Vegan Maple Cupcakes

Because I’m from New England, I understand that serving anything but 100% real maple syrup with breakfast is unconscionable.  My family used to go out for breakfast every Sunday in the summers to Rose’s Berry Farm where we would wait an hour for a table (it was probably more like 15 minutes, but I was 5, so it felt like an hour) and my dad would get an enormous belgian waffle with strawberries, whipped cream and real syrup.  I thought he was such a badass for eating dessert at 9:00 in the morning.

These pictures are so meh, but I promise this recipe will make you want to wear L.L. Bean and move to Vermont.

I’m not as impressed by sugary breakfasts as I once was, but the smell of real maple syrup filling the kitchen makes me happier than ever.  So when my friend Libby, who’s from Vermont and somehow landed in the festival-laden town of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, turned 25 this week, I decided to make maple cupcakes.
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Everything went wrong because Libby was sick on her birthday, and I ruined my homemade cupcakes by putting in 1 cup of apple cider vinegar instead of 1 tsp, which is a mistake you really cannot correct. But I bought $15 worth of cinnamon, maple extract and maple syrup, so these things were getting made regardless. And they were so worth it!
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I’ve never made my own frosting or cupcake batter before, because it’s so easy to make the store-bought ones vegan, but making everything homemade was so worth it.  I even candied walnuts myself, which made the kitchen smell like Christmas for an hour.  After trying these maple cupcakes, I don’t think I’ll ever buy frosting from the store again!
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Maple Cupcakes:
For the Sugared Walnuts:

  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  1. Bake walnuts at 275 degrees for 6-8 minutes, shaking the pan once at the half-way mark.
  2. Take walnuts off the pan to cool and prepare a large sheet of parchment paper by spraying with non-stick oil.
  3. Pour sugar, maple syrup, and salt into a large skillet/fry pan and heat on medium while stirring continuously.
  4. Once you have a thick, caramel mixture, take the pan off the heat and stir in walnuts and cinnamon.  Your house is going to smell amazing.
  5. Make sure each nut is coated with the sugary mixture and then spread them on the parchment paper to cool.  Make sure they’re not touching! Hands to yoself, walnuts.

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 maple extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugared walnuts (from above recipe)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar and let sit.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg into a separate bowl and mix.
  4. Stir the maple syrup, oil, brown sugar, vanilla and maple extracts into the cider/soy mixture.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet and mix. Fold in the sugared walnuts.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes, max!
For the Frosting
Recipe adapted from Cooking  Light
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened $
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavoring
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  1. Mix the first 5 ingredients together (they say use a mixer.  I don’t have one, so I stirred really fast with a spoon and all was well)
  2. Add the powdered sugar and stir until blended.
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And because my most-northern friend is not here to receive her cupcakes, I gave them to the most southern person I’ve ever met in my life.  My neighbor, Kirk, is a North Carolinian, churchgoing firefighter who drawls more than he speaks, and refers to me as “darling.”  He also reads my blog, which I find hilarious.   When he quoted fashion tips from my “how to look nicer than you are” post, I about died. He also helps move all our furniture in, rescues us when we (I) lock us out of the house, and agrees to take pictures holding cupcakes.  Stand-up guy.
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