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An ex-boyfriend gave me a vegan cupcake recipe book a few years ago. I have moved a few times since then and it is now lost in a storage box somewhere. The same ex made me the chocolate cupcakes from the book once and it was absolutely delicious. However, I have no clue what was in it or how it was made. Thankfully, there’s the internet. I couldn’t find the exact recipe because I can’t remember the title of the book. But I did find a super simple vegan chocolate cake recipe.
The recipe I found was called “crazy cake.” It is also known as “wacky cake” or “cockeyed cake.” It was created during the Great Depression when egg and milk products were too expensive and/or scarce to use regularly in cooking. And thus, it just so happens to be vegan! I tweaked the recipe a bit to fit my palate. I reduced the sugar and upped the cocoa. I also swapped vegetable oil for coconut oil and water for coffee, just to give it some more dimension. The cupcakes turned out phenomenally! They were moist and flavorful. And I love how simple it is to make this. The recipes I saw didn’t even use a mixing bowl. All the mixing was done in an ungreased baking pan that would also be used to bake the cake. I’m all about having to do fewer dishes!
The phenomenal crazy/wacky/cockeyed cupcakes wouldn’t have been complete without some frosting or icing. The cupcakes are Earth Day-themed so I wanted to create Earth somehow. Buttercream isn’t fluid enough to smoothly cover the cake and royal icing would be too hard. I decided to make a glaze with powdered sugar, coconut oil, and almond extract. I used almond because I was scared vanilla would affect the color of the glaze. I was hoping to use a powder like blue-green algae or blue spirulina to create the blue color. But alas, neither was available at my supermarket. Red cabbage was my only option.
Making natural blue food coloring from red cabbage was such an emotional roller coaster. When I began experimenting, the cabbage juice never turned blue. It would go straight from purple to green. I did a quick Google search and apparently adding too much alkalinity turns cabbage juice green. When I experiment, I tend to experiment by ¼ teaspoon or ½ teaspoon and that’s what I initially did with the food coloring. After discovering the sensitivity of cabbage juice, I started experimenting in itty-bitty pinches. And that did it! I needn’t more than a few pinches of baking soda to turn the cabbage juice into a beautiful jewel-toned blue. When added to the glaze, it is a nice baby blue that complements the light green matcha glaze.
I found it was best to add the baking soda to the cabbage glaze after all the glaze ingredients had been mixed rather than making the blue color beforehand. There are fatty acids in the coconut oil and they will turn the cabbage glaze slightly reddish-purple. So all the work you put into getting the precise color would be for naught if you pre-made the blue. Also, the blue glaze might look like gray sludge at first. I almost gave up on these cupcakes because of it. Just give it a few minutes and the color will be brilliant. That will be the end of the emotional roller coaster ride. I am so thrilled that red cabbage actually makes a beautiful blue color, and am so pleased with how these cupcakes turned out. Until I find my vegan cupcake book, this will definitely be my go-to recipe for chocolate cupcakes.
This is my version of the classic crazy cake/wacky cake/cockeyed cake. It is an easy vegan chocolate cake that can be made directly in the baking pan. I use melted coconut oil in place of vegetable oil and cold coffee in place of water. The vegan glaze is made blue with red cabbage and green with matcha powder. This recipe is perfect for Earth Day or a space themed party.
- 1½ cups (200 g) unbleached all purpose/plain flour
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated cane sugar
- ½ cup (60 g) cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup (80 mL) coconut oil – melted
- 3 tsp vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240 mL) cold coffee
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup powdered/icing sugar
- 6 tsp coconut oil – melted
- 6 tsp red cabbage juice
- 1 tsp almond extract
- Pinch of baking soda
- ½ cup powdered/icing sugar
- 3 tsp coconut oil – melted
- 3 tsp water
- ½ tsp almond extract
- ¼ tsp matcha powder
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Sift together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Create three wells in the dry mix.
- Add the oil, vanilla, and vinegar individually into each well. Pour the cold coffee over the entire mix and use a fork to blend everything together.
- (Optional) Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Fill ¼ cup (60 mL) of the crazy cake batter into each well of a muffin tin lined with unbleached baking cups.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick test comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool before icing.
- Mix together all the ingredients except for the baking soda.
- Once the glaze is smooth, add a tiny pinch of baking soda and mix again. Repeat this until it becomes a bluish-purple.
- Let it rest for 10 minutes. It may become more blue/green during this resting period.
- Mix together all the ingredients until smooth.
- Spoon the blue glaze over a cupcake. Start from the center and work outwards. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. Let them dry. Repeat this process 2 to 4 times to have a nice opaque glaze on the cupcakes.
- Put the green glaze into a piping bag with a small round tip or a ziplock bag with a corner snipped. Pipe some land over the blue water. Just piping the continents should be sufficient. Even some green blobs will give consumers the general idea.