I made these cupcakes for my sister -- henceforth referred to as "The Athlete." The Athlete's birthday was a few weeks ago, but I was sick as a dog and didn't want to mail her a package of germy cakes. (Happy Birthday! Here's a cold!) The Athlete doesn't really get into dessert. Mostly she just likes junk food. However, growing up, she would make a regular request for "dirt cake" -- that famed Oreo cookie/chocolate pudding/Cool Whip potluck classic. She still likes Oreos, so I thought cookies and cream cupcakes would be a nice surprise for her first birthday away from home. (Maybe not so much a surprise since I'm announcing it here before the package arrives at her dorm. Oh well.)
If you like to bake, and especially if you like to bake cupcakes, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskawitz and Terry Hope Romero is a must-own book. The writing is humorous, the pictures are appetizing, and, most importantly, the recipes yield no-fail, delicious cupcake treats. One of my favorite parts of the book is a short section in the front called "Cupcakes from A to Z," which gives a cupcakism for every letter of the alphabet. This cupcakism is brought to you by Isa, Terry, and the letter "B":
[Cupcakes are] blogworthy. A surefire way to get people to look at your blog is by posting pictures of cupcakes. No one wants to hear about your terrible day at the office or what you think of China's space program. They want to see pictures of cupcakes. Trust us.
In keeping with this principle, I won't tell you about my unpleasant weekend and I don't have any thoughts about China's space program, so I certainly don't have to worry about boring you with those. Instead, I'll just share my thoughts on this cookies and cream cupcake, which uses the basic chocolate cupcake recipe from VCTOTW. The coworkers raved about these, even going so far as to call them heavenly. With respect to the frosting, I'll definitely agree. You can't get more cookies-n-cream than this, and it is very, very tasty. I wasn't quite as crazy about the cake. It is moist and rises nicely, but it didn't have enough chocolate flavor for me. It was dark, but not chocolatey -- does that make sense? (No one else thought that, though, so I'm probably in the minority.) Chocolatey or not, the cake isn't overly sweet, so it pairs well with this frosting. We'll see what The Athlete has to say about it.
Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskawitz and Terry Hope Romero1 cup light vanilla soy milk
Yields 12 regular cupcakes
Yields 12 regular cupcakes
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup crushed chocolate sandwich cookies*
Yields about 2 cups
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 cup light vanilla soy milk
3/4 cup crushed chocolate sandwich cookies
To make the cakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Add the milk and vinegar to the bowl of an electric mixer; allow it to sit for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract to the bowl and mix until foamy. Add the flour mixture in two additions and beat until no large lumps remain. Stir in the crushed cookies.
Fill your cupcake containers of choice about 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
To make the frosting:
Beat the butter until smooth. Add the milk, vanilla, and half the sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining sugar and beat until smooth. Stir in the crushed cookies.
* If you buy the mini Oreos, you can crush them right in the bag they come in. Pretty handy.