This is probably the first 'vegan' recipe I ever got comfortable making for parties, potlucks, and other events that have to do a lot with sharing food. Delicious vegan cupcakes are the simpliest way to win non-vegans over, and this tiramisu cupcake has easily made me the most popular person at every birthday party, barbecue, and bridal shower I've brought them to! ------------------------------------------------------------ TIRAMISU CUPCAKES Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting: 1/4 cup vegan butter or margarine, softened 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, softened 2 cups confectioners' sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1. Cream together butter and cream cheese until just combined. Use handheld mixer to whip while adding the confectioners sugar in 1/2 cup batches. Mix until smooth and creamy, then mix in the vanilla. Keep tightly covered and refrigerated until ready to use. Tiramisu Cupcake Base: 1 cup soy milk 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 2 tbsp. cornstarch 3/4 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. salt (increase salt to 1/2 tsp. if you're using oil instead of margarine) 1/2 cup margarine, softened (or 1/3 cup canola oil) 3/4 cup granulated sugar 2 tsp. vanilla extract 1/4 tsp. almond extract, caramel extract, or more vanilla extract 1/3 cup espresso (or strong coffee) 1/3 cup Kahlua or other coffee-flavored liqueur 1 tbsp. cocoa powder 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 12 chocolate-covered coffee beans, or 12 chocolate chips, or 12 coffee beans (optional) 1. Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pan with cupcake liners. 2. Whisk the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside a few minutes to get good and curdled. 3. If using margarine: Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix. 4. In a separate large bowl, use a handheld mixer at medium speed to cream the margarine and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy, but don't beat past two minutes. Beat in the vanilla and other extract, if using, then alternate beating in the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. 5. If using oil: Beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and other extracts, if using, in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until no large lumps remain. 6. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes until done. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting. 7. Mix together the espresso and the Kahlua. 8. Use a measuring spoon, a regular teaspoon, or a paring knife to carve out a small cone in the center of the cupcake. Place spoon about 1 inch from the center of the cupcake, then dig the spoon in about 1 inch deep and cut a circle around the center. Carefully scoop out a cone, trying your best to keep the chunk as intact as possible. 9. Use a spoon to pour the Kahlua mixture in the cavity of the cup cupcake, making sure that all sides of the cavity are drenched, using up to 2 tbsp. of liquid per cupcake. Scoop about 2 tbsp of vegan cream cheese frosting into the cavity and smooth over with the back of the spoon. (Make sure to reserve a few tbsps. of frosting to dollop on top of the cupcake!) Dip the bottom of the cut-out chunk into the Kahlua mixture, but keep the top part dry. Place the cut-out chunk on top of the frosting and gently pat it into place. Continue the process with the remaining cupcakes. 10. Place the chocolate and cinnamon in a small strainer and dust all of the cupcakes. Dollop a small amount of the frosting on top and place a chocolate chip or espresso bean on the dollop. Let sit for about 10 minutes and serve.