Vegan caramel cupcakes with a chocolate sponge and a soft vegan vanilla buttercream frosting!
I can’t believe what a frankenstein’s concoction these vegan caramel cupcakes are! Ever since I cracked the recipe for vegan salted caramel sauce I’ve been looking for opportunities to use it! More often than not this involves baking a cake and then literally POURING it on top. As you can see, that’s exactly what I did here, but with a twist!
This time I decided to put the vegan caramel on top AND inside! I call these guys “Gold Bottom” cupcakes, sort of as a diss-track to black bottom cupcakes *drops mic*.
The caramel sauce sinks to the bottom of the vegan cupcakes as they bake leaving you with a beautifully gooey golden surprise when you bite in. My recommendation is to eat these vegan caramel cupcakes on a plate with a fork – it’s messy business in the best way possible!
What makes them so good?!
Unless you’ve been living under a vegan rock, proper vegan caramel is pretty hard to come by. Mostly what you get is some strange concoction of blended dates and brown sugar. But not here!
These vegan caramel cupcakes use PROPER caramel sauce, made from caramelised caster sugar, like you know they should! Normal caramel uses double cream to introduce fat and liquid to the melted sugar, but we don’t mess with that round here – milk is for cows dum dum!
Instead, we make our own double cream with a blend of cashews and coconut cream. The effect is PERFECT and I’d say even more delicious than the animal version.
That frosting tho!
Yeah, the frosting looks pretty good too right? Here’s how to make yours look and taste EQUALLY good:
- I use a blend of different vegan butters because they have varying water contents, which works well in this situation. IF you can get hold of them, great! If not, don’t worry. The most important thing is:
- MAKE SURE YOUR VEGAN BUTTER IS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE! And I don’t mean “five minutes out of the fridge” temperature. I mean, take the butter out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you use it. Vegan butter doesn’t soften like regular butter, so you’ll need to make sure it’s not too firm when you whip it up.
- Add your icing sugar in increments. The worst case scenario with this stuff is that it splits, and you end up with curds instead of a nice smooth frosting. Follow these rules and you’ll have the perfect frosting for your vegan caramel cupcakes.
Yes, these are super indulgent and YES, the calories below are pretty shocking, but it’s not entirely accurate. The calories are for everything you make, and this recipe makes a BIG batch of caramel sauce which you will not use up on these six lil cupcakes – so please don’t be scared off!
If you’d rather not go for these cupcakes, here’s a nice sweet vegan treat you can nibble on instead. JUST KIDDING!
- High Speed Blender
For the Salted Caramel
- 45 g raw unsalted cashews
- 80 g boiling water
- 200 g caster sugar
- 100 g coconut cream (the solid white stuff at the top of a can of refrigerated coconut milk)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- pinch flaky sea salt
For the Sponge Cakes
- 1 1/2 tsp psyllium husk powder + 6 tsp water
- 85 g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 35 g cocoa powder
- 4 tbsp boiling water
- 50 g vegan margarine
- 135 g granulated sugar
- 75 ml oat milk
For the Frosting
- 100 g vegan margarine at room temperature
- 100 g “baking block” at room temperature (it’s a solid vegan butter sometimes called “baking fat”, sold at most supermarkets)
- 400 g icing sugar (sifted)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
To Make the Salted Caramel
- In the cup of a high speed blender, place the cashews and the boiling water. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
- Once soaked, blend the cashews and soaking water until very, very smooth.
- In a small bowl, measure out your coconut cream and 60g of your cashew cream, mix together until combined.
- In a medium, high-sided saucepan over medium/low heat, place the caster sugar. Stirring constantly, heat until the sugar is completely melted and is turning a nice golden brown (don’t worry if it smokes slightly). Remove from the heat and add the coconut cream and cashew cream mixture. The caramel will splutter and spit so be careful. Stir gently until combined then add the salt and vanilla. Stir well.
- Return to a low heat and simmer gently for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and set aside. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, place in the fridge to chill for an hour.
To Make the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 180c and line a cupcake tray with 6 cupcake cases.
- In a small bowl combine the psyllium husks and the water. Mix and set aside to thicken.
- In another small bowl, measure out the flour and the baking powder. Stir to combine and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cocoa and the boiling water. Fit the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the vegan margarine and psyllium egg and beat until smooth (the psyllium tends to clump very easily, so make sure you beat very well).
- Add the remaining cake ingredients and beat until just combined.
- Divide the batter between the six cupcake cases and top each cup of batter with one tsp of the chilled caramel.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly in the tin before removing each cake delicately and allowing to cool fully on a wire cooking rack.
- While cooling, prepare the frosting.
To Make the Frosting
- Place your remaining caramel on the counter and allow it to come to room temperature. It should be rather runny. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, place the vegan margarine and the baking block. Beat on high speed for around 3-4 minutes until well combined and light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat briefly to combine.
- Measure out your icing sugar into a separate bowl and sift before using. With the stand mixer on low, add the icing sugar a dessert spoon at a time, beating well after each addition. If the mixture looks too dry, add a tbsp of plant milk to loosen it up and beat until smooth.
- Transfer your frosting to a piping bag and top each cooled cupcake as desired. Top the icing with a tsp of the room temperature caramel – it should slowly run over the icing and enrobe the top of the cupcake.
- Serve (probably with a spoon – they’re pretty gooey!) and enjoy!