Vegan Birthday Treats: Raspberry Tiramisu Cupcakes

A colleague of mine -- who happens to be a vegan -- celebrated a birthday recently and I fully intended to make her a vegan birthday treat. But since I almost never bake vegan, it took me a while to find the right recipe, and a stack of excuses later, I delivered her some vegan cupcakes months late. But never late than never!

I decided to use a recipe for Raspberry Tiramisu Cupcakes from Chloe Coscarelli, a vegan chef who has won an episode of Food Network's Cupcake Wars. They are vanilla cupcakes filled with espresso-amaretto soaking liquid and raspberry puree, topped with tiramisu frosting.

The ingredient list for the cupcakes is straightforward: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, nondairy milk (I used almond milk), canola oil, vanilla, and vinegar. The cupcakes rose nicely in the oven although the tops were flat. Once the cupcakes were cooled, I cored them (I admit it, I spent $5 on a cupcake corer; when I first heard of this tool I thought it was ridiculous, but now that I've tried it I'm a big fan of the fantastic job it does cleanly extracting a perfect cylinder of cupcake) and spooned in an espresso soaking liquid (amaretto and instant espresso powder) followed by a raspberry filling (raspberries, sugar, vanilla, lemon, cinnamon, salt). Finally, I frosted the filled cupcakes with a tiramisu frosting (made from shortening, powdered sugar, instant espresso powder, amaretto, water, and vanilla), and garnished them with grated vegan chocolate.

The recipe doesn't indicate whether the cupcakes can be made ahead, or how they should be stored. I made them the evening before (including filling and frosting them) and I stored them at room temperature overnight. I didn't think I should refrigerate them, because I thought the shortening in the frosting might become too hard. I could see the espresso soaking liquid permeating the cupcake all the way to the bottom and so I took the precaution of putting each cupcake into a second paper liner in case the first one soaked through.

The cupcakes were fine to serve the next morning, although they required a spoon or fork because the bottom half of the cupcake was so soft from being soaked with liquid. But no matter! The cupcake itself is tender and moist, and the espresso-amaretto soaking liquid and raspberry filling were absolutely delicious. The flavor of the frosting was also very nice, although I didn't love the texture (but this problem might have been all in my head because the idea of eating what is basically sweetened shortening is just not appealing to me -- but I suppose vegans are used to this).

The flavor profile overall definitely evokes tiramisu and it is fairly boozy. If I ever make these again, I might reduce or omit the amaretto and use a little almond extract instead, just to cut back on the alcohol content a bit. But then again, most people I know have no problem with a boozy cupcake. I was very happy with the way these came out, and I don't think people would have known they were vegan if I didn't tell them. Maybe if I start planning now, I can find another vegan recipe in time for my friend's birthday next year!

Recipe: "Raspberry Tiramisu Cupcakes" by Chloe Coscarelli.


Louise said…
These look and sound great, although I'd probably have the same issue with the frosting. I'm glad you like the cake corer as I've been thinking about getting one. I make Dominican Cake in the form of cupcakes, so the pineapple filling goes into the cupcake instead of between the cake layers.