Disclaimer – candy canes are technically not vegan because they’re made with honey, and honey is a product of bees. Since bees are an animal, honey is an animal byproduct. HOWEVER, this frosting can easily be made without the candy canes!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 stick vegan butter, softened (I used Earth Balance)
1 pound powdered sugar
1 tablespoon almond milk
Crushed candy canes (if desired)
Instructions (for cupcakes)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a cupcake pan with baking cups or spray with baking spray.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the flour, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the peppermint extract, and water.
Using a spatula, mix the batter until smooth.
Divide batter evenly between 12 baking cups (about 3/4 full).
Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from baking pan and allow to cool to room temperature.
Instructions (for vegan buttercream)
Put softened vegan butter, powdered sugar, and almond milk in a bowl and beat with a mixer.
The frosting should form stiff peaks. If it’s too thin, gradually add powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, gradually add almond milk (like a tiny bit at a time).
Once the frosting is at the proper consistency, add the other 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract and stir to combine.
If desired, add the crushed candy canes.
Use either a piping bag or a plastic bag to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes