Vegan Matcha Cupcakes

I'm alternating healthy recipes with not so healthy ones at the moment - this is my version of a balanced diet. Am I kidding myself? Probably, but I can live with that. Cupcakes were never at the top of my sweet treat list. I've never really gotten overly excited about them for some reason - well, actually, I know the reason. I've always found they never quite lived up to their promising appearance. Yes, they look all cute and girly and naughty but when it comes to the taste, I find they are, more often than not, underwhelming. I know that isn't the right thing to say but I'm just being honest here.

Fear not though because my appreciation for cupcakes took a turn for the better in the not too distant past. When I turned vegan I thought I'd said goodbye to things like cupcakes, pizza, burgers - little did I know that vegan doesn't mean deprivation and there are vegan versions of just about anything you can think of. That seems like such a long time ago now. Since then I have indulged (maybe a tad too much) in virtually every vegan treat possible and along the way I acquired a whole new and unexpected love for the cupcake.

This lady needs to take some of the credit:

She makes the best cupcakes in the UK. If I could have sampled every flavour I would have but by the time we managed to get to her stall in Greenwich Market she only had a handful of cupcakes left and two different flavours - blueberry and lemon. By golly were they good though and I don't mean good for 'vegan' cupcakes, I mean just great cupcakes full stop. Certainly better than any cupcake I'd ever previously sampled as an omnivore and it got me thinking - maybe cupcakes can taste as good as they look 'cause these ones certainly did.

Next up on my vegan cupcake journey I discovered there was an entire book dedicated just to vegan cupcakes - the very appropriately named Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. Fast forward to more recent times - more recent than the not too distant past anyway - and we come to these very cupcakes, made by combining my new found love for cupcakes and my new found love for matcha.

Matcha, in case you didn't click on the link, is basically green tea, which might sound a bit weird if you're not familiar with it as an ingredient. I mean, green tea cupcakes don't sound particularly appetizing and if you have an aversion to green tea as some people do then this whole recipe might not appeal. Regardless, I urge you stay with me on this cupcake journey. So confident am I that you will like love these cupcakes that I'm willing to go out on a limb by saying they are the best cupcakes I've ever tasted. That is a bold claim, I know, but I really do mean it. These cupcakes will convert all those cupcake and matcha naysayers - of that I am sure.

Just so you know, texturally, they are denser than your typical cupcake but that is a good thing in my opinion. Not forgetting the frosting - ah, the frosting! Yep, I'm going to wax lyrical about the frosting too. Seriously, seriously great. You might think matcha on matcha is bit too much matcha (that's a mouthful and it was!) then think again because you can never have too much matcha. I will be refining this recipe (any excuse to make these cupcakes a million more times) so you may find another matcha cupcake recipe crop up on my blog at some point - all in the name of cupcake research!

All hail the cupcake. They really do rock!

vegan matcha cupcakes (ever so slightly adapted from vegan cupcakes take over the world by Isa Chandra Moskovitz and Terry Hope Romero)

1 1/4 cups plain white flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

3 tsp matcha powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup soy yoghurt

1/2 cup rice milk

1/3 cup sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit.

Sieve the dry ingredients into a large bowl: flour, sugar, matcha powder, salt and baking powder. Thoroughly mix.

Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl and gradually add to the dry ingredients, mixing with a spatula. Careful not to over mix.

Divide into silicon muffin/cupcake cases and bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes. Check they are ready by inserting a toothpick into the centre - if it comes out clean they are good to go.

Allow to completely cool on a rack before frosting.

vegan matcha frosting

1/4 cup sunflower or soya spread (or any non-dairy spread)

1 tsp rice/soy milk

3/4 cup icing sugar (

1 tsp matcha powder

Using an electric whisk beat the 'butter' and 'milk'  until fluffy - a minute or two. Add the icing sugar and matcha powder and beat for a further five minutes.

Pipe onto the cupcakes and decorate with any vegan cake topper. If you don't have a piping bag you can using a spatula to create swirl effect - here's a helpful video.

p.s. would you just look at those hyacinth's! They are currently filling my apartment with an incredible fragrance. I love flowers.

dessert, veganAine Carlin