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 Vanilla Cupcakes

We just celebrated the first staff birthday of the year here at the VNHQ, which means one thing: Cake season has arrived! After a short respite from holiday treats, cake is back in our lives—and we say welcome back. Whether you make these super-simple cupcakes from our vegan dessert expert Beverly Lynn Bennett for a birthday or for your Oscars' party this weekend, you can't go wrong with their perfectly delicious vanilla flavor.

Makes 24 cupcakes

What You Need for the Batter:

4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 cups unbleached sugar
4-1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
3⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1-2⁄3 cups filtered water
1⁄3 cup fresh lemon juice
1⁄3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla

What You Need for the Frosting:

3⁄4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
5 cups powdered sugar
1⁄4 cup non-dairy milk of choice
1 teaspoon vanilla

What You Do:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together pastry flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together water, lemon juice, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir well to combine.

2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Carefully fill each liner nearly full, leaving just a little rim of paper showing. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the tins before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

3. To prepare the frosting, in a large bowl, beat margarine for 1 minute using a mixer. Add powdered sugar, non-dairy milk, and vanilla, and beat 3 to 5 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Use a small spatula or knife to spread the frosting over the tops of the cupcakes.

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San Francisco, California