops! As a bike rider myself, I don’t know how she did it! Somehow, she did and you can see by the smile on her face how happy she was to finish! What an amazing girl!
I am so proud of her, I wanted to do something special to celebrate her accomplishment. I already donated money for her ride; now I wanted to do something just for her. You already know I’m all about the baking! Even more than that, I love to share it with people and make them happy. My only challenge – Hilary recently became a vegan. Her path to a healthier lifestyle started gradually, first she was a pescatarian (a vegetarian who will also eat fish), then a vegetarian (no meat, fish or seafood, but dairy is okay), and now, a vegan (a vegetarian diet that also eliminates all animal byproducts). To a baker that means no milk, eggs or butter or dairy of any kind!
Although I have never baked anything vegan, I have baked many things without dairy products, making them parve in the kosher world. I figured if Hilary can ride a bike for 100 miles, surely I can bake a vegan dessert! I was up for the challenge!
Now, where did I find this delicious recipe you ask? It is straight from Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook Chloe’s Kitchen. She is an adorable baker and cook, who also happens to be a vegan! I first heard of her when she won Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. The judges were very surprised that her cupcakes were vegan. I immediately went to the library to check out a copy of her cookbook.
I found “Chlostess” Cream-Filled Cupcakes and even though the cupcake had three components, it seemed simple enough. You can see by the fluffy cream filling, shine of the glaze and tender crumb of the cupcake, they are going to be good and something special! I will tell you that once I got started I was surprised how easy they were to make. This recipe is adapted from Chloe Coscarelli’s Cookbook and it was so good, I’d like to say I didn’t change a thing, but had to according to ingredients I had on hand. I wrote her recipe and my changes in parenthesis. I may have reworded it a little, but the recipe is the same. They are truly delicious and you don’t miss the eggs or butter. If you’re a vegan or not, you’ll love these. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold coffee or water (I used decaf)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Creme Frosting Filling:
1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (find this in a health food store, or section of your grocery)
3 cups powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 to 5 tablespoons soy, almond, or rice milk (I used almond milk*)
1/2 teaspoon salt (this is my splash on her recipe, I like a little salt in my frosting)
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (dairy free)*
1/4 cup canned coconut milk, mixed well before measuring (I didn’t have coconut milk and used almond milk which worked fine)
2 tablespoons canola oil
To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with 15 cupcake liners and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together coffee, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Don’t over-mix.
Fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds full with batter. For this step I use an ice cream scoop so that all the cupcakes will be the same size. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It’s okay if a few crumbs are clinging to the toothpick. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting. I made the frosting while the cupcakes were baking.
To make the cream frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the shortening until smooth. With the mixer running on low, add powdered sugar one cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon nondairy milk until frosting reaches a nice spreadable consistency. Add vanilla extract and beat on high for 2 more minutes until light and fluffy.
To make the Chocolate Ganache: Melt chocolate chips, canola oil, and coconut milk (remember, I used almond milk in this step) in a double boiler or microwave. Whisk until smooth.
To assemble the cupcakes: Fit a pipping bag*** with a small round tip and fill with the creme frosting. I used a rosette tip and it worked very well. Insert the tip into the center of the top of each cupcake and squeeze the bag to fill the cupcake with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of frosting. Be careful when you are filling them. My first one exploded! Level off the frosting that sneaks out on top. Then, spread the top of each cupcake with a thin layer of chocolate ganache.
In another piping bag fitted with a small tip, add 4 tablespoons of the frosting and pipe a 4 loop design.
*The almond milk I used has 4 percent fat
**There are several dairy-free brands of chocolate chips. Look in a health food store or section of your grocery. If you can’t find them there, check the kosher section of your grocery. They will be labeled Parve, meaning they do not contain any dairy products.
***If you don’t have a piping bag, use a gallon size Ziploc bag, cut the tip of the bag off and insert the piping tip.