Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cookbook - Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

I’ve always had a thing for cupcakes. Far less scary than baking a cake, you feel like you’ve achieved so much more (it’s like twelve mini cakes!) and can cover any mistakes with so much less (just a little icing covers all…).  So when I bought Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s wee book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule I was very excited to help the little bite sized treats do just that - making myself look fantastically skillful in the process.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule
When it comes to me and vegan cookbooks there are a couple of things that make all the difference in whether a book becomes either a battered favourite or an untouched addition to my bookshelf.  Firstly, I love pictures - lovely, coloured, glossy pictures.  We’re not living in the 80s anymore, where a sketch of a scone will do the trick – it's all about high definition colour to get me in the baking mood!

Once I'm in that mood attention turns to the recipes themselves - simple steps for a simple girl, nothing to complicated or hard to read and I'm all over it.  And lastly I look at the ingredients - if I have to go gallivanting around for weird ingredients that end up costing a small fortune, the book has a very short life span.

So how does Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World stack up?  When it comes to lovely, glossy pictures, this book is truly a winner.  Nearly every recipe comes with a fabulous shot of what your cupcake should look like -  as opposed to what most of mine turn out like (I’m not so handy with a piping bag…).  The recipes themselves are well laid out with witty little intros, a trademark of the two Brooklyn culinary queens, and handy hints litter the pages, delightfully called ‘sprinkles’ (Queue: awwwww).  

A definite plus for my scale-hating self, all the measurements are in spoons or cups, and while the temperatures are in Fahrenheit, you thankfully only need to remember one.   The girls have really done very well at making the whole book look as pretty as one of their cupcakes, but do the recipes themselves cut the mustard?

Currently munching my way through the many pretty pages of this book – halfway in, my answer is a resounding yes.  With about half a dozen recipes now part of my official cupcake rotation, the Carrot Cake Cupcakes, Gingerbread Cupcakes and the little peanut butter number lurking in the middle (pictured below – looking rather fabulous, if I do say so myself) are definitely worth buying the book for alone.  High on my list to try next are the rather delectable sounding Mucho Margarita Cupcakes, as well as the Toasted Coconut Cupcakes, which I’m going to tackle just as soon as I find out where to buy coconut oil….  

Which brings me to the only, somewhat minor, niggle I have with this book – weird ingredients.  Certainly not as bad as other books I’ve seen, some of the more interesting cupcakes sadly call for things I just can’t seem to find.  Coming from Brooklyn, with the population of a small country, finding things like agar flakes and matcha tea powder is probably not a hassle for the authors, whereas myself, currently living in a small city in Ireland, these such things just don’t exist (or are out there somewhere but I’m too lazy to find them…probably the latter).

Overall though this is a wee gem of a book - smudged and smeared with all sorts at this stage, it takes pride of place in my collection and, even if vegan cupcakes eventually don’t take over the world, they certainly make me look good at parties – and in the end, isn’t that what really matters!?    


  1. Heya! Stumbled upon your very cute blog via Cork Vegans. Like you, I'm engaged to an Irish fella (though, he is vegan).

    If you are looking for coconut oil, I think you could also use plain coconut fat and simply melt it over gentle heat.

    I know agar agar isn't a really common thing in Ireland, but ye do have the Irish moss (also known as carrageen moss). It's also a seaweed jellyfying (<- is that a word, even?) agent.

  2. Hey Aoibhe! Thanks heaps for the tips!

    I was asking my Irish other half today if he had heard of carageen moss, to which he replied ‘euh that's awful stuff!’.

    We are moving up to Galway in a few weeks, back to where he is from, and apparently the place is riddled with it. Might explain the reaction. Traumatic childhood experience...force fed it as a child perhaps!

    I'm sure he's never tried it hidden in a delicious cupcake though, I look forward to getting my hands on some!