“Not so red” Velvet Vegan Cupcakes

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For Valentines Day this year, I received a copy of The Sprinkles Baking Book. (A much better gift than boring old candy.)

Sprinkles is actually a bakery David and I first visited during one of our trips to Las Vegas. They have 24 locations, and if you happen to be near one – GO THERE! There are a ton of flavors, some seasonal that change monthly. The book itself includes 100 recipes, but my absolute favorite is their Vegan Red Velvet. So now that this cook book has been sitting on my bookshelf for over a month, I finally decided I should say thank you by actually baking some cupcakes. Of course, I’m going to make the Vegan Red Velvet.

I am not a vegan, but I’ve come to find vegan baked good are just better. I can’t begin to understand or explain the baking science behind why, but I think they have a better texture and consistence then other non-vegan baked goods.

DSC01493I was under the impression that because these are vegan, they would probably require a bunch of special ingredients I don’t have on hand. Turns out – they don’t. The only ingredients out of the ordinary were coconut palm sugar and vegan cream cheese. I’ve never used coconut palm sugar before, but it is noticeably different (especially the price tag, yikes!).  It tastes similar to brown sugar, and is golden brown in color. Supposedly it’s healthier for you in some way? You could probably substitute it if you wanted to, but I wouldn’t know where to begin telling you how.

At this point you might be asking “Why not so red?”

Honestly, I don’t know why they didn’t get very red. I used the red gel food coloring that was recommended. I even added a little more than the recipe called for because I felt the batter looked to brown. Maybe I packed to much coco powered in? Whatever. They tasted delicious, and under just the right light you could see a red tint…

I put them in red baking cups – that’s basically the same thing, right?

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup sweetened plain soy milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon red gel food coloring
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 (8-ounce) container vegan cream cheese (such as Tofutti, slightly cold)
  • 3 3/4 cups (1 pound box) confectioners’ sugar sifted
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted to liquid form, but not warm
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

For the Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the soy milk, vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the coconut oil and coconut palm sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. reduce the speed to medium-low, add the applesauce, and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add half the flour mixture, then the soy milk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture, beating until just blended after each addition.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the liners and bake until the tops are just dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting with vegan cream cheese frosting.

For the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the vegan cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, until incorporated. Slowly add the liquid coconut oil until creamy. Add the vanilla and salt, increase the speed to medium, and beat until fully blended, 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to incorporate too much air into the frosting.

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