When my housemate went away on holidays and left me her three almost black bananas, I was delighted. I haven’t baked in a few weeks and I can honestly say that I had been eyeing off those not-so-pretty bananas for days.
A couple of months ago now I bought a cookbook that I had heard an awful lot of good things about, especially on the blogosphere, Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way.
I own plenty of vegetarian cookbooks but as I am not actually vegan, this was my first vegan cookbook and I had been meaning to try out one of the recipes for ages but somehow, hadn’t yet got around to it. Thank goodness for black bananas! With the banana cupcakes I made a little while ago proving to be quite popular, I thought I would put them up against a vegan variation.
I followed Chloe’s recipe pretty closely so to avoid copyright issues, won’t print it but if you own the book, the only changes I made were using sunflower oil instead of canola and leaving out the cloves because I didn’t have any. (And if you don’t own the book, then sort that out because it’s fantastic and everything looks so delicious!)
Chloe’s cupcakes are topped with lemon icing but as I didn’t have any lemons (and it was a rainy Sunday so I didn’t feel like venturing out of the house to buy any), I made vanilla icing instead. The recipe for the icing was one I kind of made up from a mixture of different recipes I found online, so I’ll let you in on that one.
Vegan Vanilla Icing
Ices 12-15 cupcakes
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
5-6 drops food colouring (optional – I used yellow)
In medium bowl, mix all ingredients until well combined. Leave to stand for 15 minutes before using on cakes, as mixture will thicken in bowl. Spread thin layer over cakes and if using cake decorations (I used sugar stars), add these before icing ‘sets’.
The icing was a little runnier than I would have liked so the cupcakes aren’t too pretty but as they were made to use up bananas and not for any special occasion, and because the vanilla icing tastes pretty good, I don’t really mind. The vanilla worked well with the banana cake and the coconut was a subtle but tasty touch. If coconut is not your thing, you could substitute it with soy, almond or rice milk to keep it vegan.
In my humble opinion, these cupcakes were divine. Lighter and fluffier then their non-vegan counterparts, yet still soft and moist as good baked goods should be! To truly decide which cupcakes I prefer, I am going to have to make the two recipes at one time and taste-test them side by side. What a chore…