(Vegan) Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

As I point out in my first post about this chocolate cake base – you wouldn’t know it was vegan. And that applies to this yummy peanut butter frosting, too.

Frosting is pretty much the only area of baking where I freestyle. I mean, cakes and cookies and things you stick in the oven require a certain degree of precision to come out right. So in those areas, I generally stick to recipes. But with frosting, I’m 87% taste-based. I get the skeleton of a recipe and then mix stuff and adjust until it tastes good to me.

I’m off to a Memorial Day cook out with my improv company this afternoon, and I discovered that one of our members is vegan. Since I already had the cake recipe in my back pocket, and since it’s a crowd pleaser all around, I opted to make it into cupcakes – which are more conducive to crowds.

I was thinking of making Cashew Cream to frost a few – keeping them entirely vegan – and then the Cooked Buttercream for the rest. But this morning, I really didn’t feel like doubling up on frosting. I’m over doing that many dishes right now. So I went hunting on the google for something that would work for all of them and not require a boat load of cashews.

Not gonna lie, there are a lot of vegan frosting recipes out there that look gross. There are also a lot that involve coconut cream – which sound delicious/promising, but those require refrigeration. This is an outdoor event in May in South Carolina, so I needed something sturdy that wouldn’t melt in 10 minutes.

Enter peanut butter. It’s sturdy, it’s delicious with chocolate, and it doesn’t require weird vegan butter that would force me to make an extra trip to the store (and, I’m just assuming, might not taste great).

This frosting is yummy, and I kinda wanted to eat it with a spoon… okay, so maybe I did a bit. I might even use this on regular, non-vegan cakes in future. I had a fair bit left over from frosting 24 cupcakes (I could have been more generous), and I can’t quite bring myself to toss it.

Also, this stuff is stable at room temperature while being sturdy enough to hold sufficient piping shape to be pretty. I used this as an opportunity to finally play with the fancy piping tips my mom sent me ages ago – which makes things impressive while putting out minimal effort. So, that’s awesome.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Follow instructions on that page, and use a 1/4 cup measuring scoop to distribute batter into muffin tins. Bake for 20-23 mins – checking with a toothpick. You don’t want to over bake these.

Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting

Grade: A

Please note – I mean it when I say I make frosting to taste. So the following is an approximation. Taste early and often and make adjustments accordingly.

  • 1 cup peanut butter (*I used Jif rather than natural)
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1½-2 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

Make sure your coconut oil is room temperature so it is softened or slightly melted – but don’t melt it. You want it to be semi-solid. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the coconut oil and peanut butter on medium speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides a few times to be sure there are no chunks of coconut oil left. Then add vanilla and salt and beat until combined.

From here add about a cup and a half of powdered sugar and taste it. Then keep adding about half a cup at a time until it tastes roughly how you want it to taste.

At this point, the frosting will be a bit thick/clumpy. This is where the almond/cashew/coconut milk comes in. Add a few splashes at a time until you get the frosting to a consistency you like. It’ll get even clumpier at first, but stick with small additions and it’ll smooth out. Just don’t panic and dump in a whole lot or you’ll end up with runny frosting.

*If you want to make this with natural peanut butter, I would start with a little less coconut oil and see how the consistency turns out. You’ll probably need to end up on the higher end with

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