For David's birthday a couple of weeks ago, I offered to make him birthday cupcakes from my most-used cookbook, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. He asked for carrot cake cupcakes (original recipe here). They turned out to be so delicious, I made two extra batches over the next week.
The icing, however, was a problem. As previously mentioned, I haven't been able to find palm-oil-free vegan margarine, and then I accidentally bought dairy mascarpone instead of vegan cream cheese. With David MacIver at my back looking up recipes, I made the following delicious but totally non-vegan icing, shown above:
250 g mascarpone cheese
85 g butter
400 g icing sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp vanilla essence
Mix everything together with an electric mixer. Resist temptation to eat the icing straight out of a bowl with a spoon.
For my second batch, I tried out this cashew cream cheese frosting recipe (subbing the coconut oil with sunflower oil). Mine turned out a lot darker and less smooth than shown in those pictures—perhaps my blender is lower-powered than the Rawsome Vegan Life blogger's. At first I wasn't blown away by the taste, and I think it's probably because this frosting doesn't really taste like cream cheese at all. It tastes like a delicious, creamy and cashewy treat, but calling it "cream cheese frosting" just set it up for comparison.
- Use ground almonds instead of chopped walnuts (slightly less than 1/3 cup). This gives a finer, more even consistency and doesn't taste overwhelmingly of almonds. It would be good if you don't like surprise nut chunks in your cake.
- Substitute the raisins with chopped dried apples and pears. They have a slightly less sweet taste. I liked this variation equally as much as the original recipe.