One of my colleagues did me a major favor at work last week. Like, major major. Totally above and beyond. There were no words to express my gratitude to her... but where words fail, baked goods speak.
Since this particular colleague is vegan, I couldn't just use any of my butter and cream-loaded standard recipes. I panicked for a few moments - without French buttercream, I'm nothing! - then sucked it up and got Googling.
These lovely little strawberry cupcakes with peanut butter frosting are what I finally came up with, and let me tell you, you really won't miss the eggs or dairy at all. The cupcakes are tender and moist, leavened with baking soda and vinegar and flavored with a cup of strawberry puree I'd tucked away in the freezer back in June. And the peanut butter frosting? Crazy good! It's made with Earth Balance shortening, gobs of peanut butter, a splash of vanilla and a few cups of powdered sugar. The recipe called for soy milk, but I'm not a big fan of the stuff and was not about to buy a whole carton of soy milk for a few tablespoons of liquid, so I just substituted water. I'd be surprised if using soy milk would actually make a major difference, flavor-wise.
The little heart decorations are just all natural strawberry fruit leather. I totally thought I had a teeny heart-shaped cookie cutter, but as it turns out, I only have a giant one, so these are freehand. And misshapen. But still kinda cute, right?
All in all, I think my first vegan baking experience was a total success. I hope my awesome colleague likes them! We'll find out tomorrow...