Q My friend is vegan and I’d love to bake her some cupcakes for her birthday. Can you give me any advice? Baking egg-less and dairy-free cupcakes is as simple as simple can be! These handy hints will get you on the road to vegan-baking-bliss! • Experiment with plant-based ingredients to find the ones you prefer. Soya milk or rice milk are excellent replacements for dairy milk. Coconut and nut milks are great too, but they will add additional flavour to your bakes. • Vegan cupcakes are easier made using flavourless oils rather than margarine to replace the butter, because margarines have added water. Using vegetable, sunflower or light rapeseed oil in a cupcake will produce a moist bake with a delicate crumb. • Eggs can be replaced with fruit or vegetable purées, soya yoghurt, ground flaxseed, curdled soya milk or a commercially made egg replacement product. • Don’t over-stir your batter! Only ever stir wet and dry ingredients until they are just combined. Avoid using an electric mixer or going heavy on the hand-mixing because you will end up with a dense, thick cake. Ignore what you know about ‘whipping air into the batter to make it light and fluffy’, this does not work with vegan baking! • Mix all of your dry ingredients first and then add your liquid ingredients in at the last second. Without eggs in the bake, you are relying entirely on your baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to do the leavening, so don’t let them start doing their business until it is just about time to pop them in the oven. • Don’t decorate or eat it straight away – let it rest. After you make your cupcakes, they will often have a thin ‘crusty’ layer along the top. You can eliminate this crispness by placing your completely cooled cupcakes into an airtight plastic container for a couple of hours or overnight. The moisture of the cake is then allowed to work its way through and you will be left with a very soft sponge. About our expert: Melissa Morgan is often better known as Ms Cupcake, one of the UK’s leading vegan cupcake makers. She’s written the book Ms. Cupcake: The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town, and opened London’s first entirely vegan retail bakery in Brixton. Find out more by visiting www.mscupcake.co.uk.
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