Thursday 27 September 2018

Vegan/Gluten-free/Dairy-Free "Bakewell Tart" Cupcakes

A very late entry into the wedding menu. I've looked at doing vegan stuff before, however the big blocker has always been something to replace egg. Butter is simple, you can get high-fat percentage baking margarine, or if you're feeling whacky various other plant-based fats and oils. I already have some gluten-free flour (OK, not a vegan requirement, but if you're going to suck the fun out of something, why not go full bore?), and if you need milk or cream there are again plant-basd alternatives (almond milk, soy milk...all disgusting, but will do).

So egg? Last weekend I read about something called aquafaba, which apparently is some sort of new (new'ish, "discovered in 2014 apparently, but gaining in poularity) which has the properties of egg whites. It turns out this mystical ingredient is the gloopy water you normally drain away when you open a tin of chick peas. There are plenty of people out there making meringues, macarons, cakes and all sorts with last night I jumped in, with a plan for a vegan cupcake that used aquafaba as a straight egg swap...

...and it was a disaster. The cake mixture never set, it was just a soggy mess, and quickly consigned to the bin. I had a bit of a think, and had another shot, only this time whipping up the aquafaba into a meringue, before folding in the dry ingredients (my theory was that this would lead to a dryer mix, as the moisture was already locked away in the meringue structure). This did indeed work much better, though I didn't get the cooking times right (after the initial run was so grim, I went too high for the second batch, treating it more like a fatless sponge), so the outside was too crispy. I'll give it another shot with the following tweaks;

1) More mixture per cupcake. This had ~40g/case, and they were a little small. 55-60g would be better for a good sized cake. This will require more mixture (I had maybe 50-80g left with this batch)
2) Lower temperature and longer baking time. This one was 200'C/12 minutes, and I think I'd like to try my normal 150'C/20 minutes
3) Swap some flour for ground almond. I had done this in the disaster batch, but went full flour for round 2 to give me a better shot at success.

Vegan "Bakewell Tart" Cupcakes

  • Pre-heat Oven to 200'C (next time try 150'C)
  • Prepare a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases

Sponge Ingredients

  • 1 tin of chick peas
  • 175g caster sugar
  • ½tsp cream of tartar
  • 175g gluten free flour (next time swap 1/3rd of this for ground almond)
  • 2tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 75g baking margarine
  • 1tsp almonds essence
  • Raspberry jam (to fill) - I prefer seedless
Note-  need to increase all ingredients by ~30% for larger cakes

1) Drain the ckickpeas, and put the drained water (aquafaba, should get 150-155g of the stuff) in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment

2) Begin to whisk, and slowly add the sugar and cream of tartar. It wil take a while, but it will begin to form a meringue.

3) Whip until stiff, glossy peaks are formed

4) Sieve together the flour and baking powder (and if used, the ground almond)

5) Fold the flour mixture and the almond essence into the meringue in quarters, ensuring no dry pockets.

6) Melt the margarine in a small pot, and leave to cool slightly

7) Pour the melted margarine aroudn the edge of the bowl, and carefully fold in.

8) Spoon 40g of the mixture (next time 55-60g) into each cupcake case

9) Bake in the oven for 10 minutes (for 150'C try 20 minutes)

10) Remove to a wire rack to cool. Turn the oven down to 170'C

11) Once cool, use a cupcake corer to remove a chunk from each cake.

12) Add a dollop of raspberry jam into the hole, and replace the core


  • 150g baking margarine (room temperature)
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1tsp Almond Essence
  • Almond Milk
  • Flaked Almonds
  • Fresh Raspberrries
1) Place the flaked almonds on a baking tray, and place in the oven for 5-6 minutes to toast them

2) Place the margarine and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and beat until soft and fluffy.

3) Add the almond essense and continue to beat. If a little stiff, add a splash of almond milk to soften, but be sparing.

4) Put the buttercream in a piping bag with a semi-closed star nozzle, and pipe a swirl onto each cake

5) Sprinkle with the toasted almonds, and then press a raspberry into each cake to finish