Day 12 of Vegan Mofo: This recipes makes me giddy. A veganized version of a lovely favorite. I was stumped as to a good birthday dessert for a very Italian co-worker whose 2 favorite desserts are Tiramisu and Lemon Cake. There are a few vegan Tiramisu recipes out there, but I really wasn't feeling up to that challenge considering I was also making a pasta dish for the potluck (sounds like overkill for a work lunch, but I always need to bring a vegan sweet and savory option for the sheer pleasure of demonstrating how feasible vegan eating is). All tangeants aside, I found a great source of inspiration on Epicurious who has a killer Lemon Buttermilk Cake recipe that is very eaily veganizable.
The crowd's reaction: "This is seriously vegan? Can I please have this recipe?" Yes and yes. The cupcakes turned out incredibly moist for what I think is probably 2 reasons. The applesauce adds a ton of moisture, and the extra tablespoon of cider vinegar makes the batter a little more wet than the original version. Regardless of the real reason, these are fabulous, light and vibrantly flavorful. The cake itself has a very subtle lemon flavor, but the frosting...oh the frosting. It could be eaten (and maybe was eaten) by itself. Tanti auguri e buon appetito!
Lemon Cupcakes with Sliced Strawberries
Makes: 24 cupcakes
Total prep time: 2 hours with cooling
For the Cupcakes
1 1/2 c. almond or soy milk + 1 T. cider vinegar
1 3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. Earth Balance, room temperature
2 T. grated lemon peel
3/4 c. applesauce
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 c.cake flour (or all purpose)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
For the Frosting
12 oz. Tofutti cream cheese, room temperature
2 T. Earth Balance, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 T. lemon juice
2 tsp finely grated lemon peel
1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced
* For a thicker frosting, use lemonade concentrate (thawed) and decrease the fresh lemon peel.
For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray and flour muffin tins/cupcake pans or spray the lined paper cups.
Whisk vinegar and almond/soy milk together in a small bowl. Set aside to curdle while you prepare the other ingredients. In a separate large bowl, beat the sugar, Earth Balance and lemon peel. Add applesauce and lemon juice and beat until well blended. In a third bowl, sift flour, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet mixture alternately with curdled milk until batter is smooth.
Divide batter among tins or cups. Bake until tester inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to racks and cool 30-45 minutes.
For the frosting: Beat Tofutti and Earth Balance in large bowl until completely blended. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in lemonade concentrate or lemon juice and lemon peel.
To assemble: Top each cupcake with 1-2 tablespoons of frosting and 2-3 slices of fresh strawberries.