Saturday, May 8, 2010

Vegan! Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Well, we have another May birthday on our hands, and it just so happens that the birthday boy is a vegan...d'oh!

Now, kudos to anyone who has ever made a delicious vegan pastry. The few that I have tasted were either lacking in the flavor department or had texture that wasn't quite right. Baking is an exact science, and it can be challenging to find suitable replacements for animal products that most recipes require.

So, instead of trying to "veganize" an existing recipe, I took the less ambitious route of finding a vegan recipe that I knew would be successful. It's from a book written by the hosts of the vegan cooking show, Post Punk Kitchen and it's called, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

This vegan recipe book gets overwhelmingly awesome reviews, and with good reason - these cupcakes were marvelous! The only issue I had with this recipe was that the cupcakes stuck to the liners (the book suggests that you spray the cupcake liners which I neglected to do). ;(  I topped the cupcakes with some candied orange slices (recipe below).

Vegan! Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World

For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 4 Earl Grey teabags or 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup plain soy yogurt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
For frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted vegan butter (I used the Earth Balance brand)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 375ยบ and line tin with cupcake liners. In a small saucepan, heat soy milk until almost boiling, add tea bags and citrus zest, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes.When ready to use, stir teabags and thoroughly squeeze to ensure as much tea is dissolved in milk as possible.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, yogurt, sugar, vanilla and tea mixture until all yogurt lumps disappear. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into wet ingredients. Mix until large lumps disappear; some small lumps are okay. Fill tins full and bake about 20 minutes until a sharp knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool. Makes 1 dozen.

Make the frosting:

Cream the butter until smooth, gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the mixture is very fluffy. Zest the lemon over the bowl into the frosting, add the lemon juice and stir until smooth. Spread or pipe the frosting on cooled cupcakes.

Candied Orange Slices
Adapted from Food and Wine - Grace Parisi
  • 1-1/2 cups water 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 navel orange, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
In a medium skillet, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the orange slices and cook over moderate heat, turning them occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a thin syrup and the orange slices are translucent, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the syrup is thick and the slices are tender but still intact, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer the orange slices to a rack to cool. Reserve the syrup for another use.

The candied orange slices can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


  1. I need these. Immediately, if not sooner!

  2. wii! Vegan cupcakes! I have a couple of these left! (not really big on sweets). They were delicious!

  3. I love your blog! Thanks for this recipe. Yours looks so beautiful!Just made them but they didn't rise too much for me. Maybe I should increase the baking soda? Have you tried making these with 1/2 tsp baking soda instead of 1/4? I have posted your recipe with a few pictures of my cupcakes on my blog
    Hope you don't mind. Have linked back to you of course!

  4. Thanks all, I'm flattered.

    @magpie: Of course I don't mind! The texture of mine were definitely more muffin-like (dense) than cupcake. This was my first attempt at a vegan pastry, so I'm not sure if that's typical. I haven't tried increasing the baking soda, but perhaps that would help to leaven it a bit more?

  5. Man, these were absolutely incredible! My friends didn't even know they were vegan! I'll tell ya, they didn't last long in my kitchen :P

  6. I can't take credit for the recipe, but I'm glad they were a success!

  7. These are soo soo soo delicious!

  8. These are amazing! I have only tasted the batter so far but they will be making their debut at my Birthday Tea this afternoon. I am also really excited to get the cookbook. Thank you for sharing this gem.