Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Vegan Experiment Day 6 - The best chocolate-cherry muffins ever! And they happen to be vegan...

Having had pretty mediocre and bad vegan cakes, muffins, ice cream and chocolates in the past days I decided to take on the challenge and make sweet baked goods that actually taste yummy and not like "the vegan version of...". Therefore I searched the internet for cakes that happen to be vegan, but were not necessarily intended to be vegan (you understand what I mean?). 
Again was the website were I was lucky to find this fantastic recipe! 

They are so dark, it's even hard to photograph them!

I modified it a bit and made probably the best chocolate-cherry muffins in the whole wide world! Seriously! I will definitely make them again. So, so good!
They are so easy and quick to prepare, and you probably have (almost) all the ingredients at home already. The dough is incredibly moist and almost creamy. 
It's rich. It's dark. It's how a good chocolate cake has to be like.
What is interesting is that, except for maybe eggs, a lot of cakes don't even need animal products like milk or butter. Don't get me wrong, I love butter. But butter  burns quicker and makes cookies, cakes & co turn out crispier. I learned that in order to get a moist and soft cake, you're better to use margarine. The best results I had so far were with oil, though.
Eggs are responsible for the density in a cake. They add flavour and color and are part of the maillard-reaction, as well. But it won't make the dough rise or anything. That's what you use the baking soda,  baking powder or yeast for. 
There can be dough without eggs.

And here is the proof!

...and they were so soft that it was tricky to remove them from the pan without having them fall apart.

All you need for the basic recipe is:
  • 2 1/4 cups (270g) organic all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (450g) organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup (120) organic unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) organic canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons organic white vinegar
  • 2 cups (480ml) cold water - I  the juice of canned morello cherries instead and added the cherries to the dough, as well.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans, or place liners in 2 muffin pans for 24 cupcakes. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the vanilla extract, oil, vinegar, and cold water.
Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix. 
The mixture will be quite wet, but this is okay.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. 
For cupcakes, the baking time is 24 to 26 minutes.
Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool. 

The ones on the top are the coffee muffins, the ones on the bottom are with cherries.
Instead of the two cups/480ml of water, you can use whatever liquid you want. This time I used cherry juice. But I also tried it with strong coffee, which turned out really good, as well.
Or how about orange, cranberry or banana juice? Or even red wine? Yum.