Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World Review

I've spent this month devoted to experimenting with the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I've had some very tasty adventures, so let's recap!

Prior to starting lizz delicious, I had made two recipes since Chris received this book for her birthday. The recipe for vanilla cupcakes was a tad spongy and I think Chris added too much lemon extract to the batter. They were all right. The other recipe we tried was the one for gluten-free cupcakes, which was a lot better than I expected. I used rice and corn flours which made the cupcakes a bit gritty, but it was still a very positive experience.

This month, I tried the recipes for "Carrot Cake", "Peanut Butter", and "Chocolate" cupcakes. The peanut butter ones were the most popular ones among my co-workers, but I liked the chocolate ones the best.

One of the things I like most about this book is that it has plenty of beautifully detailed pictures. There aren't photos of everything, but there are enough that you get the point. In addition to traditional cupcake and frosting flavors, there are additional chapters devoted to fancy and extravagant cupcake endeavors (like ones that are filled). There's even a recipe that uses beer as an ingredient. Some of the recipes I'd like to try in the future include "Mucho Margarita Cupcakes", "Brooklyn Brownie Cupcakes", and "Gingerbread Cupcakes".

Some of my Google+ friends have had trouble with some of these recipes, but I can't say with any certainty that I've had disasters with any of them. Did the vanilla or gluten-free cupcakes I made taste exactly like their non-vegan counterparts? No, but they weren't terrible by any stretch of the imagination. The other recipes I've tried are truly different than those that use eggs and milk (in terms of texture more than anything) but that doesn't change the fact that they're delicious.

One thing I would recommend while using this book, though, is to gauge your sweetness level as you're making the frosting recipes. As I mentioned in one review, I used far less sugar in the recipe for peanut butter buttercream than was directed and it was still very sugary. Delicious, but man, SWEET.

I would definitely recommend this book for the vegan with little baking experience. What's great about this book is that you don't have to worry about substituting ingredients. You follow the instructions and you're pretty much guaranteed to have success. Sometimes using egg replacer when converting a non-vegan recipe makes the exterior too hard. Other times, using margarine instead of butter dramatically changes a recipe's flavor or density. If you're new to vegan baking or haven't had much success in the past, it really is imperative that you use a vegan cookbook until you know how different ingredients will behave in different recipes.

While I like this cookbook relatively well, I absolutely LOVE the author's follow up Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I have had nothing but wonderful, spasma-delicious successes from the recipes in that book. Highly recommended!

I'm taking a break from sweets and desserts during February. Join me as I cook from the Welcoming Kitchen.

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