The book that started my love for vegan baking was Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I bought the book on my birthday last year in September, right when I'd achieved my goal weight, to make cupcakes as a present for myself.
I'd never baked a thing from scratch before then, but I immediately fell in love with cupcake baking. I made cupcakes nearly every weekend, giving most to neighbors, friends, and coworkers so I didn't eat them all and start gaining back all the weight I'd just lost. My cupcakes were the hit of parties, made everyone who tasted them gush and rave, and made me an official vegan baker.
When November came, I bought the sister book Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and made more than 300 cookies for the holidays for my family, neighbors, and friends.
I never told anyone the cupcakes or cookies were vegan at first. Only after they started gushing over them would I tell them they were vegan. Then of course I answered the many questions about what was in them and explained how the recipes were built based on how ingredients work together, rather than simply replacing dairy and eggs.
By January I was a little tired of baking and now only make desserts as special treats. My friend Kelly, who's visiting from Minneapolis this weekend, gave me the perfect excuse to break out my cupcake apron and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and make another dozen of the best cupcakes in the world--far, far better than any cupcake (vegan or otherwise) I've had from any of the fancy, expensive cupcake bakeries in town. Kelly picked the kind: Chocolate with Peanut Buttercream Frosting.What I've always loved about both the cupcake and cookie recipes are that they're made from basic, simple ingredients. The chocolate cupcakes are made from flour, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, soymilk, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I had everything on hand to make them.I also love the consistency and quality of the recipes. Each time the cupcakes come out perfectly done and just gorgeous.I also had everything on hand to make the Peanut Buttercream frosting, made of Earth Balance margarine and shortening, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.
I've practiced a bit with frosting and have gotten better. My aunt, a cake decorator afficionado, bought me tips, bags, and other decorating goodies for Christmas that I've been itching to use. My husband took these pictures of the frosting fun.Once I frosted all of them I grated a little semi-sweet dark chocolate on for decoration.The finished cupcakes, ready to take out to the restaurant where we were meeting Kelly for dinner!
At the restaurant, one group seated at a table beside us joked that they'd eaten the cupcakes that we'd left on another table. When I took the top off the cupcake holder, another table near us cheered and offered money for a few. Everyone loved them. The cake was moist and the frosting light and not too sweet. They were delicious. Can't wait for the next special occasion so I can make more.