This recipe caught my eye the other day for a couple of reasons. Firstly, a mere day or two earlier, I’d been reminiscing about Snickers chocolate bars (let’s face it, they’re awesome – but sadly they’re not vegan) and secondly, unlike every other Snickers inspired cupcake I’d seen on the web, these had a peanut butter cupcake base as opposed to a chocolate one. SOLD.
Having to make three different toppings for these might have normally been a turn-off for me, but I didn’t let it phase me today. In fact, once the cupcakes were in the oven, I made the chocolate topping and the chocolate mousse without any hassles. Easy peasy. The only thing I did different was use Tofutti cream cheese instead of Kingland because Tofutti was all I could get.
I was pretty dubious about the mousse. I’ve tried using soy cream cheese before for a savoury dip and it was pretty awful. In fact, one of the non-vegan guests compared the texture to “eating putty”. Sadly, I agreed with her. Anyway, that’s another story and as it turns out, there’s something about Tofutti cream cheese’s texture that has changed in the past couple of years because this chocolate mousse is the best freakin’ mousse I’ve ever had – both pre and post vegan. I might have even eaten a few tablespoons of it on its own. It’s fluffy, creamy and decadent.
I was dreading making the caramel the most because I’ve never made caramel before. Sure enough, on my first try, I failed. It clumped up. I did it all wrong. At this point, instead of taking it as personally as I normally would and bursting into tears, I had a nap, followed by a shower and then tried again. Attempt #2 was perfect; only change that I made was cooking it on low heat instead of high. It was much less stressful and worked! WOAH & HUZZAH!
The Verdict: Excellent. The photo on The Compassionate Cook‘s blog definitely doesn’t do these justice. I’d absolutely make these again and recommend them to others. The toppings are just the right thickness to work with (not too runny or gluggy) – this really impressed me. They’re super sweet though – one is enough. All of my test subjects (family and co-workers) loved these and assured me that there’s no way they would have suspected that they were vegan; and my diabetic father in law naughtily snuck in TWO when we weren’t watching!
- If you have a fairly new fan forced oven, you won’t want to leave these in for a full 20 minutes; 18 should be plenty. I left mine in for the full 20 because I wanted to stay true to the recipe (afterall, I couldn’t review it fairly if I was doing my own thing!) but I ended up with a crust on them and a few burnt bits.
- Using three kinds of sweetener in the cupcakes seems a little excessive and the end result is pretty sweet, so if you don’t have/can’t find agave syrup, just leave it out. Honestly, I doubt you’ll miss it.
- The rice milk & apple cider vinegar didn’t curdle for me and it probably won’t for you either; I think the “curdling” method works best with soy milk. Don’t sweat it though – this doesn’t affect the end result.
- Refrigerate your mousse before piping it onto the cupcakes.
- Follow the instructions. For the love of God, just do it. Otherwise, like me, you might have to make your caramel twice… And that’s a whole lot of stickiness.
- Make your caramel on low heat and dress your cupcakes with it fairly quickly. If you let it sit, it will start to solidify and you won’t be able to work with it.
- The original recipe says this makes 12 cupcakes but I made 18 and still had some batter left over.