Mocha cupcakes with amaretto buttercream frosting (vegan)

Tonight I had a craving for something naughty and sweet, but there was no chocolate in the cupboards, the biscuits were all gone, and it was raining outside. Surely I had the building blocks for sweet tasty vegan comfort food?

Here’s my creation: mocha cupcakes with amaretto buttercream frosting! They were so light and fluffy and moist and tasty. Even John had two (he’s not normally as into dessert as I am)!

Luckily I have one left for tomorrow, because this recipe makes 5 cupcakes. You can always scale it up if you want more. Or make a second batch in a different flavour and let me know what your favourite is!

You will need:

For the mocha cupcakes:

  • 80 ml soya milk
  • 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 heaped Tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp coffee & chicory essence (you could use a shot of strong espresso instead)
  • 60 g flour (I used wholemeal as I didn’t have any plain in, they might have been even better with plain!)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt

For the amaretto buttercream frosting:

  • 40g vegetable margarine
  • 2 Tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp granulated brown sugar
  • 25ml amaretto liqueur (you can substitute 1 tsp almond essence if you don’t want to use alcohol or don’t have amaretto to hand)

You will also need cases to bake the cupcakes in (I used re-usable silicone ones), 2 bowls, and a piping bag/nozzle if you want to make the frosting really pretty (I just swirled it on with a spoon for these ones).

Directions for the mocha cupcakes:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

2. In one bowl combine the soya milk and vinegar, stir well and set aside. It will slightly ‘curdle’.

3. In another bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, and mix thoroughly. Sifting the ingredients at this stage would have helped, but I forgot as usual and it still came out yummy!

4. Take your milk/vinegar mix and add the golden syrup, vegetable oil, coffee & chicory essence, and vanilla extract. Combine well with a whisk or fork until the golden syrup has dissolved.

5. Add half of your flour mix and stir well. Add the second half and keep stirring until it is smooth and most lumps have been eliminated. You want it to be thick enough to stick to the spoon/whisk, without being doughy, so adjust if necessary with a little more flour or soya milk.

6. Pour your mix into the 5 cases and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes, or until a knife/skewer/cocktail stick comes out clean from the centre of the cupcakes.

7. Leave to cool completely, a cooling rack helps with this.

Directions for the amaretto buttercream frosting:

1. Combine all of your ingredients in bowl using a fork, then whisk thoroughly until stiff. This is quicker with an electric whisk, but I used a hand whisk so it is possible (though it did take ages)!

2. Leave in the fridge until your cupcakes are cool, then decorate with a swirl using either a piping bag or a spoon.

3. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat, to keep the buttercream fresh and stiff.

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