Monday, January 3, 2011

Maple Cupcakes with Creamy Maple Frosting and Sugared Walnuts

The Maple Walnut Cupcakes were the first to be chosen to be featured in our Third Annual Vegan Holiday Dinner! After the first round of cupcake testing, this recipe was the only one to survive the first elimination (one got cut; the other two were placed on the maybe list... See this post to read about the challenge!)

Maple Cupcakes with Creamy Maple Frosting and Sugared Walnuts
This recipe calls for candying the walnuts before using in the recipes. Alternatively, the walnuts could just be toasted and used as is.

½ cup soy milk
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup maple syrup
⅓ cup canola oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 ¼ tsp maple extract
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sugared walnuts (recipe below), finely chopped (measure first, then chop)
creamy maple frosting (recipe below)

For the Sugared Walnuts:
1 cup walnut halves
⅓ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
dash salt
dash ground cinnamon

-To make the sugared walnuts:
1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Open oven and shake the pan after about 4 minutes. Watch carefully so as not to burn! Remove from oven and place in a bowl to cool. Lightly grease a large piece of parchment paper and have it ready because you will need it at the end of the next step.
2. Pour sugar, maple syrup, and salt into a large, cold, heavy-bottom skillet. Turn heat to medium and stir with a wooden spoon till sugar starts to melt and bubble, about 5 minutes. Continue stirring and cook another 3 to 4 minutes until mixture is thick, amber-brown, and smells like caramel. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the walnuts and cinnamon, stirring to coat each nut. Immediately spread coated walnuts on greased parchment paper, using a spatula to spread out the nuts and avoid forming large clusters. Allow to cool completely on sheet before handling or eating.

-To make cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for mini cupcakes). Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl; set aside and allow to curdle 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, and vanilla, and maple extract into the soy milk mixture. Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour into wet ingredients, stirring till large lumps are gone; fold in chopped sugared walnuts. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way. Bake 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. Frost with Creamy Maple Frosting and sprinkle with sugared walnuts.

Creamy Maple Frosting
⅔ cup maple syrup
¾ cup margarine, softened
⅔ cup soy milk powder
1 tsp maple extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat together the softened margarine and maple syrup. It might look a little curdly but that’s ok. Beat in the vanilla and the maple extract, then slowly add soy milk powder a little bit at a time. The frosting should be creamy and fluffy. If it looks too wet, add a little more soy milk powder. If too stiff, drizzle in a little more maple syrup. The frosting can be stored in fridge until ready to use; just allow to sit at room temperature 10 minutes to soften.

This recipe came from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

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