The Recipe for Happiness

Vegan CupcakeThere are many roads to happiness – and one of the paths must certainly be lined with cupcakes! There is something inherently happy about a cupcake – an individual, perfectly proportioned cake topped with a swirl of buttercream frosting which invites a mini-celebration, no reason required …

While cooking is enhanced by improvisation, baking is an exacting science: the outcome can be greatly affected by the slightest adjustment (for better or worse). I’ve done a lot of experimenting with different recipes to perfect my vegan baking skills, and am grateful for friends’ willingness to be my baking tasters. I’ve found that when a sampler says: “mmm, that tastes like a healthy cookie”, it’s not the ideal response you’re hoping for. All baked goods, vegan or non, should conjure melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.

Luckily, I was gifted an amazing cupcake cook book: “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World” – every recipe I’ve tried has been fantastic. Favorites include “Mucho Margarita” (yes, a shot of tequila included – yum!), “Gingerbread with Lemony Frosting” (perfect for an autumnal dinner party) and a classic winner: “Chocolate with Buttercream Frosting”. I made a batch of chocolate cupcakes recently to celebrate a friend’s visit to NYC – I hope you enjoy the recipe!






1 cup organic soy milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat till foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat till no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay).

Pour into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.



1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance is great)

3-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted if clumpy

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup plain organic soy milk or soy creamer


Beat the shortening and margarine together until will combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and soy milk, beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.

Frost your cupcakes, add some happy sprinkles, share with friends, and Enjoy!!


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