Vegan Almond-Raspberry-Chocolate Cupcakes ~ The Story Behind the Recipe

Raquel StecherAbout Me
Blogger at Thoughtful Eating and Vintage Brand New. Please add my to your circles.

I thought it would be good idea to provide some background on the creation of this dessert before I give you the actual recipe. In the first of this two-part post, I will give you a bit of the history behind the dessert. It's a good way to build up anticipation for when I post the real recipe.

Some months ago, I found myself drooling over Smitten Kitchen's recipe for Almond Raspberry Layer Cake. If you are familiar with Smitten Kitchen, you know that it is written by an expert baker who happens to have some serious photography skills. I spent a good twenty minutes just salivating over the images of this cake. I really wanted to make it  but a few things were going against me though. First of all, I don't own any cake pans. Second of all, I'm horrible at any baking that requires delicacy or precision. Third of all, I have no way of transporting a cake to potential guinea pigs, thus forcing myself to eat the whole thing myself or to throw most of it away. So after evaluating my various obstacles, I decided to make this a cupcake instead because 1) cupcakes are easy 2) I have muffin/cupcake tins 3) I have tupperware suitable for transporting said cupcakes.

Turning the cake into a cupcake was challenge enough, but I wanted to do something to make them extra special, extra unique; in other words, I wanted to make this recipe mine. After reading the excellent vegan blog Strawberry Hedgehog, I had started making vegan cupcakes. At first I just made chocolate-hazelnut cupcakes with Ghiradelli's Chocolate Hazelnut hot cocoa mix (which is vegan friendly). Then I made vanilla vegan cupcakes with strawberry filling, which were only partially vegan because the strawberry jam had gelatin instead of vegan-friendly pectin. To replace the eggs in the cupcakes, I use the curdled soymilk method and to which there is a formula.

2 eggs = 1/2 cup of vanilla soymilk + 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinger

When I made my first batch of vegan cupcakes, they were so incredibly light and moist and delicious that I stopped making non-vegan cupcakes altogether.

So why did I make vegan cupcakes to begin with? My friend Gina went vegan a couple of years ago after years of being just vegetarian. Whenever there was a function in which friends were bringing food, I tried to bring some vegan-friendly dessert so that Gina wouldn't be left out (who likes to be left out? I know I don't!). This past Fourth of July, Gina threw a potluck party at her place and I thought that the event would be a good opportunity to debut the Vegan Almond-Raspberry-Chocolate cupcakes. If anything, there would be lots of willing guinea pigs to try out the dessert.

I had to make sure that the three main elements in this dessert were all vegan friendly. I like to use PETA's listing of "accidentally vegan" products because they list brand names and they have a baking section! It's not surprising that a lot of products on the market are accidentally vegan because I'm sure company's cut costs by taking out animal products which I'm sure are more expensive than vegetable-based products. I was worried about the chocolate frosting for the cupcakes, but luckily Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Frosting in Chocolate was on the list! Almond Extract would be no problem since it's also vegan friendly. It was difficult to find seedless Raspberry jam without gelatin in the regular grocery store but my favorite high-end produce market Wilson Farms carried their own brand of pectin raspberry jam! So once I had all the main elements together, I was in business!

Next up: The Recipe!

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