These are really really handsome cupcakes. They look fancy, I know, and deep on the inside, they are even fancier.
That is, these are the long-promised Heart Attack Cupcakes, which are incredibly chocolatey in 2.5 ways, and have a cream cheese frosting filling. And by “have a cream cheese frosting filling,” I mean they have a fancy fancy toasted organic black walnut vegan cream cheese filling, because I am just that gosh-darn awesome.
The “frosting” is actually the thick concoction of chocolate, soy milk, a wee bit of margarine, and patience that is sometimes called “ganache.”
This is actually a recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World (you can see it providing the good-looking backdrop for this good-looking cupcake) that I have repeatedly tweaked until it has reached peak chocolatiness.
3/4 cup soy milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder and another
1/4 cup cocoa powder, separated
1/3 cup boiling water
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup softened vegan cream cheese (tofutti, sadly overly-processed)
1/4 cup softened vegan non-hydrogenated margarine (earth balance, whaaaat?)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Ganache topping:
12 ounces vegan semisweet or dark chocolate chips
6 ounces soy creamer or soy milk
1 tablespoon vegan margarine
Preheat the oven to 350, line the tins, duh.
Now, curdle your soy milk! I did this in a mug, because I am currently lacking in sufficient quantities of other more picturesque baking containers.
In a small pyrex or mug, dump the 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, and add the 1/3-1/2 cup of boiling water, stirring until it is smooth.
In another, larger bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. It will look something like this:
Hooray! Now add the curdled soy milk, and the chocolate goo.
Stir until it is well-combined and smooth. In yet another bowl, sift together the remaining 1/3 cup cocoa powder, the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Add the shifted together goo to the wet ingredients in two batches (seriously, it works way better this way) and whisk until no large lumps remain. Pour into the cupcake liners, filling until about a centimeter from the top, and bake for about 20 minutes.
While these cupcakes are in the oven, it is walnut toasting time. I have organic black walnuts from the tree in the yard, and they taste awesome. They are, in fact, awesomer when toasted. Toasting basically means putting about a half-cup of them in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and pushing them around the pan for 5-7 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Then you take them off the heat and cool.
The cupcakes are probably out of the oven by this point, and they should look like this:
Chop those walnuts finely, and let them cool even more. In a medium bowl, beat together the 1/4 cup of vegan margarine and the vegan cream cheese until smooth.
Add the almond and vanilla extract, and beat in thoroughly.
Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat in until smooth. You don’t have to add 4 cups, or even 3.
Since this frosting is a filling and not a theatrical topping, we’re aiming for taste more than texture. Once that step is done, fold in the chopped walnuts.
Since the nuts don’t work well with my frosting syringe, we’re returning to my standby method of filling cupcakes: cutting little cones out of the cupcake, turning the cones into caps, and filling the resulting empty space with sweetly-flavored goop.
The Ganache requires so much patience to thicken up, so please, have patience.
Heat the soy milk or creamer on the stove until it starts steaming. Then, pour it over the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl, with little cubes of margarine on it, and stir it around until it is smooth (this will take a little while)
Then you have to wait for it to set up enough to be piped onto the cupcakes (this can take a couple hours, but I also don’t like chilling it because it can easily get over-chilled.)