Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Halloween ghost cupcakes (vegan with aqua faba)

At our Halloween lunch, the cakes were the main event.  Sylvia and I planned to make the ghost cupcakes way before we had any other plans for the lunch.  I was excited to see Wallflower Girl had made ghost cupcakes with aqua faba marshmallow fluff.

I am not even sure what marshmallow fluff is but I am fascinated by Aqua Faba (the chickpea water that has been drained off tins or batches of cooked chickpeas until the vegan world recently discovered how versatile it is.)

Before I even made the marshmallow fluff I was using it instead of an egg replacer in the chocolate cupcakes.  They were highly recommended by Janet of the Taste Space but I never buy egg replacer.  (I am not vegan.  I just dislike eggs.)  I trued aqua faba and the cupcakes were brilliant.  They were moist and rich and tasted fresh the next day.

I have made meringues out of aqua faba earlier this year so I wasn't quite as nervous about the marshmallow fluff.  It is very similar to making meringue mixture but not baking it.  My problem was that it was incredibly sweet.  The sweetness made me forget to worry about any lingering beany taste.

However I still get amazed that the mixture beats up to be so stiff that it can be loaded onto a spoon that is held upside down and it will not slide off.

I tried to prepare as much as possible the day before the lunch.  Chocolate Covered Katie said it could be made up to 24 hours in advance.  So I put it in the fridge overnight.  The next day it was like beaten egg whites that have been set aside while preparing the cake.  They take on a jellied shape with a slightly wet exterior.  I beat it to stiff peaks again and wondered if it had been worth beating it the day before if I still had to beat it the next day.

I had originally planned to pipe the mixture in peaks like little ghosts.   It seemed a lot of marshmallow.  A lot of sugar.  A lot of work. And I could see they were not going to last.  We did a few of the little cupcakes.  Sylvia ring fenced these for the kids table that she was setting up for her friends.  When they arrived the kids ate the cupcakes first and I felt quite irresponsible.

As you can see on Sylvia's kids table, the ghosts did not keep their peaks.  (Was it because it was in the fridge overnight?  Would some guar gum or xanthum gum help? Mixing marshmallow into buttercream like this one?)  So instead I spread the marshmallow fluff over the cupcakes and made the faces on this thin spread (see top photo).  I much preferred this option because that was quite enough fluff on them.  I am not keen on lots of icing or frosting but even E, who likes a lot less than me, said he preferred less of the fluff because it was so sweet.

As the marshmallow fluff did not set, I had to keep it out of the way or it was on my arms or packets of food.  And it was very very sticky.  However it did make for very white spooky ghosts and they were enjoyed by everyone, especially the kids.

Find more Halloween food on Green Gourmet Giraffe. 

Ghost cupcakes
From Wallflower Girl

Vegan chocolate cupcakes (see below)
Marshmallow fluff (see below)
Dark chocolate chips

Pipe marshmallow fluff onto cooled cupcakes.  Either pipe mountains with peaks or just pipe enough to spread over the top.  Arrange 3 choc chips as eyes and mouth.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Aqua Faba
Adapted from the Leafy Cauldron via the Taste Space
I made 12 large cupcakes and 24 mini muffin sized cupcakes

2 cups plain flour (I used half white, half wholemeal)
2 cups sugar (I used half raw, half coconut)
3/4 cup cocoa (not Dutch process)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp coffee granules
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine)
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp water
1 cup rice bran oil, or other neutral oil
1 1/4 cups plant milk (I used sweetened soy milk)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 170 C and line 2-3 cupcake trays with papers.

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, coffee and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Lightly whisk aqua faba until bubbly in a medium sized bowl (my 2 cup jug was too small).  Mix in water, oil, milk, vinegar and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until combined.

Fill cupcake papers about two thirds to three quarters.  The mixture is very funny (oops I meant runny) so a ladle or small cup measure helps to do this.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until cooked to touch and a skewer inserted in the middle counts out clean.  NB I cooked the large cupcakes on my highest shelf and the mini muffins in the middle shelf and they all took the same amount of time.

Leave in tins for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.. If desired spread below marshmallow fluff on the cupcakes or use a frosting of your choice.

Marshmallow Fluff with Aqua Faba
Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie and Seitan is My Motor

1/2 cup chickpea brine
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup castor sugar

Beat chickpea brine, cream of tartar and vanilla until bubble (about 1 minute).  Add sugar and beat for about 8-10 minutes until the mixture will make stiff peaks and not fall off a spoon if held upside down.  (NB I don't have very powerful electric beaters.  Other recipes suggested anything from 5-15 minutes.)

The mixture can be made the day before and kept in the fridge overnight but will need to be whipped again the next day.  It took me about 3 minutes to get my mixture back to stiff peaks.

On the Stereo:
Uke can play super easy ukulele: Mike Jackson


  1. Even though the marshmallow ghosts kinda melted, they're still really cute! I've seen recipes for vegan whipped toppings that involve bean liquid, and I've been intrigued but always a little afraid to try it. I'd be interested to figure out what might help it keep its shape too!

    1. Thanks Allysia - the marshmallow ghosts were cute and I am glad I tried them - fun with kids. I wonder if xanthum gum would help the marshmallow keep its shape. More experimenting needed

  2. Isn't aqua faba quite mad? I too am amazed when it beats up but then it doesn't act like meringue in a lot of ways like the peaks disappearing.

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I still am freaked out by aqua faba - but itsn't it funny that we find it so weird and yet accept that egg whites will beat up into all that fluff!

  3. interesting - I had a similar problem with aqua faba losing its peaks when I used it raw and since then I've only used it in baked goods. I'll be interested to find out if the xanthan gum helps.

    1. Thanks Joey - I will let you know if the xanthum gum works - with working with the aqua faba I wish I had more experience with whipping up egg whites for comparison but I have done it very rarely - most of my experience with egg whites is helping my mum!

  4. How fun and it's nice to see yet more uses for aqua faba! I think we are all learning about it so imagine there's a fair bit of trial and error ahead for issues such as collapsed peaks - but the cupcakes look great anyway I think.

  5. These are SO CUTE! I love these =) You did a great job. The ones that kind of got a little melty look cute too ;p


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