Thursday, April 26, 2012

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Spiced Rum Frosting

On Monday, Simon and I were lucky enough to attend a 2.5 hour vegan baking class.  The class was led by Doron Petersan, founding owner of Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats (Washington D.C.'s best vegan bakery...for now).  She has a new baking book out, which is definitely worth checking out.

We made s'mores brownies and her Cupcake Wars-winning cupcakes during the class.  I wasn't overwhelmed by the actual class, but all that matters is that everything we made tasted incredible.  Here's the recipe for the cupcakes.

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Spiced Rum Frosting

Brown Sugar Cupcakes
  • 9 ounces brown sugar
  • 4 ounces vegan butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons Ener-G Egg-Replacer Powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar (apple cider vinegar is best)

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the brown sugar and the butter for about 5 minutes, progressing from low to high speed and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl throughout.  In a small bowl, whisk together the egg-replacer powder, water, and vanilla until the powder dissolves.  Add the egg-replacer mixer to the sugar mixture and mix until combined.  In a separate small bowl, combine the soymilk and vinegar, stir, and set aside. 

Next, slowly add the dry ingredients and the soymilk to the sugar mixture in small batches, alternating between the two and ending by mixing in the soymilk.  Be sure to scrape down the side of the bowl as you mix.

Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop (or, I use a small measuring cup), fill the cupcake liners 3/4-full with batter and bake for 19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.  

Spiced Rum Frosting

(NOTE: Doron explained that her frosting recipes mistakenly make way more frosting than needed, so you might want to halve this recipe to match the number of cupcakes made with the recipe above).  
  • 8 ounces vegan shortening
  • 8 ounces vegan butter
  • 1 pound 8 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup dark rum

Whip together the shortening and butter using an electric mixer until completely combined, scraping down the bottom of the bowl periodically to ensure that the ingredients are mixed thoroughly.  Then, on low speed, slowly add the sugar and spices in a few increments, scraping down the bowl throughout.  Add the rum on low speed and mix to combine.  Bring the speed up to medium-high and mix until all ingredients are well combined and the frosting is fluffy (about 2 minutes).

Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!

These were wonderful.  The frosting was light and fluffy and had a perfect amount of cinnamon-spice.  You know it's good when you find yourself scraping cupcake remnants off of the cupcake liner...
A few of these ingredients are difficult to find, unless you're shopping at Whole Foods.  Ener-G Egg-Replacer Powder comes in a pretty large box, though, so you can use it for months in the future.  Doron recommends Earth Balance shortening and "buttery sticks," which I've only found at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.  That said, I really like Earth Balance products: they come in sticks (rather than tubs), which makes measuring much easier.  
 Ease of Preparation:    
There's nothing fancy about this recipe.  Making frosting is an exercise in patience, though because obtaining a fluffy frosting requires a fair amount of mixing; but, luckily electric mixers do most of the work. 
Non-Vegan friendliness:     
I brought some of these cupcakes into work on Tuesday and everyone loved them!


  1. Great blog! I saw a CNN blog that mentioned you wrote a thesis on vegan bakeries. Is this available online anywhere?

    1. Thank you. Yes, my thesis was called "(Not Quite) as American as Apple Pie: An Ethnographic Study of the Place of Vegan Dessert Shops in American Culture." It's not available online, but you could potentially order a copy here: