Vegan Cupcakes in New Zealand

New Zealand Beach
If you follow my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages, you may remember that I traveled to New Zealand’s North Islands the day after Thanksgiving. My son and his family (Linda, granddaughters Georgia and Cecile, and their three rescue dogs, Teddy, Moo and Cocoa) relocated from Los Angeles, CA to Wellington, NZ for a year. I was very excited to have a reason to visit New Zealand. (Oh yes, the journey is long!) Before leaving, I contacted Alice Shopland of Angel Food, in Auckland, NZ, to ask about the vegan community. She kindly sent me a long list of vegan and vegan friendly places in Wellington, and I found even more, including a bean to bar, ethical sustainable chocolate company, The Wellington Chocolate Factory. Plant based, organic, sustainable are the norm in Wellington.

Michael was in L.A. the day I arrived, and Linda was leaving early the next morning for her film project in Haiti. In other words, I was in charge of the girls. Jet lag, be gone! Right after wonderful welcoming hugs and kisses, Georgia announced she’d told her schoolmates that her GFran writes cookbooks and bakes, and that she’d be bring vegan cupcakes to class–for tomorrow. What a relief to remember that the recipes in Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Desserts are written for U.S. measures as well metric! The Celsius oven was no problem. Knowing their pantry would be  stocked with whole-wheat pastry flour, organic sweeteners, and so on, I got right to work with Cecile, who at 8 years old, is very at home in the kitchen. The Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cupcakes we made baked beautifully on 180°C, aero (convection), and the Chocolate Coconut Ganache was excellent. Cecile, who doesn’t like coconut anything, was initially disappointed in my choice of frosting, but the frosting glaze tastes of chocolate, not coconut, and she licked the bowl clean. (You can find the recipe in Vegan Chocolate).  Reviews from school were A+. I made a tofu stir-fry for dinner and Better Than Rice Crispy Treats for lunchbox snacks (recipe in More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally) and then went to sleep. I wondered why it was still light outside at 9pm, but was reminded that it was summer in NZ. My intention was to get over the time difference in Windy Welly—it is the windiest city in the world­—and do some exploring. I’ll be writing blog posts about my time in New Zealand, which included visits to a vegan bakery, tour of chocolate factory, Te-Papa Museum, Botanic Gardens and Weta Workshop.


Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Occasionally, I crave a vanilla cupcake instead of chocolate, but I still want it well studded with vegan chocolate chips and topped with swirls of rich frosting. Piping the frosting through a pastry bag and sprinkling the cupcakes with more chocolate chips is my idea of pretty and delicious.But here, the frosting was just spread on the cakes with a spoon.

Makes 12 Standard Size Cupcakes Or 24 Minis


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons / 7.5 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup / 180 ml soymilk or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon / 73 grams organic all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup / 70 grams organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon / 124 grams organic granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 grams baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup / 60 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil or organic neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon / 15 ml pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup / 61 grams mini vegan chocolate chips, divided


Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan


  1. Position a rack in the upper third of oven and preheat to 350°F / 180°C. Line a 12-cup standard cupcake tin with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and milk. Set aside for 10 minutes to clabber.
  3. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the all-purpose flour, pastry flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the strainer. Stir with a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture in the bowl.) Whisk to aerate the mixture.
  4. Stir the oil and vanilla into the clabbered milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until the batter is smooth. Stir about half the chocolate chips into the batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the cups, filling each about halfway full. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top of the batter, dividing evenly between the cups. Bake for 17 to 18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
  6. Cool the tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Lift each cake onto the rack and cool completely. Refrigerate until cold before finishing with a frosting of your choice.


Refrigerate the cupcakes in a covered container for up to two days. The cupcakes can be frozen in an airtight container for up to one month. Defrost uncovered at room temperature.


Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, by Fran Costigan, (Running Press 2013).



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