Developing Vegan Muffins

I baked 13 dozen muffins over 4 weeks and 9 iterations to develop this recipe. Yes, that’s 156 muffins. It really helps to have plenty of friends to give them away.

Previous recipes I used did not yield muffins with a bakery-style high domed top . Those recipes were really the same as cupcakes which rose in the oven but shrunk to flat top upon cooling.  This is good for cupcakes  where a flat top allows for frosting. As the event was to be held outdoors and in our humid weather, any kind of frosting would not work. Since there would be no frosting, the cake had to be visually attractive on its own. A bakery style high dome muffin with chocolate chips would look delicious.

I googled for a high dome muffin recipe, combined it with another recipe for coffee muffin and then modified both into a vegan version.

I did an initial 5 iterations of these muffins over 2 days.  I’m glad to have this opportunity to practice and tweak a recipe that finally works. Since then I’ve done 3 other batches so this final version is pretty decent, maybe even awesome. Definitely artisanal.


Version 1. Cuppucino chocolate chip cupcake. This was based on a vegan cupcake recipe which produced a moist, soft delicious cake. The batter is watery and will skew with a forced fan oven. It rose to a high dome in the oven but upon cooling it shrunk to a flat top.  Tasted great but didn’t look appealing. 

Version 2. High dome. I modified a high domed muffin recipe into vegan by switching butter to olive oil, soy milk for cow’s milk, omitted eggs as there already is buttermilk which is an egg substitute. It was 9 pm, almost bedtime, but I was excited to find out how this would work turn out.  I tested a small batch of this modification to see how it would turn out. There was a lovely high top dome that stayed high even upon cooling – success! The texture was too firm but that’s because I later realised that i had wrongly measured out 1 teaspoon instead of 1 tablespoon of vinegar to add to the milk to make buttermilk. This was a plain flavoured. I think they look lovely without the paper liners. Pulling the muffins off the liners tend to leave remnants stuck to the paper. Because the flour content is doubled that of cupcake , it does not skew in a convection oven but holds its shape well.

Version 3. The next morning I woke up with inspiration of creating 4 pattern variations to the same chocolate chips and coffee dough. I halved the batter to create a plain vanila base and the other half a coffee-flavoured batter. The first doz20170311_164454en had a 3 layers of  vanilla / coffee/ vanilla with choc chips sprinkled on top to give a visual contrast against the vanilla batter. The home was filled with the aroma of coffee and chocolate. A cross sectional slice reveal ed the layers. So beautiful!

Version 4. The dark side.  I used brown sugar and expresso to create the entire batter dark brown.  Almond flakes on top have a visual contrast. Again I was very happy to see the dome sustains upon cooling.  ( marked as 4 in the photo)

Version 5. For remaining 2 dozen,  these were prepared together by doubling the ingredients.  I then halved the batter to mix in the coffee flavour and a tIMG-20170311-WA0013ouch of rum. The vanilla batter was firmer than the coffee and malleable enough to pipe. The shape held up well. I piped circles and spirals from the bottom and raising to the top. Here’s the cross sectional cut out. ( marked as 5)

As another variation to the theme I piped criss- crossed patterns but this turned out marbled instead.

I’m so pleased that all the muffins had developed a lovely high top dome. It’s really satisfying to see the magic of chemistry raising the dough in the oven – literally an uplifting experience – wooohuut!



Version 6. Cinnamon-cranberry. Placing the trays on the 2nd and 4th level of my oven exposed them to the full blast of the convection fan. It enabled the dome to rise. 5 minutes at 220 degree C followed by 150 deg.C for 7 minutes. 


Version 7. Chocolate chunks with lemon zest. I’m really pleased that all the muffins rose to the occasion. This was due to the longer 8 minutes at 220 deg C followed by 2 minutes at 150 deg C.  This means the oven spring at initial high temperature causes the beautiful dome. The random  lemon zest gives a surprising tangy kick.




Validation from a fellow baker is indeed high compliment!


Version 8. Naked Blueberry-Nutmeg. No paper liners to mask the lovely body shape. 7 minutes at 220 deg. C.  Switch off oven and allow to rest in oven for another 2 minutes. I used a 1/4 portion of bread flour to give a little bread bread rather than cake texture.

Version 9.  Banana walnut nutmeg muffins with cake flour. The rise in the oven was good but it sank upon cooling – could be due to the cake flour or the increased in banana. Used 4 large bananas. Should try with 2 large or 3 medium sized bananas and stick to plain flour or some bread flour for better structure.


See the next post for the Vegan High Dome Muffin recipe



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