If you’re a Starbucks lover, then we’ve got the dessert for you! These vegan treats involve caramel drizzled over caramel frosting on top of a delicious, vanilla cupcake, all inspired by the Starbucks Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino. These cupcakes are beautifully fluffy and even pack a little extra fiber from the flax seed meal. To make this dairy-free frosting as tasty as buttercream, we just used clear butter flavoring (don’t worry, it’s vegan) and replaced the typical whipping cream in caramel with coconut milk. The result is a cupcake that will charm vegans and non-vegans alike!
Adapted from Je suis alimentageuse
— 1/2 cup vegetable oil
— 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
— 1 teaspoon vanilla
— 2 tablespoons flax meal plus 6 tablespoons water (mixed and set aside for about 2 minutes)
— 1/2 cup rice milk (or any other milk alternative)
— 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
— 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
— 1 teaspoon baking powder
— 1 1/2 cups flour
— Pinch of salt
VEGAN CARAMEL INGREDIENTS:
— 1 cup white granulated sugar (make sure it’s a vegan brand, like Redpath)
— 2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or any other vegan margarine)
— 1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat)
— 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
VEGAN FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
— 1 cup vegetable shortening or vegan margarine (the shortening is salt-free, but the margarine may taste salty)
— 3-4 cups icing sugar
— 1 teaspoon clear butter flavoring (we used Wilton)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix together the oil, sugar, vanilla, flax meal mixture, rice milk, and vinegar in a bowl.
- In another bowl, sift the baking soda, baking powder, flour, and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and divide among lined cupcake tins (use medium-sized cupcake liners), filling about 3/4.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway, until the edges are a light, golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cupcake.
- Remove from the cupcake tins, and let cool on a wire rack.
- For the caramel, melt the sugar over medium to medium-low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Avoid stirring as much as possible, and swirl around the melted sugar until it’s completely melted and has a nice, amber brown color (20 to 25 minutes). Be careful not to brown the sugar too quickly, or it will burn.
- Remove from heat, and add the vegan margarine, vanilla extract, and coconut milk. Whisk quickly, as it will bubble up and start to seize a bit. When this happens, put it back on medium to low heat, keep stirring, and the caramel will come together.
- Once the coconut milk has been incorporated, pour the caramel through a strainer (in case there are any chunks), and transfer about 50 fl ounces to a squeeze bottle for later (about 1/4 of the mixture). Let the other 3/4 cool to room temperature so you can add it to the frosting.
- For the frosting, whip together the shortening/margarine, clear butter flavoring, and 1 cup of icing until it’s light and fluffy.
- Incorporate the icing sugar cup by cup until the icing is fluffy yet somewhat stiff. Then stream in the cooled caramel, and whip until incorporated. Transfer it to a piping bag.
- To assemble, pipe the frosting over the cupcakes, then drizzle the vegan caramel on top. To add some fun texture, you can sprinkle your cupcakes with caramel sugar or Skor bits (Note: these are not vegan).
Can you think of another Starbucks drink that would make for a delicious dessert?