So, I’ll be the first to admit that these are probably the most involved cupcakes out there. I’ll also be the first to admit that cupcakes are SO 2008, but bear with me ok? These are some of the tastiest vegan cakes I’ve ever made. They feel super grown-up because the chocolate flavour of the sponge and the dip is quite bitter – not sweet. The peanut butter frosting is satisfyingly smooth and that caramel in the centre is just such a treat.
Give yourself lots of time and space to make them – these shouldn’t be rushed – and even if you’re serving them to guests, make sure you slice them in half. That cross-section is SO WORTH IT!
Makes 6 cupcakes
For the Cakes
175g oat milk
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
40g dark cocoa powder
1 tsp freeze dried espresso powder (or a good, strong instant coffee)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
165g caster sugar
50g vegan butter (I use “baking block”)
For the Peanut Butter Caramel Filling
60g caster sugar
60g coconut cream (the solid white stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk)
30g vegan butter
60g smooth peanut butter
For the Peanut Butter Frosting
75g vegan butter
50g smooth peanut butter
200g icing sugar
3 tbsp oat milk
For the Dark Chocolate Dip
200g vegan dark chocolate (make sure its over 75% cacao)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
To Make the Cakes
Preheat the oven to 180c. Line a cupcake tray with paper cupcake cases.
In a small bowl combine the oat milk with the apple cider vinegar. Give it a quick whisk and set aside to thicken.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed until soft and fluffy (around 5 minutes). Add half of the oat milk mixture and beat to combine. Add half of the flour mixture and beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl afterwards. Add the remaining half of the oat milk mixture, beat to combine, followed by the rest of the flour mixture. Divide the batter between 6 cupcake cases. Tap the tray gently on the counter to release any air bubbles and place in the oven for 20 minutes. The cakes should be smooth and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. While they’re cooling make the caramel filling.
To Make the Caramel Filling
Measure out all the ingredients – you’ll need to have them ready for when your sugar is caramelised.
Place the caster sugar in a small dry saucepan and place over medium/low heat. Using a silicone spatula, stir the sugar constantly until it begins to dissolve. Once the sugar is completely liquid and has taken on a nice caramel colour (just a few minutes), remove the pan form the heat and immediately add the coconut cream (CAUTION, the caramel will spit and splutter, so keep your hands clear).
Once the caramel has stopped spitting, add the vegan butter and stir well until you have a nice smooth, rather translucent caramel sauce. Leave to cool for five minutes before adding your peanut butter and a pinch of flaky sea salt. Stir until the peanut butter is fully melted into the caramel. Allow to cool completely. Once cooled, place the caramel into a piping bag and set aside.
To Make the Frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and peanut butter together on high speed until fully combined and smooth. Reduce the speed to low and add the icing sugar. Beat until combined and then turn speed up to high until you have a nice smooth mix. Gradually, add the oat milk a tbsp at a time until the frosting reaches your desired texture. You may not need the full three tbsp.
To Make the Chocolate Dip
In a small saucepan over very low heat, combine the chocolate and the oil. Stirring constantly, heat just until the chocolate has fully melted. Pour into a glass which is just wide enough to accommodate the rim of your cupcake (we’re going to be dunking the frosting and the top of the cupcake into the chocolate).
Once the cakes are fully cooled, use a piping nozzle which is around 2cm wide to remove a cylinder from the top of each cake. Note: don’t cut a shaft right the way through the cake. You only want to go about half the way through the depth of the cake (see the cross-section photo above).
Using the piping bag of caramel, fill the hole you’ve made in each cake. Wet your finger and flatten the top of the caramel flush with the top of the cake.
Next, piping in a circular motion, top each cupcake with the frosting. Once all cakes are frosted, turn upside down and dip directy into the chocolate sauce, all the way up to the top of the cake. Turn right-way up and place on a cooling rack. Once all cakes have been dunked, place them all in the fridge to set. Once the chocolate is set, they’re good to serve!