Vegan Rum ‘n’ Raisin Cupcakes

A month ago, I moved back to Poole, for the first time in nearly 5 years. Much though I loved living independently, and Bristol was a really cool city, I couldn’t resist the cheaper rents down here and call of the seaside. I got a new job in Bournemouth – say hello to All About History‘s new Features Editor, y’all – and decided to turn over a new leaf in my life.

That means more self-care, more working on my mental health/self esteem, and less caring too much about what other people think. It also means getting back into old hobbies I haven’t been able to dedicate so much time to – including baking.

My baking is now pretty much 100% vegan, and I’m slowly edging towards complete veganism, which is a target of mine for the near future. You do struggle a bit when you’re finding good substitutes for egg, though, which is quite a tricky ingredient to replace.

My friend Tarryne got me this vegan cookbook, which had been recommended to me. It’s called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and let me tell you, it’s the best source for vegan baking I’ve found to date. I only wish it had recipes for things other than cupcakes in there, but hey, it’s a start. The egg is replaced by a concoction of soy milk, oil and vinegar, but you have to be careful and follow the proportions to the letter.

This recipe is stolen/adapted from there, and was a resounding success with everyone – from my vegan friends to my anti-vegan family.


Bloody delicious, but also bloody boozy.


For the sponge

  • 115g raisins/sultanas, chopped a bit but not necessary
  • 200ml soy milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 75ml vegetable/sunflower oil
  • 170g demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp black treacle OR golden syrup if you don’t have that
  • 1 tbsp rum – cheapo own brand stuff, but omit if making halal
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

For the glaze 

  • 55ml rum
  • 3 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 25g vegan margarine

For the buttercream

  • 55g vegan margarine, room temperature
  • 175g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp black treacle/golden syrup, optional
  • Some walnut halves, optional
  • Grated nutmeg, optional


  • To make the cakes, preheat your oven to 175°c, and line a muffin tin with 12 cases.
  • Mix together your chopped raisins and rum, and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  • While that’s soaking, whisk together your soy milk and vinegar and leave for a few minutes to curdle. Stir if it looks like it’s separating, but don’t worry if it doesn’t look like it’s curdling. It’ll be fine.
  • Get a large bowl out, pour the soy/vinegar mix into it.
  • While stirring, add in the oil, sugar, treacle, rum and vanilla until it’s combined.
  • Then, sift in the flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and nutmeg. Keep stirring until you make an even mix.
  • Stir in your rummy raisins.
  • Pour into cupcake cases, about 2/3 of the way up.
  • Put in the oven for 18-20 minutes, turning halfway through. Check at 18 minutes to see if a skewer comes out clean, if not put them back in for another few minutes.
  • While your cakes are cooking, make the glaze so it’s ready to put onto the cakes as soon as they’re out the oven – it soaks better into them that way.


  • To make the glaze, put the rum and demerara sugar into a saucepan. Heat until it bubbles over a medium heat, leave to bubble for about a minute, then turn it down.
  • When all the sugar is dissolved, heat until it resembles a thin and light coloured syrup. Don’t rush this otherwise you’ll burn it!
  • Take it off the heat and mix in the margarine and vanilla. Stir occasionally until you’re ready to put them on the cakes.
  • When the cakes come out of the oven warm, put the glaze over them a teaspoon at a time. Spread any leftover glaze evenly amongst the cupcakes.
  • Leave to cool completely over a wire rack.


  • Stir the margarine, rum and sifted icing sugar together, until it’s all mixed together. Try to stop the sugar going everywhere by beating at a slow speed first, then turning it up when it’s combined.
  •  Add vanilla and then syrup, if you’re using, and mix until combined.
  • Beat until it’s fluffy and light. If it’s too wet, add a bit of icing sugar at a time. If it’s too dry, add a dribble of soy milk.
  • Put clingfilm over it and chuck it into the fridge until you’re ready to use it.


  • Put buttercream into piping bag with medium/large sized star nozzle.
  • Pipe over the cooled cakes – make sure you’re directly above them, not at an angle, otherwise it’ll come out weird. Start at the outside and go in rings until you get to the centre, at which point you can use a knife to stop the buttercream if it’s a bit too solid!
  • Put a walnut half at the centre of each piping ring – it helps to cover up any uneven piping – and grate nutmeg over each one.


These are delicious, not too sweet, and very boozy. If you didn’t want to use rum I might suggest using something else, perhaps some white grape juice or cream soda that’s gone a bit flat.

Enjoy your cruelty-free cupcakes!

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