Thanks to everyone who made it out to the Parisian Cupcake Event last week! Fifteen cupcake enthusiasts joined me as I showed how to make ordinary cupcakes into stunning, delicious confections using tricks I learned while on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.”



I’ve posted the recipes for Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Ganache and Carrot Cake with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting below. The event was held at chez Neobento on 5 Rue Filles des Calvaires, 3eme, in the Marais district in Paris. Thank you so much again to Lio and Manu for letting us host the class in their beautiful space. Visit them Wednesday through Sunday for delicious organic fare, with 27 dishes inspired from travels from Tokyo to Paris, like fennel, avocado and orange salad, quinoa tabbouleh with cucumber and fresh herbs, and sweet and salty mini Japanese meatballs –

Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes with Espresso Ganache

Makes: 12 cupcakes

  • 1 and  1/4 cups all-purpose flour (type 55)
  • 1 cup sugar (sucre en poudre)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (cacao en poudre)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate alimentaire)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil (huile vegetal, tournesol, pepin de raisin)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar


  • 250 g soy milk or ‘soja cuisine’ / lait de soja
  • 250 g dark chocolate /chocolat noir (good quality; 70% cacao; good brands: Valrhona, Callebaut)
  • espresso capsules (like for your Nespresso machine); or a handful of whole or ground coffee beans


Sift/tamisez together all dry ingredients – flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda. This is a very important step, or your batter will be lumpy. Then add together all the wet ingredients – water, oil and vinegar. Fill cupcake pans 2/3 full, using paper liners if desired, and bake at 175 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, until cake springs back when touched lightly, and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool about 10 minutes then remove from mold.

While cake is baking, heat cream in a small sauce pan with your coffee flavoring of choice. Place chocolate into a small bowl, and have a strainer/passoir ready. Let cream come to a boil, then pour into the strainer over the chocolate. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then take a small spatula/marys and stir in small circles to emulsify the cream and chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap/film alimentaire, making sure the plastic touches the ganache directly. Place in refrigerator to help ganache set faster, will take about 1-2 hours until the frosting/glacage is firm enough to frost your cupcakes with. Make sure cupcakes are completely cool before frosting or your ganache will melt. Store ganache outside at room temperature to keep it nice and soft for frosting.

Ideas for decor: Chocolate covered coffee beans, white chocolate shavings, sprinkles, half a fresh strawberry or raspberries.


Carrot Cake with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes: about 12 cupcakes


  • 260 g grated carrots (carottes rapes)
  • 1 each grated green apples (les pomme verts (Granny) rapes)
  • 230 g canned crushed pineapple (squeeze out liquid)
  • 285 g sugar (sucre en poudre)
  • 6 g cinnamon (canelle en poudre)
  • 360 g all-purpose flour (type 55)
  • 6 g salt
  • 10 g baking soda (bicarbonate alimentaire)
  • 3 each eggs
  • 187 g oil

Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 510 g cream cheese, softened (either use Philadelphia brand or plain ‘fromage a tartiner’)
  • 170 g butter (doux), softened
  • 170 g powdered sugar / sucre glace – sift / tamisez through a strainer / passoir (very important)
  • lemon essential oil (huile d’essentiel citron)  or 1 lemon for zesting


Mix eggs and oil together with the paddle attachment in your mixer, or use a handmixer.  Add all dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add carrots, apple and pineapple; mix together until just combined. Bake at 175 degrees Celsius until browned on top and cake springs backs when touched in center.

Frosting: Make sure cream cheese and butter is completely soft; leave outside for about an hour. Very important to sift / tamisez the powdered sugar as well. In a medium bowl, place cream cheese and butter inside and mix well. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth and creamy. Using a grater or zest, add in just the yellow zest of the outside of a lemon; or a few drops of lemon essential oil. You can also try the zest of an orange or clementine; or the essentials oils of each. Frosting is now ready to use; keep left-over frosting in the refrigerator.

Frost your cupcakes and enjoy! If you are not serving your cupcakes immediately, store them in the refrigerator (cream cheese will spoil).

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