Do you ever wonder where food bloggers get their inspiration from? Is it from magazines? TV shows? Yes, sometimes. Other bloggers? Definitely. But a lot of times, inspiration comes from everyday things, like going to the market, or a billboard or visiting friends. And I find that to be the most “exciting” source.
A couple of weeks ago, I walked into my friends Mike and Vicky’s house and the first thing I heard them say was: “We just made Guinness chocolate cupcakes with a whiskey ganache and Baileys frosting. Would you like to try them?” My first reaction was just a big “OH MY GOODNESS THAT SOUNDS AMAZING… YES!!!”. And after taking the first bite, I don’t think amazing was the right word to describe them. If I tell you those were the most delicious cupcakes I’ve ever had, I wouldn’t be lying. My second reaction, as my brain shifted into blogger mode was, “I HAVE to make these vegan”.
So a few days later I got my hands on the recipe, and the testing began.
The cupcake part was, well, a piece of cake. At this point I’ve “veganized” enough cake recipes to get the substitutions right… The filling also, no problem. While the original called for a heavy cream based ganache, I decided to lighten it up a bit by using a really cool trick a friend showed me a few months ago. She discovered that by whipping together simple syrup and cocoa powder, you end up with a delicious, thick and fudgy chocolate sauce!
The tricky part though, was the icing. I tried to substitute the butter for coconut oil. The result wasn’t at all what I expected: it hardened way too much when it cooled, it was heavy and difficult to pipe. I figured it needed something a bit softer, yet rich and creamy. Vegan cream cheese. That was it! We’ve worked with GoVeggie! many times and we’ve always been happy with the results, so of course, I went with it.
I had also found a non-dairy Irish Cream that I was planning on using… Until I discovered that, although it didn’t have a dairy base, it was made with some kind of egg product. I looked online for an alternative, but nothing. I could not find a vegan Irish Cream, anywhere. So I made my own! Retested the icing using the homemade liqueur, and it came out delicious.
So there you have it! The best cupcake I’ve ever had, veganized. Mission accomplished 🙂
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1 cup stout beer (for a list of vegan stouts, click here )
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (such as Nutiva) or non-hydrogerated vegetable shortening (such as Earth Balance)
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 cups white / whole wheat flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup agave (We used wholesome sweeteners)
- 2/3 cup plain non dairy yogurt (we used So Delicious)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 4 tbsp whiskey (or to taste, see note)
- 1 1/2 cups plain vegan cream cheese alternative (we use GoVeggie!)
- 3 tbsp coconut oil at room temperature
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar ( we used wholesome sweeteners)
- 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6–7 tbsp vegan “Irish cream” (or to taste, see note, recipe follows)
- Vegan “Irish Cream” (makes 1 cup):
- 1 cup vanilla non-dairy coconut creamer ( we used So Delicious)
- 1/4 cup espresso (equivalent to 2 shots) or strong brewed coffee
- 2 1/2 tbsp whiskey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line 18 muffin tins with foil liners and coat them with cooking spray
- To make the vegan Irish Cream:
- Combine creamer and coffee in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, whisk in whiskey and vanilla extract and set aside to cool. Refrigerate until ready to use (it will thicken as it cools). Shake well before using
- To make the cupcakes:
- In a medium size bowl, combine almond milk and ground flax. Set aside
- Bring stout and coconut oil to simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt
- Using an electric mixer, mix together flax mixture, non-dairy yogurt and agave at medium speed. Slowly pour in stout-chocolate mixture and mix until combined.
- Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and mix until just combine ( do not overmix!)
- Fill liners about 3/4 of the way with batter. Bake at 350F for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
- To make the filling:
- Make a simple syrup by combining water and sugar in a sauce pan, bringing the mixture to a boil and stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool
- Whisk in cocoa powder and whiskey and mix until smooth and creamy
- To make the frosting:
- Using an electric mixer, beat together vegan cream cheese alternative, coconut oil and powdered sugar. Carefully add cocoa powder and Irish cream, alternating each one, one tablespoon at a time. Refrigerate until ready to use
- To assemble the cupcakes:
- Using a melon baller, cut out the center of the cupcakes (go about 2/3 of the way down, without cutting the bottom), saving the center pieces
- Fill the cupcakes about 2/3 of the way with chocolate-whiskey filling and top with the reserved center pieces
- Spread or pipe frosting on top and drizzle with leftover chocolate filling
You can substitute almond milk or coffee for the whiskey and liqueur if you want to avoid using alcohol