Vegan chocolate cupcakes with pretzel crust


Who doesn't love pretzels? Okay, maybe a lot of people. Pretzels for me are a "roadtrip" food now – my dear friend Lóa and I were making a winter drive between Reykjavik and Akureyri in Iceland and stopped at a gas station. I randomly picked up a bag of pretzels, which we would not really have considered but turned out to be such a great idea that we now consider pretzels as our main roadtrip food. (Heaven knows we have had the opportunity to take unintentionally long roadtrips – especially when I got us lost in western Sweden and Norway.)

I have a lot of baking recipes and ideas that pull pretzels in and incorporate their salty goodness (and who doesn't love salty goodness?) into sweet stuff. Pretzels and chocolate sound like they would be a lovely mix – so I found a recipe somewhere comprised of a crushed-pretzel-crusted chocolate cupcake. In fact, the cake part is vegan, which is rather cool considering that I have long planned to delve into some vegan baking options but have not managed until now.

As far as I can tell, these turned out fine – the people who ate them seemed to approve.

Vegan chocolate cupcakes with pretzel crust recipe

Pretzel Crust
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups crushed salted pretzels
1/4 cup melted vegan margarine (or butter, if you are not going vegan)

Combine crushed pretzels and melted margarine. Mix stir until moistened. Line a cupcake tin with liners and fill the bottom of each liner with about a tablespoon of the pretzel mixture. Flatten/press mixture together to form a solid base/crust. Set aside

Vegan chocolate cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
1/3 cup almond milk (or water)

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt). Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, oil, coffee, and almond milk. Mix the batter until smooth.

Pour batter over pretzel crusts. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool to room temperature before frosting. I think the original recipe source frosted these with peanut butter frosting, which would be a lovely complement to the chocolate and pretzels. I, however, decided to make a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and then topped the cupcakes with mini pretzels.

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