Thursday, September 20, 2012

Triple-Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

Mmmmmm.....chocolate.  Mike's youngest turned six this month, and apparently the birthday cake that his mom got him was destroyed in some sort of refrigerator accident and then not replaced.  Just thinking about it made me sad.  I mean geez - I'm nearly 32 and would be mad if I didn't get a birthday cake (hear that, Mike?  I like chocolate paired with either berries or peanut butter!) and I couldn't imagine not getting one at six.  So after he said he really wanted a chocolate cake with white icing, I decided to whip up these cupcakes for a belated birthday celebration last weekend.

The "triple chocolate" comes from the cocoa in the batter, the chocolate chips, and - just to make them extra-decadent - using dark chocolate almond milk instead of regular soy or almond milk for the liquid. The icing is a simple buttercream made with non-dairy butter.  I topped them off with multi-colored sugar crunchies shaped like dinosaurs to make them fun and colorful.  There were birthday smiles all around!

Triple-Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons non-dairy butter, melted
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
Buttercream Icing:
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup non-dairy butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons non-dairy milk
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
First, make the cupcakes.  Whisk the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until well-blended and free of clumps.  Mix the remaning cupcake ingredients in another bowl.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just blended.  Do not overmix!  Fold in the vegan chocolate chips.
Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake papers.  Fill cups about 2/3 of the way to the top.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.  Remove pan from oven and cool the cupcakes for 5 minutes in the pan.  After 5 minutes, carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.  Refrigerate the cupcakes for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Now make the icing.  Cream the non-dairy butter and vanilla with a mixer until smooth.  Add in the confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating on low after each addition until incorporated.  Add the non-dairy milk and beat on high for 5 minutes until the icing is glossy.  The icing should not be too runny or too dry.  If it is too runny or too dry for spreading, add either milk or confectioners sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is acheived.  Refrigerate icing for 1 hour.
Spread icing on completely cooled cupcakes, decorate as desired and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks:
1. If you don't want to use chocolate non-dairy milk, it's fine to use regular or vanilla flavored.  The results will be equally delicious!
2. Chilling both your cupcakes and your icing for at least an hour will make icing the cupcakes easier.  For pretty swirls of icing like in the picture, use a star decorating tip and either a pastry bag or just a plastic sandwich bag with a corner cut off to push the decorating tip through.  Ice the cupcakes using a swirling motion, decorate, and refrigerate until the icing hardens slightly. 

3. Vegan chocolate chips can be challenging to find.  The only readily-available milk-free chips I've found in regular grocery stores is Ghiradelli, but be careful - only the semi-sweet chips are vegan.  You can also find vegan chocolate chips in natural foods stores.
And now I leave you with some pictures from our birthday celebration:
Don't forget the candles!

That's me there in the wheelchair - no more though; I'm walking this week!

 Making a wish....

The little ninjas loved the cupcakes!
That's all for now.  Recipe for fridge pickles forthcoming, and experimenting with some homemade vegan mayo and roasted garlic and acorn squash pasta.  I'm back on my feet after surgery and have the cooking bug BAD, so I'll see you again soon!
The Fur Ninja

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