Sweets are one of my many food weaknesses. Specifically, I succumb to any kind of cake and anything chocolatey.
What I had never tried is a vegan variation of my favorite desserts, so I decided to bake without my usual ingredients.
I roped in a friend who had experimented with vegan recipes. Together we made vegan vanilla cupcakes with white icing and vegan brownies.
The first thing I learned from this experience is that vegan does not mean healthy. While there are healthier vegan recipes out there, we pick ones that called for a lot of sugar.
The recipe for the vanilla cake, which can be found at www.itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/the-best-vegan-vanilla-cupcakes/, calls for 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/3 cup non-dairy milk (we used almond milk), 2/3 cup light oil (we used grapeseed oil), 1/4 cup lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (we used lemon juice) and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
We mixed the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately and then combined them.
So we poured the slightly clumpy mix into cups and popped them in the oven. With the batter we were able to make 21 cupcakes.
While it was cooking we prepared the icing, which called for 1/2 cup vegan butter, or plant-based butter, 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1-4 tablespoons non-dairy milk.
We ended up using three tablespoons of almond milk, which I think made it a little too wet, but it didn’t do anything to the flavor, which was pure sugar.
The cupcakes looked more like yellow cake rather than vanilla and the consistency of the cake was that of a muffin. It wasn’t sweet even though I could taste grains of sugar. The lemon juice came through in the cupcakes, making it taste like a lemon cake even though the author of the recipe assured a commenter that the lemon would bake out.
The icing was way too sweet, and the cupcakes tasted best without any or with just a very thin layer.
I missed the fluffiness that comes with using real butter.
The brownie recipe we used, which can be found at www.noracooks.com/vegan-brownies-recipe/, calls for 4 tablespoons ground flax seeds, 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons of water, 2/3 cup vegan butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips.
By mixing the flax and water and letting it sit, we made flax eggs.
After mixing together the sugars and wet ingredients, we combined it with the flour and cocoa powder. We mixed half of the chocolate chips inside the batter, and the rest were sprinkled on top.
The brownies were very chocolatey, which I would normally love, but I found them to be overly fudgy and strangely greasy. The bottom of the brownies was oily.
I preferred the cupcakes we made.
Unless you’re vegan, I don’t see a point in making these treats. They didn’t taste bad, but if I’m going to eat unhealthily, I might as well make dessert with regular milk and butter.