I made my first attempt at baking a vegan dessert for my boyfriend’s birthday last week. I decided to continue with the theme of homemade gifts from our Valentine’s Day celebration (when he cooked for me all day instead of treating me to one meal at a restaurant). Since I hadn’t baked in years and this was my first time baking anything vegan, I was part nervous and part excited.
I initially thought about making a vegan version of my mom’s black forest cake, a popular request of my family for special occasions. But I figured it would be safer to use a recipe originally meant for vegans. Thankfully, the one I chose delivered on simplicity and flavor! I went with Naked Cupcake’s vegan black forest cupcake recipe that was inspired by a recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.
It turned out to be more of a chocolate cupcake since I swapped out the cherry pie filling with coconut flakes. And instead of Nutriwhip (vegan whipped cream), I ended up using my mom’s recipe for the icing/topping.
Regardless of whether or not you include the cherries, this recipe is definitely worth a repeat! They came out so chocolaty and moist; I plan to make them again in the next couple of days.
- 1 cup cashew milk (or any milk substitute)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- 1 ½ tsp pure bourbon vanilla extract (plus 1 tsp for topping)
- 1 cup flour
- ⅓cup cocoa
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
- 4 oz. (1 bar) of Baker’s semi-sweet 56% cacao
- ⅓ cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance but Melt might give it a sweeter taste since it’s coconut oil)
⅓ cup of unsweetened (or sweetened) coconut flakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and insert cupcake liners into the cupcake pan (one that holds 12 cupcakes)
- Whisk the cashew milk and apple cider vinegar together in a small bowl; set aside to let it thicken
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl
- Use another large bowl to whisk the sugar, oil and vanilla (NOTE: You may have to heat the coconut oil in a microwave for about 20-30 seconds to melt it)
- Add the cashew milk mix to the wet ingredients and whisk until foamy
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, and stir until smooth with tiny lumps (don’t over mix it)
- Use a baking spatula or spoon to scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. Start out by filling half the liner to ensure you have enough batter to make 12 cupcakes. You can gradually add the remainder later.
- Bake for about 18-20 minutes (mine was ready after 18 minutes). Prick it with a toothpick or fork around the 16-minute mark to see how much longer you may need to bake it since oven temperatures may vary. If the toothpick or fork comes out clean, then the cupcakes are ready.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool for at least 5 minutes (or while you’re preparing the topping)
To prepare the topping:
- Melt ⅓ cup vegan butter with 4 oz. (1 whole bar) of Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave in 30-second intervals. Stir it each time to ensure it melts evenly.
- Once it’s completely melted, add 1 teaspoon of pure bourbon vanilla extract and mix well. (You can use a different extract depending on the flavor you want, like caramel or cherry.)
- Use a knife to spread the chocolate topping onto each cupcake
- Lightly sprinkle coconut flakes onto each cupcake