And apparently the word "simple" doesn't exist in my vocabulary. Here I am trying to simplify things this holiday season and yet when the opportunity presents itself to make cupcakes for our church Christmas party, what do I do? I sign up. (Of course I'm going to sign up so there is something safe for my boy to eat.) But I can't do just cupcake + frosting. Oh no. The creative powers take over and I find myself bumping my cupcake up to the next level. I can't help myself! Seriously! SO ...drumroll please...
I give you Egg Free Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes!
With a surprise inside:
Egg Free Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes
By Egg Free Bakery
2 cups water
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp Apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
24 Hersheys candy cane chocolate kisses
2 peppermint candy canes, crushed
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk water, oil, applesauce, sugar, vinegar and vanilla together. In another bowl whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients gradually, mixing after each addition. Scoop out batter using a 1/4 cup measuring cup into prepared tins. Unwrap the kisses and place one kiss on the center of each cupcake. (You do not need to push the kiss into the batter, just set it on top and it will sink as it bakes). Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp milk or cream
Pinch of salt
Beat butter and shortening together for a few minutes, scraping down sides as necessary. Add sifted sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add salt and vanilla. Add milk 1 tbsp at a time, mixing well after each addition. Increase mixer speed to high and whip until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
For the final touch, melt chocate chips with a tsp or two of shortening in a small bowl in the microwave, stirring frequently. Once melted, use a fork to drizzle the melted choclate over the cupcakes.
Store cupcakes in the fridge. Remove one hour prior to serving. Yields 22-24 cupcakes
These are mildly peppermint flavored. If a stronger peppermint flavor is desired, add peppermint extract to the frosting, starting with 1/4 tsp and adjust according to taste.