Yes you can have dairy free chocolate! Obviously not milk chocolate, the clue is in the name….. But dark and plain chocolate should be free from added butter and cream etc, just double check the ingredients and allergens advice. I used Waitrose plain chocolate, but they also sell completely dairy free chocolate in the special “free from” section if you want to be doubly safe. But enough about my shopping, this cupcake recipe was just adapted from my favourite chocolate cupcake recipe. You can still make these cupcakes with normal butter, I’m sure they’ll taste even better.
I tried to make it in the big mixer, but I think maybe I should have just stuck to the handheld electric whisk. Halfway through the mixing, I thought it had all gone wrong when the mixture sort of fell and lost its big moussiness and went quite runny. I think this was because of overbeating the mixture, so I’d go for the electric whisk next time and maybe only add the flour and “milk” in a couple of stages to minimise the beating. But just as I was thinking of ways to explain why they turned out so badly wrong, they rose and looked pretty good! The cracking on top was probably caused by the oven being a bit too hot, more things to change next time!
The frosting, again, I think I overbeat a bit, it looked really good to start with, but did split a little bit. Also using sunflower spread, you need to use quite a lot more icing sugar than with butter, and don’t overbeat! The more you beat the more like baby sick it will turn. Beware the baby sick!
I think they worked out pretty well, my boyfriend said the minty buttercream was a bit of a surprise, and strangely like toothpaste, but still yummy especially with the chocolatey cake. Mint and chocolate, perfect!Ingredients, Makes 16-18 115g Plain Dairy Free chocolate 85g sunflower spread 175g soft brown sugar 2 large eggs, separated 185g plain flour ¾ tsp baking powder ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda pinch of salt 250ml soya or rice milk 1tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven at 190°C (170 fan). Line two muffin tins with cases.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave in blasts of 1 minute, once it is mostly melted you can leave it to melt the rest with residual heat. Leave to cool slightly.
In a bowl, cream together the sunflower spread and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks and slowly add them to the butter, beat well. Pour in the melted chocolate and beat well.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a separate bowl and mix together. Measure the soya milk into a jug and stir in the vanilla extract. Gradually add alternate amounts of flour and milk to the chocolate mixture, beating well after each addition.
In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a metal spoon, fold the egg whites into the main batter until it is all combined. It should (hopefully) look like chocolate mousse, like I said mine turned out runny but they worked fine.
Spoon the mixture into the cases about two thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen with a slight crack on the top. Leave to cool slightly before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Beat together the spread and the sifted icing sugar. Add a couple of drops of peppermint extract, be very careful as it is surprisingly strong so literally just use drops. Add a couple of drops of food colouring. Mix until smooth and evenly coloured. If it looks very thick, add a little milk, but only just enough to make it smooth.
Once the cakes are cooled, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I used a large open star nozzle and tried the rosette piping again, where you start in the middle and swirl outwards.