The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes

Recipes for 'Vegan Frosting'

Twilight Brownie Bites

Yield: 2 1/5 dozen brownie bites

Voila!  My third recipe in the trio of treats I have created so far using Go Max Go vegan candy bars (no dairy, eggs, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, artificial ingredients, or cholesterol).

Sometimes I feel that my creations are gilding the lily since the candy bars are so good on their own–7 different and delicious varieties–but when the occasion calls for something different than a candy bar, I encourage you to give these a “go”!

These dark-as-midnight brownie bites conceal hidden nuggets of Go Max Go “Twilight” bars–think vegan versions of Milk Way bars–beneath sweet fluffy swirls of peanut butter and cream cheese goodness.

1/4 cup vegan butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar (I use demerara)

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

3 Go Max Go “Twilight” bars

Vegan Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Garnish: Additional “Twilight” bars, whole peanuts, and mini vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line miniature muffin tins with 30 miniature cupcake liners.  Place butter, oil, and sugar in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for about 45 seconds.  Whisk together until sugar is almost dissolved, microwaving another 10 seconds if necessary.  Add all remaining ingredients except frosting and garnishes, whisk to combine, and then whisk an additional 50 strokes.  Spoon by heaping teaspoon into prepared mini muffin tins; each should be about 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Bake for 10 minutes or until set.  Cut each Twilight bar into 12 equal pieces with a sharp knife, place one piece on top of each brownie bit and gently press to partially submerge.  (Save remaining slices from third bar for garnish.)  Cool completely, frost with Vegan Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting using a piping bag, if desired, and garnish with “Twilight” bar pieces, peanuts, and mini chocolate chips.

Vegan Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

2 tablespoons vegan butter

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese

2 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Approximately 2 cups powdered sugar

Approximately 2 tablespoons coconut or soy creamer

Combine butter, shortening, cream cheese and peanut butter in the bowl of electric mixer and beat on high speed until fluffy.  Add extracts, 1 cup of powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon creamer, and beat until creamy-fluffy.  Repeat with remaining powdered sugar and creamer, adjusting amounts, if necessary, to achieve desired consistency.


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Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

These may possibly be the moistest cupcakes you will ever put in your mouth!

A pint of fresh figs from a local farm market that needed used fairly quickly resulted in these beautiful confections.  The lemon in the buttercream frosting  provides a subtle but bright contrast to the cinnamon-scented fig cupcakes, while the brandy flavoring (use real brandy if you have it–my husband forbids me, jokingly–sort of–to use his)  accents their ripe, earthy fruitiness for the perfect summer wedding of flavors.

Vegan Fresh Fig Cupcakes

1 cup soymilk (unsweetened or plain)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (I have used rice wine vinegar in a pinch and it works just fine)

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (this is what I keep on-hand, but unbleached all purpose is fine)

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons natural sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup walnut oil or canola oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

18 to 20 small-medium fresh figs, stemmed, and pureed in a food processor

Vegan Lemon-Brandy Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows)

Garnish: 12 fresh fig halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.  In a small cup or bowl, whisk together soymilk and vinegar to make a vegan “buttermilk.”  When it curdles, whisk again and set the mixture aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the soymilk mixture, oil, and vanilla extract.  Stir just until all ingredients are well combined and no lumps remain.  Stir in the fig puree until completely combined.  Fill muffin cups no more than 3/4 full and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack, and then remove cupcakes from tin.  Place frosting in a pastry bag (mine came from the Dollar Tree!) fitted with a star-type tip, and pipe on top of cooled cupcakes in concentric circles, spiraling high.  Top with a fresh fig half just before serving.

Vegan Lemon-Brandy Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup vegan butter

4 cups powdered sugar, divided

2 tablespoons soymilk (unsweetened or plain)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon brandy flavoring

Zest of 1/2 large lemon

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together shortening and vegan butter.  With mixer on low, beat in half of powdered sugar and half of soymilk.  Repeat.  Beat in vanilla, brandy flavoring, and lemon zest, and then turn mixer to high and whip until creamy-fluffy.


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DSCN0758This Coca-Cola Cake with Fudgy Frosting is yet more evidence that I have been having powerful winter cravings for Southern comfort foods!

How fun that these obsessions have led to quite a few brand new vegan recipes that I am delighted to share with you.

But, if you are thinking, “Ick.  I would NEVER drink a Coca-Cola,” wait!  There are a number of organic brands with deeply spicy notes and complex flavor that would be a perfect upgrade to this southern staple.

Enjoy the latest, this addicting cake, complete with back story and organic cola recommendations, on the Go Dairy Free website, the definitive site for all things non-dairy.  Thanks to creator, Alisa Fleming!

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If you’ve not visited Go Dairy Free in a while, I recommend you click on the link and head on over, as I think you’ll love the new format.  New look.  Same great information, ideas, recipes, and resources that is continually expanded.

In a recent email, GDF creator, Alisa, wrote “I’m slowly updating old recipes with our new format, so I just refeatured one of your recipes from last year!”

The recipe is for my Savory Black Bean Cupcakes with Whipped Sweet Potato Frosting.  Sound odd?  Well, they are pretty unique, I have to say.  Sort of like a bread, protein and starchy vegetable in one.  In a word: delish, if I do say so.  And so very pretty.

Please enjoy them with my wishes for a very Happy Halloween!

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Yield: approximately 2 dozen 1 3/4-inch wafers

This Raspberry-Champagne Buttercream Frosting is about the best thing, well, since sliced cookies.  Seriously, it had omnivores requesting the recipe and laying the compliments on thick!

It is as delicious on vanilla cupcakes–heck, it’s delicious on the end of your finger!–and it is in these not-too-sweet chocolate wafers, with their perfect balance of crispness and tenderness.

Coincidentally, while looking for commercial chocolate wafers to encase this buttercream (remember “Famous” brand?), I noticed that Oreos now come filled with a berry cream.  If the combination is good enough for Oreos, it’s definitely good enough for me!  And by the way, this recipe for homemade wafers is very close to what I remember of the taste and texture of Famous wafers, though a tad thicker.

The Chocolate Wafer Cookies are adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert by and veganized by me (just a matter of substituting vegan butter for butter and soymilk for whole milk).  The frosting is The Blooming Platter all the way!

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour (I always use the latter)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) vegan butter, slightly softened
3 tablespoons soymilk (plain or unsweetened)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 recipe Fresh Raspberry-Champagne Buttercream Frosing

Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of food processor and pulse several times to mix thoroughly. Cut the butter into about 12 chunks and add them to the bowl. Pulse several times. Combine the soymilk and vanilla in a small cup. With the processor running, add the milk mixture and continue to process until the mixture clumps around the blade or the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a large bowl or a cutting board and knead a few times to make sure it is evenly blended.

Form the dough into a log about 14 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the log of dough into slices a scant 1/4-inch thick, on a slight bias if you choose, and place them one inch apart on the lined sheets (cookies will spread just a little). Bake, rotating the baking sheet from top to bottom and back to front about halfway through baking, for a total of 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies will puff up and deflate; they are done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks, or slide the parchment onto racks to cool completely. These cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks or be frozen for up to two months.

Note: These cookies should crisp as they cool. If they don’t, you’re not baking them long enough, says Medrich — in which case, return them to the oven to reheat and bake a little longer, then cool again.

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Yield: enough to generously frost 12 regular cupcakes or a single-layer cake

School started on Monday with an in-service week for teachers, so I made these beauties for a few of my teacher friends to wish them a “sweet” start to a new school year.

What a hit they were!  One teacher wanted the recipe, one said they were “three minutes of uninterrupted heaven,” another sent me a text saying, “Awesome cupcake,” and still another said he was quite sure it was the best cupcake he had ever eaten!  And, by the way, all of these teachers are omnivores.

What makes them so special?  Well, the vanilla cupcakes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World are darn good.  But the cupcake-frosting combination is out of this world.  Truly, it was the frosting that sent everyone over the moon: fresh raspberries that I marinated in champagne!  Actually, they were from a sangria recipe I created with Prosecco (I was testing a recipe for a major project that, fingers crossed, will come to fruition).  But, for the purpose of recreating the frosting without having to make sangria first, I figured out the correct proportion of Prosecco and sugar.  The flavor is bursting with berry freshness and a little tangy zip, but there is a subtle depth and complexity about it too.

These cupcakes are pretty enough for a wedding, but it would be a shame to save them for such rare occasions.  Bake up a batch and make any day special!

1/2 cup sparkling wine (I use Prosecco, but champagne would be lovely too)

3 tablespoons natural sugar

1 cup fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons vegan butter

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese

5 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

The day before you plan to make the frosting, marinate the berries: in a small bowl, dissolve sugar in the sparkling wine, add berries, stir well, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours.  To make frosting, cream butter, shortening, and cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, starting the mixer on slow and gradually increasing the speed so that you don’t coat yourself in sugar.  After you’ve added about 2 cups of the sugar, drain berries and add all of them with another cup of sugar, beating well.  Don’t be alarmed if mixture looks curdled; it will smooth out as the remaining sugar is added.  Continue beating and adding remaining sugar and vanilla until the frosting is thick and creamy.  You may find that you need more or less of the sugar in the marinade, as well as in the frosting, depending on how sweet and moist the berries are, respectively.  So adjust as you see fit.  Use the frosting immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.  I like to pipe swirls of frosting on top of the cupcakes using a pastry bag before garnishing with white nonpareil pearls for a very feminine look (I purchase the pearls at our local Kroger).  However, a fresh raspberry perched on top , perhaps with a mint leaf, would also be lovely.

Note: I recently saw some Oreos (they’re vegan in the U.S.!) with a berry filling!  So pretty in pink.  I’m thinking that the frosting would be absolutely scrumptious between two chocolate wafer cookies, no?

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Find the back-story and simple recipe for these cupcakes  HERE

And if  you don’t have lemon verbena growing in your garden, run, don’t walk, to the nearest garden center or farmer’s market.  It has become one of my favorite herbs: pretty, versatile, and easy to grow!

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Yield: 1 1/2 dozen cookies (easily doubles)

Everyone loved my Vegan Mini Kahlua-Spiked Chocolate-Almond Cupcakes with Coconut-Espresso Buttercream Frosting.  And, since I had frosting left over from my testing session, I thought it might be perfect in a decadent fudgy thumbprint cookie.  Since I also had hazelnuts and Chambord on hand, they became Chambord-Spiked Fudgy Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies. 

These were devoured by my non-vegan husband!

1/4 cup melted vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)

1/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons chocolate almond milk (chocolate soymilk would be tasty too)

2 teaspoons Chambord (or your favorite raspberry flavored liqueur)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (that sounds like a lot, but it was just right to my palate)

1 cup natural sugar (this also sounds like alot, but I tried it first with 1/2 cup and it just wasn’t enough; you could reduce to 2/3-3/4 cup if you are concerned about your sugar intake)

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

generous pinch sea salt (you may use table salt if you prefer)

1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts (if the nuts are too large, when you press your thumb into the dough balls, you will break them up)

Coconut-Espresso Buttercream Frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine wet ingredients (first six ingredients) in a medium bowl.  Combine dry ingredients in a separate medium size bowl.  Make a depression in the center, pour in wet ingredients and stir until well combined.  Dough will be stiff.  Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper.  Using s small scoop, place mounds of cookie 2 inches apart in rows.  Press your thumb into the center of each cookie to create a little depression.  Bake 10 minutes.  Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and,when cookies are cool enough to handle, press your thumb again into the depression to define it a little more and make plenty of room for lots of frosting!  Let the cookies cool completely on the cookie sheet, as they will break apart if you try to move them while warm.  Fill the depression with  frosting by simply spooning it in or piping it  if you prefer a fancier presentation.  Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Note: avoid using all vegan butter in place of the butter-oil mixture, as the cookies will spread too much.

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Yield: 2 1/2 dozen miniature cupcakes

Where did May go?  I feel that I’ve been out of touch for so long, and that was not my intention!

I had the flu for the first two weeks of the month, and it was all I could do to get myself to school and home.  And, I guess, by the middle of the month, we were deep into testing, final assignments, end of year celebrations and, come the first of June, the creation of exams and oh-so-much-more in preparation for graduation which is only a week from tomorrow!  The last days of school are absolutely breathless!

Speaking of breathless, these fabulously decadent cupcakes will take your breath away!

They were inspired by the irrepressible Kisha Marie, Starbucks barista and beaded jewelry designer extraordinaire.  I love starting my day with an exchange of greetings, ideas, and news with Kisha.  Her exuberance is infectious.  And, I swear, she has my Green Tea Soy  No Syrup Frappuccino started before I even arrive!

Every so often, my local Starbucks where she works offers free tastes from a big carafe.  A recent Kisha Marie concoction gave rise to my newest favorite cupcake: a blend of iced Via concentrate, coconut syrup, and soymilk.  Mmmm…  She always gets the balance of flavors,  consistency, and color exactly right.

Though there is no chocolate in her signature beverage, I thought the chocolate cupcakes would be a perfect foil for the coffee and coconut in the frosting.  Yes, indeed! And the Kahlua?  Well, who needs to justify coffee liqueur?  I just have to remember not to spike them when I share with my students!

But I did share them with all my pals at Starbucks.  The cupcakes received a latte praise (sorry, I couldn’t resist), though Kisha recommended that I use Via instead of my standard espresso powder.  I’m sure she’s right about that.  Next time!

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup natural sugar

1/3 cup finely ground almonds, plain or toasted for deeper flavor (use a food processor to achieve the consistency of an almond meal)

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt (table salt is fine, but I love sea salt even in baked goods)

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or canola oil)

1 cup chocolate almond milk (chocolate soymilk may be substituted)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

5 tablespoons Kahlua or other coffee flavored liqueur for brushing tops

Coconut-Espresso Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows)

Optional garnish: 30 chocolate-covered coffee beans, sliced almonds, or a pinch of plain or toasted coconut

Line 30 mini-muffin cups with mini-muffin papers.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together all dry ingredients.  In a small bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients except Kahlua.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture.  Stir both together until the batter is smooth, though a few small lumps may remain.  Using a small scoop, divide batter evenly among the lined muffin cups.  Bake for 20 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted in the center of one cupcake comes out clean.  Check at 18 minutes to avoid over-baking.  Remove muffin tins to wire racks to cool.  When cool enough to handle, remove cupcakes from the tins onto the racks in order to prevent them from continuing to cook.  Prick each cupcake a few times with a toothpick and brush the tops with up to 1/2 teaspoon Kahlua each.  Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe in swirls on top of each cupcake.  Or simply spread the frosting on each cupcake with a dinner knife, spoon or offset spatula.  Garnish as desired and serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Coconut Espresso Buttercream Frosting:

6 tablespoons vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)

6 tablespoons vegetable shortening

3 cups powdered sugar

4 teaspoons espresso powder dissolved in 4 teaspoons unsweetened or plain soymilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons coconut extract (extract is preferred over coconut flavor, though the flavor will do if you can’t find extract)

Cream together butter and shortening until smooth.  Beat in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with the espresso and soymilk mixture, until smooth and creamy.  Start electric mixer on low so as not to coat yourself in sugar.  Beat in vanilla and coconut extracts until completely incorporated.

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These beauties were  baked from a recipe in Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero’s Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  And they are out-of-this-world, or so my AP Studio students, the lucky recipients, thought!

I simply baked the batter from their Banana Split Cupcakes recipe (p. 81) in decorative paper-lined mini-muffin tins without the addition of the pineapple preserves or chopped dark chocolate.   Then I frosted them with their recipe for Chocolate Banana Mousse (p. 157) and topped them with a half macadamia nut–they’re too expensive to use whole!

I omitted the  soymilk from the frosting recipe, as I wanted it quite thick, and only used 10, instead of 12, ounces of chocolate (10 ounces is what came in my bag), and it was perfect.  The recipe is almost identical to my go-to mousse from another source that uses a liqueur in place of the soymilk, so either way would work great.   And both are equally as delicious whether enjoyed as frosting, a mousse, or a pie filling!

The frosting recipe is essentially a package of extra-firm silken tofu processed until smooth with melted chocolate, a couple of more tablespoons of the sweetener of your choice, a little bit of vanilla, and a banana, chilled for about an hour before piping.

I recommend buying this cookbook–a staple in my kitchen (right along with The Blooming Platter that is!)–so that you can enjoy this and lots of other recipes for both traditional and contemporary cupcakes.  Think “Cupcake Wars,” vegan style.

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