Chocolate and Cherry is a great mix and somehow Cherries seem festive to me; a great combination for a Vegan Christmas Cupcake. Lots of recipes that call for fruit use jam; personally I don't as you don't get nice chunks of fruit. I prefer to chop them up and boil them with a bit of sugar and geletine. It really keeps the fruity flavour and adds so much more to the cupcake than just a bit of jam!
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp chocolate essence
1/3 cup Moo Free chocolate chips (or any other dairy free variety you like)
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cider vinegar
6 tbs melted soya or sunflower margarine (I use Pure)
1 cup non-dairy milk (I use Rice Dream as we're not good with Soya)
I couldn't be bothered to pit fresh cherries and also they are expensive at this time of year. So I grabbed a tin of stoned black cherries instead.
1 tin of cherries
1/8 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup cherry juice from tin
1 tsp Agar flakes
Throw the cherries, sugar, vanilla and cherry juice in a pan and bring to a low simmer. Sprinkle the Agar flakes on top and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes. I then grabbed a potato masher and broke down the cherries a bit.
Preheat oven to 350°F, 180°C
Line your muffin tin so you are ready to go when the batter is done.
Sift flour, sugar, soda, baking powder and cocoa into a bowl and give it a good mix to incorporate. Then add the vanilla, chocolate essence, vinegar, and and melted margarine. Briefly mix. Add in the non diary milk and mix. Then mix in the cherries with a spoon just to incorporate. It makes quite a runny looking batter but don't worry!
Fill the cases 2/3rd full. You don't want cupcakes that swell up over the top in a dome; you want them to rise to just under the top the of the case.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick come out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then move to a wire rack to completely cool.
This is the fun bit.
First off make up some vanilla vegan buttercream frosting:
Using a small blunt knife spread the frosting onto the cupcake to make a flat surface.
I purchased White Royal Icing from Waitrose.
Take about a third of a pack of Royal Icing and roll it out on a board. Make sure to sprinkle your board with icing sugar and rub some on your rolling pin before starting. Roll out to 2 or 3 mm depending on your preference. Use a cookie cutter that is a bit small then the size of the cupcake and cut out circles that will go on top.
I then used Red Lustre spray to decorate the discs. When spraying, lay the circles onto parchment paper so that you can just roll it up and throw it out rather than having to clean your surfaces of Red Lustre Spray (which, I can attest to, is a pain).
Then grab some more Royal Icing - cut an inch off the slab - and mix with a few drops of green food colouring. You need to kned it in. This is messy and your hands will get a bit green. You'll have a ball of green icing.
Roll it out and cut out the tree shapes using a cookie cutter.
Then grab some edible green glitter. Mix with a little clear alcohol (I raided the booze cabinet and used mango vodka!). You are looking for a painting consistency. Then using a small paintbrush paint the glitter onto your trees.
Then dab a bit of edible glue onto the red disk and carefully place your tree on top. Then using a fish slice pick up the disc and put it onto the cupcake. With your fingers gently tap the edges of the disc down so it attaches to the buttercream.
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