Vegan Caramel and Honeycomb Cupcakes

I'm always excited to create a new cupcake recipe, and this one is my new favourite! The cupcakes are really easy to make, and versatile enough to be adapted by using different fillings, essences and icing flavours with which you might want to experiment.

This version includes an Italian merginue buttercream recipe, which takes a little extra time to make but is worth the effort, and will leave you with a smooth, soft and delicious icing. While I do like a good vegan buttercream, I often find them to be too sweet and a bit boring. With the combination of my caramel and chocolate chip cupcakes, smooth icing and crunchy honeycomb, this recipe will never be called boring!

I created this treat in partnership with VeMe4You, an Australian/South African online vegan store. You can find their AMAZING Orchard Vegan Honeycomb Chocolate here.

Ingredients for the cupcake

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200ml soy milk
  • 20ml apple cider vinegar
  • 80ml vegetable or neutral oil
  • 1 tbs golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp caramel essence or flavour
  • 50g vegan chocolate chips

Ingredients for the caramel buttercream

  • 85ml aquafaba (tinned chickpea brine)
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 40ml water
  • 220g vegan butter
  • 1/2 tsp caramel essence or flavour
  • 1 tbs golden syrup
  • 100g Orchard Vegan Honeycomb Chocolate (or vegan honeycomb of choice)

Instructions for the cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to approximately 180 degrees Celsius and line a standard12-piece cupcake tin with cases.
  • Combine milk and vinegar in a large jug and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, powder, soda and salt.
  • Combine oil, golden syrup and caramel.
  • Slowly add wet ingredients, alternating between milk and oil mixture.
  • Finally, add chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
  • Once mixture is combined (don't overmix!), pour into prepared tin and place in the oven.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until cupcakes are starting to brown and spring back when pressed. It may take a little longer depending on your oven.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes, before placing on a cake rack to cool completely.

Instructions for the caramel Italian meringue buttercream

  • Place aquafaba into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer ready.
  • Beat on medium until thick and foamy to soft peaks.
  • Meanwhile, heat sugar and water, mixing only to ensure the sugar is fully incorporated.
  • Once it reaches 115 degrees (use a kitchen thermometer to keep track), pour onto aquafaba and continue to whisk for five minutes. The mixture should become thick, glossy and stiff.
  • Place the bowl into the fridge until it's cool to the touch.
  • Place the bowl back and change to the paddle attachment. Beat on a medium speed.
  • Slowly add butter, golden syrup and caramel essence, waiting until each section is incorporated before adding more. The mixture may look like it has curdled but keep beating; eventually it will come together.
  • Place into an icing bag if desired or leave in the bowl ready to use. You can also place into the fridge if you're not using it straight away.
  • Pipe onto cupcakes as desired, then top with crumbled honeycomb.
  • Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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