Just like most food bloggers, I usually like to bake something special around my birthday, January 30th. And this year I went all in with one of my favorite desserts, Vegan Cookies and Cream Cupcakes!
Most Memorable Birthday. Can you remember your most memorable birthday? Or birthdays?
For me, I have to say that my most memorable birthday parties were the good old fashion sleepover parties that I had from grade school all the way through junior high school. Maybe even a few smaller ones in high school, basically the entire span of the oh-so-fabulous 90’s decade.
To me, those parties were epic. They had everything I could ever want. (Of course this way before iPhones, emojis, snapchat, Twitter and even Facebook.) We had VHS. Mix tapes. Nintendo. Hand-written notes to pass in class. And a few fancy car phones and Zack Morris phones.
For birthday parties I kindly demanded, in my impassioned pre-teen way, all the birthday sleepover essentials. 1) Pizza. Lots of pizza. 2) Scary movies. 3) Lots of snacks, aka junk food. 4) Happy birthday garlands and balloons and streamers from your local Hallmark store, take that Pinterest!
Party prep was easy. I would go with my mom to the video store and pick out two scary movies and one funny one. I remember renting Pet Cemetery, The Shining and one of the Evil Dead movies. One year we tried watching Candyman and turned it off midway through because it was way too scary. You want to rent scary movies that are laughably scary, if possible. So you can laugh while you are dying inside.
My mom would order a vanilla buttercream-frosted, chocolate, raspberry-jelly-filled layer cake from Safeway, our go-to local grocery store. Sorry Whole Foods, you didn’t exist back then. I always requested pink or light blue frosting flowers, never yellow or red. We would order the pizzas and my mom or dad would go pick them up as needed. There would be a few veggie snacks, usually baby carrots and some Hidden Valley ranch dip, aka the official veggie snack of the 90’s.
I would invite as many friends as could lay their sleeping bags across my living room floor. That floor turned into a patchwork surface of giggling girls, pillows, messy ponytails and shiny sleeping bags. There would be presents, school gossiping, sleepover games like “Light as a Feather, stiff as a Board” and maybe a Ouija board if someone brought one. One group of girls would usually pass out early and move to a different room to get away from the noisier girls who stayed up later.
In the morning we would pour giant bowls of cold cereal, fight over the Lucky Charms marshmallows and Pops, drink orange juice from concentrate, nibble sliced cantaloupe, and then the moms would drop by one by one to reclaim their smily faced girls.
I would be left in a quiet house with a pile of presents, a messy living room and a wide, tired smile on my face.
I feel really lucky to have those happy birthday memories. I know not everyone does. So those parties were my favorite birthdays. I don’t really remember many of my birthdays through my college years, I moved around a lot and found it really hard to make a sturdy group of new college friends. So for that reason, those memories of school-age birthdays are extra special to me. These days I usually spend my birthday doing something extra special with my husband. Or a small group of girlfriends. Last year I went out to brunch with my husband and mom (who was in town), drank giant mugs of mint matcha and then later went to Disneyland for the night. This year, I have a few special things planned too.
So this topic begs the question: What were your favorite birthdays? Think about it. Can you come up with an answer? It isn’t always easy.
As an adult, birthdays are special to me because they let us reflect, dream and move forward.
So today, as I look forward to my birthday weekend, I bring you cupcakes! Cupcakes make the world a happier place. And I will take all the happy I can find.
Vegan Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
- 3 tablespoon vegan butter or coconut oil, melted (I used Earth Balance vegan butter, but oil can work too)
- 2 flax eggs** (½ cup total liquid, ¼ cup each flax egg) 1 flax egg = 3 tablespoon water + 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- ½ cup vegan sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tablespoon non-dairy milk
- 1 cup apple sauce (DIY is best because the texture is usually a bit thicker, which helps)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup all purpose, wheat flour
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
Cookies and Cream Frosting:
- 1 stick vegan butter (½ cup)
- 3 cups vegan powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoon non-dairy milk
- 3 vegan chocolate-cream sandwich cookies, crushed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter or oil, flax eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Add in the applesauce, vinegar, non-dairy milk, salt. Beat again. Then add in the cocoa powder and flour. Beat until a fluffy and smooth batter forms.
- Fill the cupcake tins and bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cupcake.
- Cool cupcakes for at least an hour before adding frosting.
- Frosting: Using a mixer, whip together the sugar and non-dairy milk. Add non-dairy milk as needed to thin out the frosting a bit. Finish off by hand folding in the crushed cookies.
- When cupcakes are cooled, you can swirl the frosting on top. I used a spoon to add the frosting since having cookies in the frosting makes it chunky and therefore not a good candidate for a pastry bag swirl. Finish with a cookie or half cookie on top of the frosting. Serve! Chill in the fridge until ready to eat.