The biggest challenge of vegan baking is to create moist, light and rich-tasting cake without eggs and butter, the traditional binding ingredients for pastry dough. “I use a combination of baking soda and vinegar — it may sound gross, but it works chemically to bind the cupcakes,” Ms. Coscarelli said. “If the flavor is there, it doesn’t matter what kinds of ingredients you’re using to hold it all together.”
For frosting, traditional bakers use butter or shortening, whipping it with powdered sugar and other ingredients. Ms. Coscarelli substitutes organic refined coconut oil or nonhydrogenated margarines to achieve the same creamy texture. Other winning ingredients, like fresh raspberries and pure dark chocolate, are vegan to begin with.