Aquafaba Meringue Succulent Cupcakes
Here’s a new aquafaba meringue project to try out just in time for spring. Aquafaba Meringue Succulent Cupcakes: a vegan meringue succulent cookie dipped in chocolate, and affixed to a chocolate cupcake (“dirt”) snug in a terra cotta pot. It’s so Pinteresting. Bring them to a party, eat them all yourself, or put them on your windowsill with your real plants and admire them for the day. Then reuse the pots for real plants!
I’m not sure how I thought to do this. It was probably a combination of looking at real succulents in real life everywhere ever, frequently visiting the Vegan Meringue – Hits and Misses! Facebook group, and trying to think of a project for these tiny terra cotta pots. A quick Google search confirmed that yes, someone else has already made succulent cupcakes (as is true with most ideas) in terra cotta pots, but I couldn’t find any made out of meringue (or vegan meringue.) So I went for it!
These would be amazing for a spring or summer birthday party, and you could include your guests in the process, especially if it’s a kid’s party or you just really like crafts. Decorate the pots at the beginning of the party, serve the cupcakes in the personalized terra cotta pots, and then pot real succulents as a small gift to take home. TBH, I just ate these all myself at home because I was too focused on painting the pots, experimenting with the succulent meringues, and shooting the photos. But I will make them for an event someday! Or even put them all over a cake, as in the video near the end of this post that I found when searching for succulent piping techniques.
It’s not a quick or super easy recipe. You can skip decorating the terra cotta pots, or skip the pots altogether (opting for cool cupcake liners), but I really like the look of the pots that I painted and gold leaf’d, and plan to use them for seedlings or small succulents. I even made a Pinterest board. But if you want to bring a really impressive dessert to a party, it’s worth the work, time, and practice! A few tips first…
- Depending on the size of your pots, the cupcake liners might be too tall. I used nut/candy cups and cut about 1/2-inch off the top so they didn’t stick out the top of the pot. Try different liner/terra cotta pot combinations to see what works, keeping in mind that the liners may expand once cupcakes are baked.
- Making succulents requires some pastry bag piping skills, so get acquainted with some piping techniques.
- If you are making these cupcakes ahead of time, keep the meringues separate from the cupcakes. If you store the succulent cupcakes in an airtight container overnight, they will MELT.
- Dipping the meringues in chocolate is not optional because it creates a barrier between the meringues and the cupcakes. The moisture of the cake will melt the meringues on contact.
- You color the succulents green when whipping up the meringue. I used Wilton gel food coloring in Leaf Green. If you’d like to decorate the succulents after they’ve been baked, avoid food coloring or other liquids. I used a little bit of luster dust and a dry paintbrush on some of the meringues.
- If you’re new to making meringue, check out my video demo.
Get the recipe:
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup aquafaba (liquid from can of chickpeas)
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon (or as needed) green gel food coloring (I used Wilton)
- 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening or canola oil
- 2-3 terra cotta pots, or your own containers
- Chocolate cookie crumbs, candy or fondant river rocks, edible flowers (optional, for decorating)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place cupcake liners in a muffin tray, then set aside.
- Sift together the flour and cocoa powder in a large bowl, then stir in the sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt.
- Mix together the milk and apple cider vinegar and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk and vinegar mixture, agave nectar, canola oil, and vanilla. Whisk together all the ingredients until combined. The batter should be thick, much like muffin batter.
- Pour into each cupcake liner, filling 1/3 of the cup. Bake for 12-15 minutes until firm. Remove and let cool.
- Study the video below for succulent piping techniques. I searched many videos that show the process of making edible succulents and I think this one is the best! Every resource I found used buttercream or fondant, but the buttercream techniques will work the same for meringue.
- Get your workspace and piping bags prepared. Once you understand the technique and feel comfortable trying it yourself, make the meringue.
- For piping the succulents, I used leaf tip techniques in this video. I used tape to stick the parchment square to the flower nail so it comes off cleanly for baking.
- Preheat oven to 220°F.
- To make the aquafaba meringue, combine the aquafaba, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a stand mixer equipped with a balloon whisk or a large bowl (if you have a hand mixer).
- Turn the stand mixer on medium-high and whip until peaks form. Continue whipping on high, gradually adding the sugar. Add the vanilla extract and whip until the mixture is very thick. Add more food coloring if desired. I had trouble with the meringue deflating if I added it at the very end in large amounts (hence why it’s added before whipping).
- Remove your bowl from the stand mixer and pipe as many succulents as you desire! Set each parchment square on a baking sheet. Bake for 2 hours until the meringues are dehydrated.
- Melt the chocolate chips with the shortening or oil, then dip the bottoms of each meringue succulent in chocolate. Set aside until the chocolate hardens. Reserve the leftover chocolate or melt 1/4 cup more chocolate chips if necessary.
- Place the cupcakes in each terra cotta pot. Dab a small amount of chocolate on top of each cupcake, then stick a succulent meringue (or 2 or 3, depending on what you made!) on top. Decorate with cookie crumbs, candy or fondant rocks, or edible flowers, if desired.
Do not store succulent cupcakes in an airtight container. A cardboard cake box will be fine short term, but meringues and cupcakes should be stored separately and assembled at the last minute, if possible. I know, so many rules!
I really like how this particular design turned out, and I bet making a huge variety of colors, sizes, and types of succulents would be pretty great. Make some cacti, or another plant entirely. Try it out, then let me know!
Finally, you may have noticed I updated the site design a little bit, and added some new stuff to the sidebar, including a link to the Seitan Beats Your Meat/Kelly Peloza Photo SHOP. If you enjoy the food photography on SBYM, you can get food photography art prints and greeting cards from the shop (as well as cookbooks and more!).