Let’s Procrastinate S’more Vegan Cupcakes

S'more Please

I love to bake.

I love to bake so much that I included “vegan baking” in the Match.com profile that led my husband to me.

Baked desserts are one of the few things I can count on that will please my step-sons’ palates, because, you know, who doesn’t love desserts filled with fat and sugar, even if they are vegan!

Despite this, my birthday cakes and cupcakes usually get a “D” for Disaster. In the world of birthday baking, that “D” falls below an “F” for Fail. Well, well below.

The problem is that I procrastinate. I never leave enough time to do it right.

Just a few patharious* examples:

For my daughter’s fourth birthday, I mixed up a batch of my favorite, reliable, vegan, baking-soda-and-vinegar chocolate cake recipe. I poured the batter into the cute (but shallow) pony-shaped pan we’d gotten at Ikea. As the cake mix did its magical vinegar-and-baking-soda chemical reaction, it rose and rose and rose and rose and started bubbling over. The batter dripped  in a perfect pony-shape all over the bottom of the oven:

And then it started burning. The three smoke detectors in our tiny condo sounded the alarm. “It’s a cake disaster! It’s a cake disaster!” we yelled and giggled.

Needless to say, we bought a cake from the store for her birthday.

I didn’t even attempt to bake a cake for her fifth birthday–that was the afternoon we were bringing the Little Guy home from the NICU. But we did “crash” one of those tunnel-and-slide places. We brought a store-bought cake and a plastic table-cloth, and blended right in with all the birthday tables that people had reserved. We bought pizza and nobody detected our renegade birthday shenanigans.

Fifth Birthday
Fifth Birthday

I just have a philosophical problem with extravagant, rent-a-room birthday parties. The kids don’t care about that stuff. They just want to play and eat cake. I don’t give out gift-bags either. Isn’t the party enough? And who needs more plastic trinkets around the house?

Her sixth birthday was a less successful example of crashing, though a slightly better example of baking. My daughter chose a recipe out of “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World,” a much-thumbed and drooled over cookbook we bought when she was two and a half. Her choice of cupcakes featured a swirl of chocolate frosting topped with a blackberry. As usual, I had procrastinated baking the cupcakes, so they were still warm and I couldn’t frost them before we had to leave. I brought the frosting with us to apply when we got there.

“There” was a different tunnel-and-slide place that had rooms for birthdays. We didn’t reserve a room. We had “planned” to meet people there and pay for families as they arrived. Our guests were quite confused at our unconventional approach.

The place had a strict policy about outside food and drink, so I left the cupcakes and frosting in the car. It was like a freezer out there (it was late November). After most of the guests had arrived, I slunk out to frost the cupcakes. I had purchased a pastry bag in the hopes of replicating that fancy swirl of frosting of which my daughter was so enamored. The frosting was hard, so hard! I quickly abandoned the pastry bag. As I desperately tried to get the cold-hardened frosting to spread, the clock ticked. I finally gave up on aesthetics and just put lumps of frosting on each cupcake, topped with a blackberry, and smuggled in the cupcakes under a bundle of coats in the Little Guy’s stroller. Back at the table, we formed a wall of grown-ups and told the kids to “eat quickly.”  I felt rebellious and tacky at the same time. And a little self-righteous.

Today

So… as you may have guessed, this post does have a point. And a recipe. I made cupcakes today for my step-son’s birthday. Turns out it was also my cousin’s birthday, so we joined forces and got our families together at a brew-pub. I would smuggle in the cupcakes to the brew-pub.

My cousin makes the best cakes. Cakes that look like legos. Perfect legos. Cakes that take a lot of planning and time. Cakes that I could never in a million years hope to make. No pressure there!

Last night, I asked my step-son to choose his top three recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I chose the one for which I had most of the ingredients on hand: S’mores!

I only lacked the graham crackers.

Vegan Dandies Marshmallows
Vegan Dandies Marshmallows

Somehow, I procrastinated half the day away. Around noon, I realized I still needed to shower, go to the store, buy graham crackers, and then pick up my daughter from school to join some friends for a play-date.

Somehow, I got it done!

And here is the result! NOT a Disaster! NOT a Fail!

And I only changed one thing. The recipe suggests three different choices of frosting, but I had vegan marshmallows on hand.

SO, I took the cupcakes out of the oven a minute early, added marshmallows and chocolate chips, put them back in the oven for a minute so they could melt into the tops.

S'mores Cupcakes
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: S’mores

Et voila! S’mores!

Recipe: 

  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c canola oil
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 c soy yogurt
  • 11/4 c soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
  • vegan chocolate chips
  • vegan marshmallows

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners (I love my reusable silicone ones).
  2. Mix wet ingredients into your largest large bowl.
  3. Sift dry ingredients into another bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients (I did this in the reverse because I had used the larger bowl for the dry ingredients, but it was just fine).
  5. Fill cupcake liners (I transferred the batter to a large measuring cup with a spout and poured it in).
  6. Bake 22-24 minutes.
  7. My variation: Remove from oven. Place muffins tins on cooling rack. Decorate with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Put them back in the oven for a minute so everything can melt a little.
  8. Remove from oven and place on cooling racks.
  9. Leave the house. Pick up your kid. Have a fun play date in a park.
  10. Come back to a dozen lovely, perfect birthday cupcakes!
S'more Please
S’more Please

*patharious (adjective): 1) both pathetic and hilarious; 2) so sad you have to laugh; 3) so funny you have to cry

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Part of the solution since 1973.

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