I made these cupcakes, based on a delicious vegan cake recipe from the blog Nora Cooks, for my sister-in-law’s birthday.
I’d set out to bake a two-layer cake, but scrapped that plan when I couldn’t locate a second springform pan. I prepared one 9-inch cake and a dozen cupcakes instead. The batter is unbelievably tender, featuring oil, mashed banana, chocolate chips, and boiling water, which adds moisture and binds everything together. These cupcakes are only partially vegan; the addictive, salty-sweet chai frosting (chai means tea in Hindi and Urdu) from Food52 contains butter and milk infused with black tea leaves. Substitute with a vegan frosting if desired.
Adapted from Nora Cooks
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups granulated, brown, or turbinado sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil
1 ½ bananas, mashed (approximately ⅔ cup)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup boiling water
Adapted from Food 52
2 black tea bags, cut open, or use about 2 tbsp loose tea leaves
1/3 cup almond milk or wh
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
Note: If you love a ton of frosting on your cupcakes, and need some extra frosting for another dessert, feel free to double the frosting recipe.
Prepare the batter and bake: Line two 12-inch muffin pans with cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar; set aside until mixture begins to curdle, forming vegan buttermilk. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add oil, banana, vanilla, almond milk with vinegar, and chocolate chips, whisking until smooth. Stir in boiling water. Portion batter evenly into cupcake liners, filling 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake for around 15-18 minutes, until batter is just set but still slightly gooey. Let cool in the muffin pan.
Prepare the frosting and assemble: Heat milk and tea leaves in a small saucepan on the stove until almost boiling. Remove from heat and set aside. Place butter in a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment) and mix until smooth and creamy. Slowly add powdered sugar, and if mixing by hand, beat with a wooden spoon or handheld mixer. Add salt and 2 tablespoons of the milk mixture. Once cupcakes have cooled, decorate with frosting. Serve right away, or refrigerate in an airtight container.
Yields 24 cupcakes