It’s time my friends, for the Vegan Vanilla Cupcake Off!
What is a Cupcake Off, you ask? Well, it’s the excuse I made to get together with a couple of friends, pop open a bottle of champagne, and serve three batches of cupcakes. I mean really, do you even need an excuse?
The Goal: Determine once and for all which is the best Vegan Vanilla Cupcake. I chose vanilla as the competing flavour because I wanted to start with the basics, no fancy pants ingredients to hide what a cupcake is really all about… cake and frosting. Mmmmm frosting….
Cupcake Number 1 (left), Vanilla Birthday Cupcake from the book Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, by Chloe Coscarelli winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars (she competed against traditional dairy and egg bakers)! I bow to you Chloe.
Cupcake Number 2 (centre), Golden Vanilla Cupcakes from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I mean, come on, not only did she write an entire book just about vegan cupcakes, this book has a 5 star rating on Amazon.
Cupcake Number 3 (right), For the final contestant, I googled “best vegan vanilla cupcake” and got this recipe by Sheri Silver, but she credits the recipe to Madison from Veggieful, and rightly so as I can’t tell the difference between the two recipes. So the final competitor is Vegan Vanilla Cake Recipe by Madison, writer of the very charming blog Veggieful. The internet tells me this is the best cupcake, so I must listen.
So how do we determine what is the best cupcake? We eat them of course! Picking apart the cake, the frosting, every little detail we could think of. Check out my black board scribbles. This is serious stuff, we weren’t messing around. Not to mention I took very detailed notes all through the process of baking them. So let’s compare step by step.
- Makes 14 cupcakes (which I found a bit annoying as most cupcake pans hold 12).
- Required the use of two bowls, one for wet and one for dry ingredients.
- Recipe called for 8 ingredients, with special ingredients apple-cider or white vinegar and baking soda.
- Baked for 18 to 20 minutes at 350F.
- The cupcakes rose nicely, were golden in colour, and they had a nice shine to the surface.
- Makes 12 cupcakes (which fit my cupcake pan perfectly).
- Required use of three bowls, one for wet, one for dry, and another bowl or jar for vegan buttermilk mixture.
- Recipe called for 11 ingredients, with special ingredients apple cider vinegar, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch.
- Baked for 20 to 22 minutes, at 350F
- Also rose nicely, paler in colour and didn’t have any shine.
- Makes 10 cupcakes (which I find a bit annoying again, since most cupcake pans hold 12).
- Requires only one bowl, everything is mixed together.
- Recipe called for 8 ingredients, with special ingredients baking powder and apple-cider vinegar.
- Bakes for 20 Minutes at 365F.
- These cupcakes didn’t rise as high, were pale in colour and had a slight shine.
Overall Best Baking Experience: Madison’s recipe. Dumping everything into one bowl was easiest, her recipe also called for only 8 ingredients. However, it would have been nicer if the recipe made 12 cupcakes, and they rose more.
- I used the Vanilla Frosting recipe from the same book.
- Makes enough frosting for 24 cupcakes, which again I found annoying as it’s too much frosting for one batch of her cupcake recipe, but not enough for two.
- Used non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening as the fat.
- Was easy to whip up, and easy to pipe.
- Very white in colour.
- I used the Vegan Fluffy Butter Cream Frosting from the same book.
- Recipes makes about 4 cups of frosting, I don’t know how many cupcakes that would cover.
- Used a combo of non-hydrogenated shortening and non-hydrogenated margarine.
- Had a slightly yellow colour to the frosting.
- Was softer and easy to pipe.
- I used the Vegan Vanilla Frosting recipe also found on Veggieful.
- Makes enough frosting for 10 cupcakes.
- Used vegan margarine as the fat.
- The powdered sugar is measured in weight, and as I don’t have a scale, I apparently blew the math entirely and my frosting ended up being a like cement. I had to change the recipe to make it usable. Either I need a food scale, or just a different recipe.
Overall Best Baking Experience: Isa’s recipe. The frosting came together easily and I liked how it was fluffier. This made it easy to pipe.
- The cake was light and fluffy, and as the cake sat around, the edges got chewier, which I liked.
- It was sweet but some people thought it was a bit strong in vanilla flavour.
- The frosting was pretty with it’s crisp white colour, but it was lacking in buttery favour, and a bit too firm. (I like a fluffier frosting).
- The cake was dryer than Chloe’s and a little more dense.
- I didn’t notice a drastic difference with the extra steps of the vegan buttermilk, the use of cornstarch, and baking soda.
- I liked the frosting better as it had a buttery flavour and was a bit softer.
- The cake was dense, and was described as a raw or doughy flavour.
- That said, one friend loved this cupcake the most but also admitted she loves undercooked pancakes. So if you love undercooked pancakes, then you will probably like this cake.
- For the frosting, I can’t really comment fairly as I pretty much had to make it up myself. My measurements for weighing the powdered sugar without a scale totally flubbed.
Overall Best Taste: A tie! I liked the cake of Chloe’s recipe best, it was light and fluffy, but the frosting of Isa’s recipe, which had a more buttery flavour.
And the winner is?
No one! What!? I know, so disappointing. Or is it? You see I did a crafty thing here. As none of these recipes were an obvious winner, I took all the best parts from each recipe and crafted my own Best Vegan Vanilla Cupcake Recipe. Amazing! Where is it? Gimme, gimme!
Just click here to get this gem… and a gem it is! I am very happy to say that for me, I made the perfect cupcake.
Until next time, Bon Appetegan!