My First Time Baking Vegan

I love to bake and often make cookies or cupcakes to celebrate the birthdays of my friends, family, and coworkers. For the first time this past week, I tried a new cupcake and icing recipe, which eliminated dairy, to accommodate a coworker’s dietary restrictions. I was not only surprised by the taste of the final product, but also by how easy the cupcakes and icing were to make!

To make the vanilla cupcakes, I used a recipe by Loving It Vegan. Originally, I intended to make strawberry icing for the cupcakes, but later decided to make vanilla icing instead and just decorate with strawberries and blueberries. I chose Elizabeth Rider’s Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Recipe because it only required me to pick up one more item at the grocery store that I didn’t have at home – vegan butter.

The Process

Making the cupcakes was very straightforward following Loving It Vegan’s recipe. However, before icing the cupcakes I had to transport them to work…on a bus, a subway, and walking! Keeping them in the baking pan, I wrapped them in foil and laid them flat in a tote bag and carried the ingredients for the icing in a second tote bag.

The cupcakes made it to work just fine, but seemed a little moist and I honestly panicked a little thinking can cupcakes melt?!

Again the recipe for the icing was very easy to follow. I had left the vegan butter out of the fridge overnight so it was soft and easy to work with. However, when it was time to add vanilla extract to the mixture, only a couple drops came out of the bottle! I had been so concerned with making sure the cupcakes did not get damaged that I hadn’t checked to make sure I had enough of the wet ingredients that I hauled to the work kitchen.

Without the vanilla, I thought the icing tasted very buttery, so I made up for it by adding in extra confectionary sugar, tasting it again, and continuing to add extra sugar until I was satisfied with the taste.

I used a spoon to add a small amount of icing to each cupcake and then used a butter knife (my options were limited in the office kitchen) to smooth out the icing, which seemed to melt very quickly. As a solution, I refrigerated the cupcakes until a half hour before the birthday celebration.

I made the mistake of trying to decorate the cupcakes fresh out of the refrigerator. I was surprised with how hard the icing had gotten in the refrigerator and really should have let them warm up a bit before applying the strawberries and blueberries. By the time I was done decorating I had a bunch of blueberries that had rolled off the top of the cupcakes to clean up.

The Reaction

I was a little nervous about how my coworkers would react. Would my omission of vanilla be an issue? What if they were too hard still from being in the refrigerator?

To my relief the cupcakes were a hit! My office devoured the dozen and had nothing but good things to say about the taste. I heard a couple times that the cake tasted slightly like banana bread and agreed as well, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; banana bread is delicious! Most importantly, the birthday girl enjoyed them!

Overall, I’d consider the experience a success! I am truly excited to experiment with more vegan recipes in the future.

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