Vegan Triple Chocolate Cupcakes from “New Vegetarian” by Robin Asbell (win a signed copy)

I’m a sucker for a chocolate cake and so it seemed the perfect place for me to dive into Robin’s newest book. This one caught my eye for another reason as well, it is vegan. No, I’m not a vegan, but I’ve been looking for this very recipe since the day my brother and his girlfriend announced to the family that they were. I’d been experimenting with vegan cakes to serve them, but honestly I hadn’t gotten very far. I’m too wedded to butter, eggs and cream. Robin came to the rescue. I gave the recipe a test run for Katherine’s (before mentioned girlfriend of my brother) Birthday. Truth be told I never actually gave them to Katherine, not for lack of desire, but because they are in Copenhagen at the Climate Change March, where they are preparing to display their artwork to affect change in the world. What a memorable birthday she will have and I will gladly make these cupcakes again once she returns, a perfect way to celebrate.

Robin manages to achieve a rich chocolate cake with a moist (but not dense) crumb without the benefit of eggs or dairy, mystifying! The filling is remarkably reminiscent of mocha pastry cream and the ganache is chocolaty and glossy. It all defies classic baking and yet it works wonderfully.

As a gift to you Robin has signed a copy of New Vegetarian for me to give away. Just leave a comment below and I will pick a winner next week.

Mocha Filling:

5.5 ounces silken Tofu, drained ~ it has to be silken or the pastry cream texture will not be there

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup Agave Nectar~ the sweet nectar from the agave plant, which is what they also use to make tequila. You can substitute honey if you can’t find it ~ (although honey may not be suitable for vegans, in which case maple syrup is a better choice).

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder


3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons soy or coconut milk

2 tablespoons Kahlua ~ I didn’t have Kahlua and used rum, it was great


1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted ~ doesn’t seem to matter if you use natural or Dutch processed

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup agave syrup

1 cup soy or coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Kahlua or rum

Block of chocolate for shaving garnish

To make the Mocha Filling:

Melt the chocolate, agave and coffee powder over a double boiler until perfectly smooth. Set aside.

Puree the tofu in a food processor,

until perfectly smooth. You will need to scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula.

Add the melted chocolate mixture to the tofu and

process until smooth and thick. It will look like chocolate pudding. Set aside while you bake the cake.

To bake the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin tins with papers.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Melt the chocolate and oil in a medium sized bowl over a double boiler until perfectly smooth. Whisk the agave into the chocolate mixture. In a third bowl whisk together the soy milk, vanilla, vinegar and Kahlua, then stir it into the chocolate mixture. gently whisk the wet mixture into the dry. Divide the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 18 minutes or until the tester comes out clean.

Cool them for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Using a paring knife cut out a portion of the cupcake,

to make a space for the filling. Don’t cut too much away or the cupcake may not have enough structure and fall apart.

Use a pastry bag with a round tip to fill the cupcakes with the mocha filling.

Spread it smooth.

To make the ganache:

Melt the chocolate and soy milk over a double boiler until smooth. Gently stir in the Kahlua.

Spoon the ganache over the top of the cupcakes.

Spread it smooth.

Using a chef’s knife, scrape the smooth side of a bar of bittersweet chocolate to create the shavings.

sprinkle the shavings over the top of the cupcakes.

Happy Birthday Katherine!

For another recipe by Robin check out this amazing apple pumpkin cake I made from her first book The New Whole Grain Cookbook: Terrific Recipes Using Farro, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Barley, and Many Other Delicious and Nutritious Grains.