Food, Yarn, & Stuff

Review: Vegan Cupcakes and Cherrybrook Kitchen Vanilla Frosting

Posted on: June 19, 2011

*The following is purely my opinion – I purchased this product for my family.  It is in no way sponsored or endorsed by AllRecipes.com or Cherrybrook Kitchens*
Today is the husband’s birthday.  He takes something into work on his birthday, usually bagels from Panera, which I think he still did.  But, for the benefit of his vegan friend at work – I wanted to try my hand at some vegan baking!  Making bagels is a very time-consuming process, let alone vegan bagels, so I decided on cupcakes!  I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com.  Vegan Chocolate Cake… Yum!  Sounds delicious, easy to make, and best of all… no crazy ingredients!  I had everything I needed in my pantry!
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease one 9×5 inch loaf pan, or prepare 12 muffin cups with wrappers.
2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar and water.  Mix together until smooth.
3. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. (Or fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.)  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Now, I note that these are ‘nutritionally vegan’ – not ‘PETA vegan’.  I’m sure there’s something you can use in place of white sugar for the sweetener that’s ‘PETA vegan’.  There’s something about what they use to filter or refine the sugar that doesn’t make white sugar ‘animal friendly’.  But my goal is to be nutritionally vegan, not specifically ‘PETA vegan’ as I like to call it.

Now the frosting…

I had a recipe in hand for vegan white frosting which is probably not really that hard to make, but when I was shopping yesterday I stumbled across this wonderful product… jarred vegan frosting!  PERFECT for how I was feeling when I was at the store.  With both kids in tow, I was ready to be DONE with shopping, so the idea of not having to mix my own frosting sounded great at the time!
Once the cupcakes cooled, I pulled out the frosting!  Let me just say I’m a lover of ‘prepared frosting’.  I’ve been known to dip a spoon into an open container in the fridge for a quick sugar fix!  When I first opened the jar it looked a little strange, so I stirred it up.  It has an interesting translucent white color – I’m not sure what causes this, but it does kind of resemble Elmer’s Glue (as a friend pointed out when I posted the picture of my completed cupcakes on Facebook last night.)  Although it’s been several years since I had the opportunity to eat paste – I’m pretty sure that this frosting does NOT taste like Elmer’s Glue!  It does have a bit more of a glaze texture though versus your ‘standard’ store bought canned frosting.  And, as much as I love frosting, I don’t love giant piles on top of my cupcakes.  So, this frosting really was perfect.  It is very sweet, and has a great vanilla taste!
Overall, I would rate the recipe as an A++ (I really don’t think I’ll make a boxed mix ever again!) The frosting gets an A too!  There are a few comments on the allrecipes.com page that talk about possible variations, and I think these could easily be made into gourmet cupcakes with a couple changes… Balsamic Vinegar instead of white and a pinch of cayenne pepper!  Maybe I’ll make another batch today to try those out… I do still have frosting in the fridge, and I can’t just eat it all with a spoon!
**A side note – since writing this post on the other night, I tried my gourmet version of these cupcakes.  Replace the white vinegar with balsamic vinegar and add 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper to the dry ingredients.  These changes make them even more chocolatey and leaves a nice warm feeling in your throat.  The verdict from the kids was split, as usual.  The boy LOVES them and the girl didn’t like that they made her mouth hot (and she’s the one who usually likes the spicy food!)
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