I have never had a cupcake better than those from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I'm serious - not only will your cupcakes be beautifully party-ready, as soon as anyone takes a bite, all you will hear is "mmmmhmmm." I took the Coconut Lime Cupcakes (pg. 107) to a faculty luncheon at my school, and everyone went crazy for them. The best thing about this book is that the cupcakes are made to impress in both design and flavor. This is probably my #1 favorite cookbook, and it should be a staple on every dessert-lover's shelf.
The recipes are simple and delicious. Many of the recipes use similar ingredients, so once you purchase those staples, you're good to go for a variety of different recipes. Admittedly, some of the ingredients are not going to be in your pantry to begin with, but I've had no trouble finding them at Earth Fare. If you've got a health food store in your area, you're golden, but even if you don't, many of the odder ingredients can be substituted for something else.
I turned to this book again when I was put in charge of my friend's bridal shower. To the left is my favorite so far - the Mucho Margarita Cupcake. I did them in a hurry, so they look a mess, but they were amazing. Something about the salt in the icing just works with the sweetness of the cupcake and the flavor of the tequila; plus, they've got just the right amount of novelty for Cinco de Mayo or a 21st birthday party. I especially love the colorful rim of sugar around the edge! I also made Green Tea Cupcakes with Green Tea Glaze and Almond Flowers (on the right). They looked so lovely, especially for a bridal shower, but the flavor was so-so. Part of that was my fault - the recipe called for matcha green tea powder, which I couldn't find anywhere, so I used regular green tea powder instead. Big mistake. The cupcakes turned golden brown instead of light green, and they tasted like fake sweetener. I wouldn't recommend this recipe because the ingredients are a pain to find, and it calls for a lot of things most people don't have in the pantry and will never use again (I'm looking at you, $6 tube of vegan marzipan!).
Another of my favorites is the Crimson Velvet Cupcakes with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting. Here is my recipe (adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World):
1 C Almond Milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 C whole wheat flour
1 C sugar
1 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C canola oil
1 tbs red food coloring (make sure it does not contain carmine)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp Chocolate Almondine flavor (or similar chocolate flavoring)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tin.
2. Mix the almond milk and vinegar in a medium bowl - you'll use this later.
3. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the almond milk concoction.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing well. Add more food coloring if necessary, though I don't care for an overly red cake.
6. Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake 20-22 minutes, depending on your oven. They took 22 minutes in mine. Cool completely.
1/4 C Earth Balance
1/2 C Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese
2 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1. Combine all ingredients using a mixer. Make sure the Earth Balance and cream cheese are at room temperature before mixing.
2. Place frosting in the refrigerator to cool.
3. Pipe onto cupcakes.