Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Off-Grid Baking 3: Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (with vanilla frosting)

After lazing in the sun for most of the afternoon on Saturday, the weather began to cool, and so we went inside. I decided to do some baking, to make some cakes for a birthday party in the evening, and just because I enjoy it. However, I didn't feel like going to the shops so I thought I would try and work with the ingredients I had on the boat. Crucially I had no eggs.

So I did a little search online and found these: Fabulous Cupcakes for Everyone from FoodieMommy. They are very simple and actually entirely vegan as well as egg free. I used non-vegan frosting but there are plenty of vegan cake toppings out there (like this vanilla frosting) if you wanted to go the whole way!

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Gas 4). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water until well combined. Add flour mixture to the mixer and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Batter should look and feel more watery than normal cake batters. I just whisked it up with a fork, and quickly added it to the try ingredients, which worked fine.
  4. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup 1/2 to 3/4 full. Transfer to oven and bake, rotating pan halfway through cooking, until a cake tester inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Immediately remove cupcakes from muffin tin and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting. 
A note on American measurements : 1 cup is roughly 240ml. I don't have a proper 'cup' measure, although I am planning to get hold of one. I just measured out the volume in a measuring jug and then found a cup which holds roughly that amount.

Basically this recipe uses the vinegar and baking soda to react and cause the cakes to rise. It was creating some bubbles as I was pouring it into the cake cases, and they rose really well! I was so impressed with the recipe. They're also really light and moist.

I topped them with vanilla frosting from the Hummingbird bakery recipe book. I had been wanting to try and make a proper frosting without a mixer to see what happened, and I was amazed at how I was able to whip it up to create really stiff frosting. It was a bit tiring but entirely doable.

  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
  • 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 25ml whole milk
  • a couple of drops of vanilla extract

  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
  2. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.
  3. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.
It perhaps wasn't as fluffy as it would have been with a mixer, but they went down well at the party in the evening!


  1. YUM! They look so fluffy and cute!

  2. Oh my, these look delicious! Found your blog in The Pioneer Woman's comment section, and I absolutely love it--can't wait to read more!

  3. For beating things like cake batter or icing, I'd be inclined to use a wooden spoon, rather than the whisk. That was certainly what I did in the days before I had the option of an electric beater.

  4. Hey Amy back on my blog for a bit rtying to post more if i can! I remebered ages ago i read this, and i started baking and realised i had no eggs so i looked it up..! life saverrr! xxxx