Vegan Cupcakes with Faux Buttercream and a Competition

Like cupcakes?

They're just a bit of fun aren't they?

But they aren't all froth you know. This is a serious business! have launched a cupcake competition and the prize is a ........ yes you guessed it a range cooker.

Now I'm not usually a fan of blogger competitions, but this one is with a brand I trust, it has a great prize and the winning entry is decided by a panel of judges. I just happen to be one of those judges.

Basically, what you need to do is blog a cupcake recipe with photos, mention the brand and this competition to help spread the word further and encourage more parents to cook with their children.

Entries must be in by 12 August 2013.

Head over to the competition page for more details, but before you do that, scroll down and wee Cooper will take you through our recipe.

Cooper is always eager to do a spot of baking, so when I said we were going to make cupcakes together, he said he would like to make some for his daddy.

As you know by now my hubby is vegan, so vegan cupcakes they had to be, but I felt they still needed buttercream, even if it had to be faux buttercream.

My cupcakes are flavoured with Clark's Canadian Maple Syrup. I was lucky enough to try the whole set of syrups and they are great for baking, although they are really high quality, so they are great on pancakes too.

There's just something a bit special about maple syrup, isn't there and it brings a great flavour to these cupcakes. More maple recipes to come.

Anyway, enough from me, now over to Cooper and the recipe.

print recipe

Vegan Cupcakes with Faux Buttercream
A maple flavoured cupcake topped with faux buttercream, sprinkles and sweeties.
  • 125 ml soy milk
  • ½ tsp white wine vinegar
  • 125 ml Clark's maple syrup
  • 85 ml rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/350f/gas mark 4.2. Line a cupcake or muffin tray with 12 cases. 3. Mix all the wet ingredients and set aside for a few minutes.4. Sieve the dry ingredients together in another bowl, then pour in the wet ingredients and mix together until just combined.5. Dollop spoonfuls of the mixture into the cases, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.6. Move to a cooling rack and once cool, decorate with faux buttercream, sprinkles and sweeties.7. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: 12 cupcakes


I didn't add the recipe for buttercream, as it is a dollop, then a sprinkle kind of a thing.

Just take a large dollop of dairy free spread, then add icing sugar, beat it in, and keep adding more until the texture is right. I added some food colouring right at the beginning, and a little splosh of soy milk at the end to loosen it up a bit for piping.

Honestly, it is dead simple. just keep beating. You don't need a recipe.

Disclosure: I wrote this post on behalf of I am one of the judges in this competition, but I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own. I am being compensated for being a judge, but this post was not paid for. I was also sent some Clark's maple syrup to try, again my views are my own.

No Croutons Required - Smoothies

My head was in the clouds when I thought up the topic for this month's No Croutons Required. Or maybe it was in the sun.


But more soup-like smoothies.

I asked for smoothies that contained at least one vegetable or salad ingredient and what a slurpilicious selection of smoothies I was sent.

Thanks to everyone who took part. They are just what I am in the mood for as I enjoy the heat of Cyprus!

And now on to the roundup.

No Croutons Required
June 2013


Chef: Janet
Location: Toronto, Canada

Veg or salad: cucumber

Janet got brain freeze drinking this smoothie. As she says herself. Slow down Janet! Although sometimes that is hard to do with something so delicious.

I too got brain freeze this week when eating some fresh ice cream from Mardo's here in Girne, Cyprus. Boy it was painful! But the best ice cream. I had a scoop of Snickers, a scoop of cheesecake and a scoop of blackberry sorbet. Heavenly!

I digress, back to the smoothie.

For this refreshing smoothie, that you must drink slowly, Janet teamed up Strawberries with cucumber, some dairy free milk, vanilla and lemon. 

It does sound really good and very refreshing Janet.

Chef: Dana
Location: Indiana, USA

Veg or salad: avocado & spinach

When I first saw this entry I thought it was a new blogger and indeed the blog has only been going for a few months, but then I went to the about me page and was delighted to see it was my blogger friend Dana. She was back!

Dana used to write Beside Pizza with her daughter Kay. Their last proper post was in 2009 and I was sad not to hear anything more from them, so this is happy news indeed.

Dana has made us this vegan mint chocolate shake. Non-dairy milk, spinach, avocado, mint, cacoa, agave and ice cubes. It looks lush!

Chef: Elizabeth
Location: Shetland, Scotland, UK

Veg or salad: cucumber, broccoli, celery, beetroot

Yes indeed Elizabeth has used enough veg in her smoothie for all of us!

She is a mum after my own heart and sneaks lots of good stuff into smoothies for her children. I find this works particularly well with Cooper. Spinach, carrots and avocado being my favourite additions. I've never tried adding broccoli or celery before, but I am super tempted as this smoothie looks so, so very delicious. Elizabeth likens it to Kool-aid. but I have never tasted that myself. It also contains pineapple, apples and ice.

Great entry Elizabeth.


Chef: Jacqueline (me)
Location: Scotland, UK

Veg or salad: spinach and cucumber

For my entry, I made a green smoothie. It almost looks like it is bubbly in that photo. All it needs it a cauldron to look like a witch's brew.

It had just been whizzed up in my vitamix, so it was still light and bubbly. I served it up in my gorgeous glass cappuccino cup and saucer from Whittard to add a bit of elegance.  My smoothie was strawberries, spinach, cucumber, apple juice and wheatgrass powder for some extra nutritious oomph! 

I was delicious. I loved every slurp!

Chef: Corina
Location: London, England, UK

Veg or salad: avocado

I'd be tempted to call Corina a wuss, but I am very glad she joined in and she is even thinking of using spinach next. So I don't want to put her off.

You see Corina was almost put off joining this challenge because of the veg element, but she took inspiration from a wee baby who loved avocado and banana, so she started then and added some nutella, yoghurt and a little milk. She was very impressed with her smoothie.

Please join me in encouraging Corina to add spinach to her next smoothie!

ps I have a toddler who would love this smoothie!

Chef: Helen
Location: London, England, UK

Veg or salad: spinach

I was so pleased that Helen decided to join in this challenge as she makes such excellent smoothies. They always look wonderful.

This one is a great colour, but it is the purple stripey straw and gorgeous bottle that I am lusting after most, although the smoothie does sound delicious!

Bananas, frozen grapes, pineapple, coconut oil, flax seeds and spinach.  

I have to ask you about the frozen grapes Helen. Do you just freeze them for smoothies? I've never thought of freezing grapes before.

Chef: Lisa
Location: West Midlands, England, UK

Veg or salad: let's just say strawberries are good in salads and leave it there

Lisa wanted a healthy and economical smoothie for her family. So she whipped up this pretty drink. Peaches in juice, strawberries and orange juice. 

Simple. pretty and delicious!

Chef: Kavitha
Location: UK

Veg or salad: There's a fair amount of cheating going on in this challenge!

But, I can't resist these gorgeous smoothies, so I am adding this one too.

A simple, tasty smoothie of bananas, blueberries, sugar and ice.

A really healthy glassful!

Chef: Lisa
Location: London, Ontario, Canada

Veg or salad: small beets with tops (greens) 

The last smoothie comes from my good friend and co-host Lisa. 

Lisa starts this smoothie at night by soaking the oats in yoghurt at room temperature. Then in the morning it's just a quick whizz. Oats, yoghurt, beets with greens, apple, orange juice, ginger, almond milk, honey and ice cubes.

How delicious does that look?


So that is up for this month. 

10 wonderful smoothies to whizz up and try. 

Do take the time to visit some of the blogs and give some comment love. 

Please vote for your favourite smoothie, you will see the voting poll in the sidebar. As usual,  Lisa and I are not eligible for a vote. 

Come back at the end of the month to find out which will be the winning smoothie and thanks to everyone who entered. 

Before I go, I will just try and tempt you with my Top 10 Smoothies for Babies and Toddlers over on Baby Centre.

New in my Kitchen #7

Here are the newest discoveries in my kitchen.

I might like or hate a product, but I will be honest about it.

Let me know if you've made any great new discoveries.

 1. Fruyo Fat Free Greek Yoghurt 
by Total

I always have a tub of Total Greek Yoghurt in my fridge. A stonking big one at that. I use it for desserts, smoothies, baking and cooking. It's one of my staples. So I was keen to try their new Fruyo range. A quick tweet and they sent me this picnic pack of yoghurts. Result!

Fruyo is their new range of fruit yoghurts, which are fat free, gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians.

The yoghurts come in vanilla, pineapple, peach and cherry.

The pineapple was my favourite, it was really lush and so flavourful. I also loved the peach and Vanilla. The vanilla had the real flavour of vanilla, not that fake sweet flavour. However, I won't be buying the cherry one again, it just wasn't for me.

The pots are 170g and come in at 82 calories. They are thick and satisfying enough for me to have for lunch with a piece of fruit on my fast days.

The only downside, is my local Tesco doesn't stock them yet.

RRP  £1.09 any 4 FOR £3.50 (Waitrose) - at time of going to press

Score 9/10
Score (cherry flavour) 5/10

2. Lime Green Polka Dot Drinking Straws

You might have noticed from my smoothie posts, that i like to serve my smoothies with a paper straw.

Apart from the fact they look bonnie in photos, they are also much nicer to drink out of than plastic. Cooper loves them.

I am always on the search for some cheap paper straws and I found these beauties on Amazon. They also do these in red yellow and black. For some reason the red straws are cheaper.

RRP £1.20 (99p delivery charge)

Score 9/10


We don't have many takeaways in this house, but we do have a notion for one now and again.

I have actually used this service before and found it useful, so I was happy to do a review for them.

Just in case you haven't used JUST EAT before, they are an online takeaway service. Just pop onto their website, pop in your postcode and have a browse. You can look at all the takeaway restaurants in your area, or thin the search down by selecting from:

  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese
  • English 
  • European
  • Fish & Chips
  • Indian
  • Italian
  • Kebabs
  • Lebanese
  • Mediterranean
  • Pakistani
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Thai 
  • Turkish

We decided to try some takeaway from their Chinese Takeaway Restaurants and plumped for the Mayfair Garden. When we landed on the restaurant page, we found the name and address of the restaurant, opening times, customer reviews and the menu.

I know you will be as nosey as I am so here is what the 5 of us had:

Pcs.NameDescriptionUnit PriceTotal

1 X 26. Mini Vegetarian Spring Rolls (12)(Starters) - £ 2.70£ 2.70
1 X 53. Deep Fried Onion Rings in Batter (12)(Specials) - £ 2.50£ 2.50
1 X 65. Fried Rice (Regular)(Side Dishes) - £ 1.80£ 1.80
2 X 75. Chopsticks(Side Dishes) - £ 1.00£ 2.00
1 X 155. Tofu (Deep Fried) (In Batter)(Sweet & Sour Dishes) - £ 5.30£ 5.30

+ Fried rice
£ 0.30
1 X 155. Tofu (Deep Fried) (In Batter)(Sweet & Sour Dishes) - £ 5.30£ 5.30

+ Fried rice
£ 0.30
1 X 186. Kung Po Tofu(Tofu Dishes) - £ 5.00£ 5.00

+ Boiled Rice
£ 0.00
1 X 153. Sweet & Sour Duck (Hong Kong Style)(Sweet & Sour Dishes) - £ 6.00£ 6.00

+ Fried rice
£ 0.30

Delivery price: £ 1.50

Total:£ 33.00

With each main dish we were given further options of the type of rice or noodles we wanted.

To sum it up, we had a good experience with the service. It's great being able to browse through different menus and order online. If you haven't used a restaurant before, the reviews come in handy and we really enjoyed our meal.  

RRP varies

Score 9/10 

 4. Tacos

You probably won't believe me, but I have never eaten tacos before.

Flour tortillas, yes all the time, but never tacos. 

My first venture into tacoland came when I decided to have a try at making these Spicy Veggie Tacos.  

The savoury mince contained within is soya mince, onion and bell peppers cooked in a plethora of spices. 

The tacos were delicious. The soft spicy mince and peppers inside the crispy tacos on top of crisp,cool iceberg lettuce. I served them with homemade chunky guacamole, grated cheddar and sour cream. 

They were a triumph!

I used Old El Paso Taco Shells.
RRP £1.54 (Tesco)

Score 9/10 

 5. Freedom Mallows

I love marshmallows!

I don't get to eat them very often as they always have gelatin. *picture my sad face*

My friend Tanita brought me some back from America and they were heavenly. My friend Andrew brought me some back from America and they weren't so good. I guess you need to know which brand to buy.


Vegetarian Freedom Marshmallows!

The are little yellow pillows of scrumptiousness! I am unsure if the rabbits on the pack relate to the mallows being rabbit dropping shape (surely not) or the fact they are suitable for vegetarians. 

They are fat free, gelatine free, gluten free, dairy free. They contain all natural colours and flavourings and no high fructose corn syrup. They are our friends!

They are approved by the Vegetarian Society and are suitable for Vegans and Halal.

We were sent three bags. I thought we will eat some and I will bake with some. Unfortunately all three bags were scoffed by myself, Graham and Cooper very quickly.

My only warning is don't eat a whole bag at once as they do become sickly on over consumption! 

Now I am just waiting for the Marshmallow Lady (gourmet marshmallows) in Edinburgh to conquer big pillowy vegan/veggie marshmallows and I will be ecstatic.

Vegetarian Freedom Mallows
RRP £2.50 per 75g bag

Score 10/10 

Well a really positive round-up today. I doesn't always work out like that, but this month I have been pleased with my newbies.

What's new in your kitchen?

Disclosure: I was sent the yoghurt, voucher for Just Eat and mallows to review. Everything else I purchased. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own. 

The Good Food Channel

Here is my latest veggie burger, topped with halloumi and sweet chilli jam.

Like the look of it?

Well I am afraid the recipe isn't here, it is over at The Good Food Channel and is my first recipe published there. If that isn't exciting enough, they also interviewed me. You can read the interview on The Good Food Channel too.

If you haven't heard of The Good Food Channel you should head over and have a look. It is very popular here in the UK and is a foodies delight with over 16,000 recipes to browse through,,

My bean burger features cannellini beans, kidney beans and black beans. It has no egg or dairy and has a lovely spicy kick.

It is of course suitable for vegans, although my suggestion to top it with Halloumi rather spoils that claim!

They have also published my recipe for sweet chilli jam which is sensational, if I do say so myself.

Thanks to Katie Bryson over at Feeding Boys and a Firefighter for choosing Tinned Tomatoes as one of her favourite blogs.

In other news, I have also been published on Great British Chefs.

I have my own author page over there and three recipes so far.

The first recipe is a Green Lentil, Potato and Mushroom Burger.

The second recipe is Quinoa, Puy Lentil and Halloumi salad with Courgette

My third recipe is a Stuffed Picnic Loaf

Green Lentil, Potato & Mushroom Burger

Quinoa, Puy Lentil and Halloumi Salad with Courgette

Stuffed Picnic Loaf

While I am at it, I may as well promote my latest posts on Baby Centre too.

I also have an author page on Baby Centre UK.

You will find a lot of articles there. I write recipes and family articles every Friday for Baby Centre.

The blog page over their is a great read if you are a parent.

My latest posts:

As you can see I am very busy. I don't know at times how I manage it all. I really don't.

Luckily at the moment, I am enjoying some rest, relaxation and sunshine in Cyprus with my family and here I am blogging. Hmmmm! 

If you have time please head over to my recipes on The Good Food Channel or Great British Chefs and leave a comment or give it a facebook/google+ like.

A bit of support is always good when you have a new venture.


Strawberry and Spinach Cooler Smoothie

My latest smoothie is sludgy swamp green, but don't be fooled, it's really refreshing.

This is my entry for this month's No Croutons Required. Yes, it's usually a soup and salad challenge, but if you think about it, a smoothie containing veg is a bit like a smooth raw soup.

If you would like to join in, post your own smoothie, which should contain at least one piece of salad or veg. Think carrots, spinach, cucumber, avocado, courgette........ I have a list of ideas on my No Croutons Required announcement post, where you can also add your creation to the linky. You have until the 20th to join in.

My smoothie is made of strawberries, spinach and cucumber.


Just in case you are wondering, I got my gorgeous glass cappuccino cup and saucer from Whittard.  Such an elegant way to serve a smoothie, don't you think?

print recipe

Strawberry and Spinach Cooler Smoothie
Fresh summer strawberries whizzed up with baby spinach and cucumber to make a refreshing and healthy green smoothie.
  • 300g strawberries
  • a large handful baby spinach
  • ¼ cucumber
  • 1 tsp wheatgrass juice powder (optional)
  • 250ml/1 cup apple juice
1. Rinse the strawberries, spinach and cucumber and pat dry.2. Whizz all the ingredients in a blender.3. Add a few ice cubes, if you have a powerful blender.4. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: 4-6 glasses

Disclosure: I was sent the cup and saucer by Whittard, I was not required to give a positive review and any opinions expressed were my own.

Spicy Veggie Tacos with Chunky Guacamole

This week I had my first post published on Great British Chefs. They were looking for a post on BBQs or barbies as I like to call then, so I created a new veggie burger, a Green Lentil, Potato and Mushroom Burger.

I was really pleased with my new burger. It's easy to make, very frugal and healthy. It contains no eggs or dairy and is made with only a few simple ingredients.
  • green lentils
  • potatoes
  • mushrooms
  • garlic
  • porridge oats
  • seeds
  • spices
Do pop over and have a read of my first post and check out my author page. Of course likes, tweets and comments are always appreciated.

While I was exploring the site I found they had a great vegetarian recipe collection. They kindly gave me permission to publish a recipe from it, but I had trouble deciding what to make, so I asked Graham to choose and he selected these Spicy Veggie Tacos with Chunky Guacamole. The recipe was created by Michelin star chef Matthew Tomkinson.

We all loved this dish. The spicy mince was really flavourful and it was a great contrast to the crisp iceberg lettuce, cold sour cream and comforting grated cheddar.

Graham enjoyed his without the sour cream and cheese. The next night he had some on flour tortillas instead of tacos and enjoyed those too.

Can you believe this is the first time I have ever eaten a crispy taco? They were a revelation!

Spicy Veggie Mince for Tacos 
Spice veggie mince with green and red peppers. Perfect served inside crispy tacos with iceberg lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and grated cheddar.

  • 454g frozen veggie mince
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • ½ red pepper, sliced
  • &frac12, green pepper, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder or celery salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cornflour 

1. Saute the onion and peppers in the oil for 1 minute in a large pan. 
2. Add the veggie mince and cook gently for 5 minutes. 
3. Add the spices and stir well to combine. 
4. Add 200ml of water to the pan. Bring it to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes, The mixture will thicken. 
5. Keep warm until you are ready to load up the tacos. Serve with shredded iceberg lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and grated cheddar.

Total time:
Yield: Serves 6

The chunky guacamole I served the tacos with was made from 2 avocados, 1 tomato, ½ red onion, 2 tsp olive oil, the juice of ½ lime and fresh coriander.

Everything was chopped roughly, apart from the onion, which I chopped finely, then mixed together and seasoned with salt and pepper.

You should always make this first, so the flavours have time to develop.


Disclosure: Great British Chefs gave me permission to publish this recipe. This is not a sponsored post and I was not paid to write this post. Any opinions expressed are my own.
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