Vegan ‘Dirt’ Cupcakes

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was conducting vegan experiments on a new birthday cake for TVC (The Vegan Colleague – he’s been mentioned that many times in my blog that he can have a proper name now). I firstly came up with a rather moist and zesty Pineapple Coconut Cake with Lime Syrup and in keeping with the tropical, fruity theme, I tried another cake with a similar base but using caramelised mango. I was about to tinker further with the mango idea but at the last minute, I decided to go the chocolate route again.

Vegan 'Dirt' Cupcakes

You may or may not know this but vegans refer to Oreo cookies as an accidentally vegan food item; that is, it probably wasn’t intended to be vegan but it happened to be manufactured that way. It’s actually no real surprise given products that contain egg, butter and milk are generally not cheap. Oreos, on the other hand, are very cheap (about 1 AUD a box) because it’s made of cheaper ingredients such as vegetable shortening and sugar. Not a terribly healthy snack alternative but ethically sound :)

Vegan 'Dirt' Cupcakes

I don’t think I am the first person to consider making an Oreo based cake or dessert so this recipe won’t be anything too mind-snappingly original to vegans but with the help of my Thermomix, I’ve made a cupcake with a fun twist, especially for vegan kiddies. I blitzed about six Oreo cookies up to make ‘dirt’. You can blitz it less to make ‘sand’ if you prefer.

Vegan 'Dirt' Cupcakes

The vanilla vegan frosting is rather delicious and even more fluffy than the Copha/butter based one I’ve made before thanks to Crisco (not a diet product at all…). The chocolate cupcake itself is a rich, dark delight thanks to a good dash of espresso. Thrown together, my vegan ‘dirt’ cupcakes were enjoyed by TVC and even non-vegans in the office. Hooray for Oreos!

Vegan 'Dirt' Cupcakes

Vegan ‘Dirt’ Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes (based on a recipe from this book)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp white vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 vanilla pod
1 cup strongly brewed coffee
a little soy milk or water to thin out mixture if too doughy

To make: Pre-heat oven to 165ºC. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. In a stand mixer bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt until well combined. Add the vegetable oil and vanilla and mix until just combined. Slowly add the coffee, mixing for a few minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix again until very smooth. Mix baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl and allow to fizz. Add soda mix to bowl and combine well. If the cake mix seems a little too doughy and not easy to move a spoon through, add a little of the soy milk or water to thin out. Spoon mixture into cupcake liner and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before frosting.

Vegan Vanilla Frosting with Oreo ‘Dirt’

1/2 cup Crisco
1 3/4 cups sifted icing sugar
1/2 vanilla pod
2 tbsp soy milk

6 Oreo cookies, blitzed into dirt in Thermomix (Speed 9 for 10 seconds) or ground to liking in food processor.

To make: In a food processor or TMX, add all ingredients together and combine until smooth and fluffy. Spread frosting on cupcakes and dunk into a small bowl of the Oreo ‘Dirt’ if making ‘Dirt’ cupcakes. Otherwise decorate with broken up Oreo pieces or enjoy with plain frosting.



  1. Nic@diningwithastud

    November 15, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Delicious! I love the Oreo dirt haha

    • Monica

      November 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm

      Thanks :) I nearly ate the dirt all up on its own :D

  2. Jan Littlehales

    November 16, 2011 at 11:21 am

    These vegan dirt cupcakes look absolutely fantastic! I’m not vegan, but would happily tuck into one of these. Great photos too :)

    • Monica

      November 17, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks! It’s been fun experimenting with vegan cakes :)

  3. Astrid

    November 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I love the sound of these! I will definitely give them a go. I have to cook for a few gluten free people in my office so I know the lengths to which one goes to experiment and make stuff for colleagues who have food intolerances!

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