It has not gone unnoticed that most of the recipes I have posted recently have been sweet rather that savoury. This really isn't just that we only eat cakes and biscuits I promise! When it come to vegan and gluten free cooking I have always found it much easier to make savoury recipes that taste great. After all so many savoury ingredients are naturally suitable for our diet, think veggies, rice, beans, corn, nuts, quinoa. The list goes on. Rest assured I am working on lots of delicious savoury family recipes to share.
When you come to sweet baking however there are always a lot of ingredients in conventional recipes that need replacing. Baking is a pretty exact science and once you've swapped eggs for flax eggs, butter for oil or dairy free spread and flour for a gluten free mix it's easy to have a disaster on your hands.
Having tried many, many recipes that have not quite been as perfect as I would have hoped, I now have my staple repertoire of favourites that get used again and again. I don't want people to taste my baking and think "this is good for a vegan/gluten free cake'. I want them to just think, this is a great bake. Never is this more important that when cooking for people outside of our family. My children's tastes have adapted over the years and we eat a lot more 'healthy' sweet treats at home but there are times a cake needs to taste like 'real' cake.
This week my daughter came home from school with a homework project to make 8 cakes for a bake sale. How fabulous. Her school is raising money to support an organisation called Digantar who run educational programmes in rural areas in India and each child was encouraged to take along a cake donation to school.
We thought this would be a fun opportunity to make some delicious chocolate orange cupcakes. (One of my favourite flavour combinations). She baked these mostly herself under my guidance and I have to say I was very impressed.
They are soft and moist cupcakes with a delicious icing you could use eat by the spoonful. The cakes are based on a Jamie Oliver vegan chocolate cake recipe and the icing is an orange twist on my favourite chocolate buttercream from the Primrose Bakery cookbook.
Be warned these are very moorish, indulgent and not in any way healthy. Perfect for the run up to Christmas!
Ingredients (makes 16)
- 300g dairy free butter (I used Stork for baking)
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 200g soya yoghurt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 300g plain gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm)
- 2 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 70g cocoa powder
- 6 tbsp non dairy milk
- 225g dairy free butter (I used Stork for baking)
- 175g dark chocolate (melted either over a bain-marie or in a microwave)
- 250g icing sugar
- Grated zest of 1 orange
1. Preheat oven to 180 ºC.
2. Cream together the margarine and sugar until soft and fluffy
3. Add the yoghurt and vanilla and continue to mix.
4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a bowl.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet.
6. Finally add the non dairy milk and stir well to combine.
7. Spoon the mixture into cupcake or muffin cases.
8. Bake for 15 minutes until risen. (If using small cases and making more cakes you may need to check them at about 12 minutes)
9. Leave to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before icing.
10. To make the chocolate buttercream first melt the chocolate carefully over a bain-marie or in a microwave then leave to cool slightly.
11. Beat together the dairy free butter, orange zest and icing sugar until smooth and well combined.
12. Add the melted chocolate and continue to beat well. the buttercream will thicken on cooling firther.
13. Ice the cupcakes with the buttercream using a palette knife or piping bag and top with more grated orange zest as required.