At the beginning of March, my sister brought a box of Irish Potatoes into work for our coworkers. Surprising to us, while we’ve been popping this little, cinnamon rolled coconut balls since as far back as we can remember, none of our cowokers had ever heard of them! Poor New Yorkers.
O’Ryan’s is the brand we’re most familiar with. They’re really popular around St Patty’s Day. If I knew where to get them after then, though, I could eat them year-round. They are not vegan because they do contain eggs; but they are vegetarian because they have to meat products, nor gelatin. I’d love to eventually make Vegan Irish Potatoes using vegan cane sugar and an egg replacer. For now, I made cupcakes!
Irish Potatoes are essentially coconut on the inside and cinnamon outside, but I decided on using cocount flakes for topping and making the frosting cinnamon flavored. Since they don’t have cake in them, when deciding on what flavored cake to put the topping on, it’s up to you. For me, it was a toss up between white and chocolate. It was really preferential that I chose chocolate; I thought that the chocolate would balance the spice of the cinnamon and give a little more to the coconut more so than a vanilla cake. You can totally try a different flavored cake.
When making cupcakes, my go to book is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. So far I’ve made the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes, the Walnut Cupcakes, and Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache. A few people asked me for the recipe, and since these Irish Potato inspired cupcakes are a variation of the original recipe, I’m listing it below. Make these cupcakes…buy their book! Consider it an essential tool, like your whisk or muffin pan. It really is amazing just having it at your finger tips. The recipes range from your basic vanilla to pistachio rosewater cupcakes!
Vegan Inside-Out Irish Potato Cupcakes
- 1 cup soy milk [I tend to use an unsweetened milk, to cut calories. For these cupcakes in particular, I used Whole Foods' s 365 Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk.]
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar [I'm vegetarian, but I still worry about bone-char filtered sugar, so I use Whole Foods' Vegan Cane Sugar. You can get a pretty good sized bag for around $4, which is cheap considering you won't need to replenish it for a good while.]
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract [The original chocolate cupcake recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and either a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate extract, or 1/2 teaspoon of more vanilla extract. Again, this is preferential; I like the almond for its mildness. I want the coconut and cinnamon to be front and center, so I just want a cake that was moist and rounded out the main flavors, rather than compete with them, as I thought the vanilla or more chocolate flavoring would.]
- 1 cup all-purpose flour [I get my flour from Wegman's cause it has a vegan label on it. I'm not really sure if there is a way for flour to not be vegan, but it was cheap and carried a logo that gave me some piece of mind. I was sold.]
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular [Yeah, I loves me my Whole Foods. I picked up my cocoa powder there. I asked about whether it might have any milk addidtives, but was told it was just straight up cocoa powder.]
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda [Arm and Hammer is what I grab. Never realized that stuff in my fridge was actually used for baking. Although, don't use the one you use for your fridge. I keep mine in a ziplock bag in my supplies box.]
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Moskowitz and Romero make some recommendations for untensils. Aside from a muffin pan, cupcake liners, and large mixing bowls, be sure to pick up a whisk, measuring cups, a rubber spatula, and a ice cream scooper. I won’t lie, even though I checked them out, I skipped the pricey stuff from Williams-Sonoma or department stores and went to Walmart for the cheap stuff. When just starting out, I think that’s your best bet. If I’m ever baking huge batches, I might consider and upgrade, but baby steps are best and give you something to aim for.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
- Whisk together the almond milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle.
- Add the sugar, oil, and almond extract, to the almond milk mixture and beat till foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat till no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay).
3. Pour into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.
Vegan Creamy Cinnamon Frosting
- 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
- 1/2 cup non hydrogenated margarine [I used Earth Balance for both the margarine and shortening cause it's suggested by Moskowitz and Romero.]
- 3 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted if clumpy
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon candy oil [The original Butter Cream Frosting recipe calls for 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract. I used cinnamon oil. Please keep in mind that oil has twice the potency of extract so you use half as much. Try adding 1/2 teaspoon first. If you want a stronger cinnamon flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon, for a total of 3/4 teaspoon. Don't go too overboard, though, if you're trying for an Irish Potato flavor; there's a thin line that, if you cross, will give you more of a Cinnamon Hot Dot Cupcake, instead.]
- 1/4 cup plain almond milk
- 1 bag of coconut flakes for topping [I ended up using a bag of coconut flakes I picked up from Walmart that was sweetened, which I wasn't wholly confident in because I don't know where the sugar was sourced. I think next time I'll splurge for a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes or a bag of sweetened if the sugar used is certified vegan.]
- Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy.
- Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.
- Add the cinnamon oil and almond milk, beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.
I actually melted both the margarine and shortening, which I hadn’t done before. Instead of the fluffy frosting I’d gotten on previous tries, the icing was a little thin; when I would put a scoop on the cupcake it would slowly run. This actually worked out for the best, though. Instead of just some coconut flakes on top, I actually dipped the cake into the frosting, then into the coconut flakes; the icing glued itself to the coconut. You can stick them in the freezer after you’ve dipped them to harden up the icing. I prefer the softer frosting.
The green was an after thought. It was a can of spray I picked up from A.C. Moore when I was purchasing my cake box. I was just looking for something to drive home the St. Patrick’s Day inspiration.
I have received a lot of compliments for my vegan cupcakes. After taking a bite of this flavor, someone actually said it was better than CRUMBS. Now I’m eyeing a muffin pan to try to make my vegan cupcakes as big as their’s! Try these yourself and Enjoy!