One of my favourite muffin/cupcake/cake recipes is vegan, does not contain nuts and can easily be made gluten-free, soy-free and alcohol-free. This means it’s perfect for office parties, bake sales and picnics. Also, it’s easy (which is great for me because, unlike some of my amazing friends, I am not Bake Off material). Obligatory vegan recipe statement: this cake is so decadent and delicious that the most annoyingly anti-vegan person won’t feel the need to smear bacon fat on it in order to enjoy it.
- 1 generous cup grated fresh beetroot (1-3 beetroots, depending on size)
- 1.5 cups plain flour (you can use gluten-free flour)
- 2.25 cups white sugar
- 1 generous cup cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoons baking powder (check for gluten)
- Pinch or two of chilli powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 1.5 cups soy milk (check for malt/gluten, use rice/oat milk for soy-free)
- 3 teaspoons vanilla essence (replace with a generous shake of cinnamon powder for alcohol-free)
For the icing (all quantities are approximate)
- 2 big tablespoons vegan margarine (check ingredients for soy- and/or nut-free)
- 1.5 cups icing sugar
- 1-2 dessert spoons of beetroot juice
- Squeeze of lemon
Wash and peel the beetroot, then grate it into a large, deep bowl (the sides will help keep the juice from splashing out and staining everything). Give it a little squeeze to get some of the juice out for the icing. Pack a cup with grated beetroot and pour the juice into a glass/small bowl to reserve for the icing.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl (along with the chilli powder and ground cinnamon, if using). Add the oil, milk and vanilla and stir with a big wooden spoon until just combined. If you’re using gluten-free flour, the mixture will be much runnier, but this is normal. Fold the grated beetroot into the mixture, then spoon it into the muffin cases, leaving a centimetre or so at the top.
Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes. Use the skewer test to check, or simply poke the top with your finger to check that the muffins are firm. This recipe makes quite a dense cake (a mud muffin!), so don’t expect them to rise too much. Repeat this step with any left-over mixture.
To make the icing, beat together the margarine and icing sugar in a small mixing bowl. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon or two of beetroot juice and stir vigorously, adding more beetroot juice as necessary to make the mixture a bit easier to spread/pipe. I like to pipe the icing on in a nice pattern. Well, I like to try. Some of my efforts are better than others.
Aww, yeah. Time to put these delicious muffins in your mouth.