Devil’s food chocolate cupcakes with chocolate-cheesecake frosting

Whenever I think of the first cake I ever baked, I remember the vegan chocolate cupcakes I made in high school. Cupcakes were really where it all began for me, specifically, from binge-watching Cupcake Wars and practicing from the recipes from the show that would get posted online. Since chocolate cupcakes was where it all started, I wanted to do another vegan chocolate cupcake now, but this time, with a few fun twists. I used walnuts and chocolate chips in the actual cake batter, alongside pureed leftover chocolate vegan cake, just to emulate the richness gateau au chocolat and a chocolate fondant. For what makes it classified as a devil’s food cake is that it uses hot water to bloom the cocoa, something that you would see in a traditional devil’s food cake recipe. I also am borrowing a trick I learned from Shari, who used it in her devil’s food cake on Masterchef season 10, where you blend the flour, fat, and sugar together first, almost like a pie dough, because it forms this super airy, fluffy texture. I didn’t do it in the cakes picture in this article, but I will say that I tested it and it does yield wonderful results. That and being able to accomplish a light texture with a vegan cupcake is amazing, especially with one of the other factors that went into the batter.

One of the coolest tricks I have learned over the years was using already-made cake to flavor things. Since the flavor is already developed, you can use that, on top of the flavors that you are attempting to develop, to give something a deeper taste. I happened to have a ton of leftover chocolate cake(because I make it so often), lying around, and I wanted to use it in this cake. Luckily, this cake, plus my leftovers, were all vegan, so I wanted to go that route for the entire recipe. In this case, this recipe is actually perfect when you have leftover cake, be it scraps from making a layer cake, or just leftovers from a previous recipe, because you can take that same cake and blend it into the frosting and the cake batter, just to add in more chocolate flavor. For the frosting, yes, I said cheesecake, but it’s more of a tofu cheesecake situation, using tofutti cream cheese and silken tofu, as the two actually form a wonderful emulsion with dark chocolate, and act just like how any normal chocolate frosting would.

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Makes 12 cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups chocolate cake puree
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons black vinegar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix cocoa and hot water together first. Cream together your oil, flour, cocoa powder, and sugar as well. Then combine with the rest of the ingredients. Scoop into 12 lined cupcake liners, and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cool completely before removing.

For the chocolate cake puree:
1 1/2 cups leftover chocolate cake, maybe from one of these recipes
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate
a pinch of salt

Melt down the dark chocolate with salt and soy milk. Puree together with the cake scraps in a blender until completely smooth.

For the frosting:
1 cup chocolate cake puree
8 oz silken tofu
8 oz tofutti cream cheese
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut oil
a pinch of salt

Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler. Puree tofu in a blender until completely liquified, and mix in with all of the other ingredients. Transfer to a stand mixer and whip with a paddle attachment until light and airy. Transfer to a piping bag and refrigerate for 10 minutes, just to firm up. Pipe onto the cupcakes to finish.

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