December 21, 2008

Vegan Maple Cupcakes with Sugared Walnuts

There are a number of vegans in my life and they have happily introduced me to the art of vegan baking. Up until a few years ago, I'd been under the impression that 'vegan' automatically meant no tasty desserts. Oh, how very wrong I was.

My friend Audra lent me and Natalie a snazzy little book called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Between the two of us, we've made a nice array of delicious cupcakes--and people are definitely surprised to find out they are vegan.

I've had numerous people tell me that the little treats from this book are the best cupcakes that they've eaten--ever. But this recipe in particular really takes the cake...

For the Sugared Walnuts:
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a pan and bake for 6-8 minutes. Toss after 4 minutes and keep a close eye on them so they don't burn. Remove from oven and place in a bowl to cool. Prepare a lightly greased piece of parchment paper to use in just a minute.
  2. Pour sugar, maple syrup and salt into a large, heavy skillet. Heat on medium, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts and the mixture is thick and smells caramel-ly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the walnuts and cinnamon. Stir to coat each nut. Immediately spread coated walnuts on the parchment; use a spatula to keep them from clumping. Cool completely before handling.
For the Cupcakes:
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 maple extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugared walnuts (from above recipe)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your cupcake pan with liners. (Recipe only makes 12 cupcakes.)
  2. Whisk together soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl. Set aside for a few minutes.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg into a separate bowl and mix. Whisk the maple syrup, oil, brown sugar, vanilla and maple extracts into the soy mixture.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until lumps dissolve. Fold in the sugared walnuts.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1/4 cup room temp. margarine (Earth Balance is the best!)
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar (sift it for silky smooth results)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  1. Beat the shortening and margarine until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add the maple extract and soy milk. Beat until fluffy--5-7 minutes.
  2. Frost cupcakes and top with the remaining sugared walnut pieces.


  1. I am not a big cake fan, but you definitely got me with the candied walnuts and maple frosting, yum!

  2. Has Kate posted her vegan cupcake recipe yet? I love those.

  3. Her vegan carrot cake cupcake recipe, I should have wrote

  4. She hasn't posted it yet. (You can always use my handy custom google search to see what has been posted so far...) You should tell her to!

  5. These sound great, I'm going to make them for my vegan friend Michelle. We've also been trying to figure out how to do vegan brownies, if anyone knows how...


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