Alien's Day Out

Vegan Ginger Molasses Cupcakes with Bbopki Candy


This past Saturday, I got busy making cupcakes to take to my friend’s birthday party. Whenever it’s a friend’s birthday, I take it as an opportunity to improve my baking skillz and get creative with recipes, so this time I tried out three different cupcake flavors. Chocolate-orange, ginger-molasses, and banana-chocolate. I didn’t bother to photograph the banana cupcakes because they were rather plain-looking, especially compared to the other two. Just plain banana cake with frosting mixed with some dark cocoa powder because I didn’t have any chocolate chips to melt.

Chocolate-orange cupcakes with orange buttercream frosting and zest on top! I remember the first time I had a wedge of Terry’s Chocolate Orange (long before I went vegan) and fell in love with the combination of chocolate and orange. For the cake base, I used this recipe and added about 1 tsp of orange extract and 1 Tbs of orange zest to the batter. I’ve used this basic chocolate cake recipe a few times and really love it for its simplicity yet delicious results: rich, chocolately, moist (sorry if you hate that word… hehe) cake every time.

For the third flavor, I made some ginger cinnamon cupcakes with molasses buttercream frosting and a piece of homemade bbopki on top.

Bbopki is a traditional Korean street candy that uses only two ingredients: sugar an baking soda. The texture is very crunchy and airy, and it basically tastes like burnt marshmallow. :) I remember when I was a kid visiting Korea, I used to spend so much time just watching the neighborhood bbopki ajuhshi making these candies. I always tried so hard to carefully eat around the stenciled shape in the middle so that I could get another one for free. I was never successful though. Too clumsy perhaps.

Ok, back to the cupcake. For the cake part, I used the recipe for gingerbread cupcakes from VCTOTW but made so many modifications that it doesn’t resemble the original recipe much. Instead of maple syrup I used cane sugar. I  also reduced the amount of molasses and oil, left out the soy yogurt, added some apple cider vinegar, and finally added some freshly grated ginger to up the spice factor. Yea, I was definitely experimenting…. The cake ended up a bit crumbly, so next time I might add a chia egg or tofu to bind things together. But taste-wise, it was pretty great! I love ginger and molasses together. As for the frosting, I just added some maple extract and a tiny bit of black-strap molasses to give it a little brownish hue. It started separating a bit, so I won’t post the recipe (I can’t remember the measurements anyway…). It still tasted good though!

Vegan Ginger Molasses Cupcakes
(adapted from the Gingerbread Cupcakes in VCTOTW)

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 cup soy milk (I used the thick, unsweetened Yeonsei Univ organic soy milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup black-strap molasses
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 Tbs fresh grated ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350F or 175C. Prepare cupcake pan with paper liners.
2. Sift all the dry ingredients together.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the soy milk and vinegar and leave for a minute to curdle. Then add salt, canola oil, molasses, sugar, and grated ginger. Mix well.
4. Combine the wet with the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
5. Spoon batter into prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Bbopki Candy
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
1/8 tsp baking soda (a small pinch)

To make your own bbopki, you basically melt about 1.5 Tbs of sugar in a ladel over the stove, stirring the whole time with a wooden chopstick. I used organic unrefined cane sugar, but usually it is made with white sugar, and you might get better results with that. Once the sugar starts bubbling take it off the heat and add a pinch of baking soda and mix vigorously as it begins to foam. Then bang it out onto a gently oiled metal pan and press down on it with a metal flattening thingymabob. I actually just used my spatula to spread it out thinly, but you gotta do it fast because it will start hardening immediately and you could end up with a stringy mess. Also, before it fully hardens, use cookie cutters or a knife to press shapes into it. I just pressed a grid pattern into it so that it would be easy to break apart. Mine didn’t turn out as good as the ones you get on the street, but it came out decent enough for cupcake-garnishing.

Here they are boxed up. For those in Seoul, you can get these paper cupcake carriers at the Bangsan Baking Market and they come in various sizes too.

Cupcake party time~~ !


  1. As I know, most baking powder(soda) is made from milk.
    Did you get a vegan baking soda? If yes, where can I get it?

    • Hi 골컴, baking powder and baking soda are vegan. They are not made from milk… You can get them at most supermarkets or the Bangsan Baking market.

  2. Those look really good. I’m drooling.

  3. oh yum! what gorgeous cupcakes for your friend. thanks for sharing your recipe, i cant wait to make em! I have made something like that candy before, except with corn syrup–it was an austrailian “honeycomb” candy recipe, I love the reaction part, its so exciting..and sweeet.

    • Thanks for the comment Katy! Ooo, I wonder if it would work with rice syrup too or even agave…? :)

      • I think it definitely would! and I would feel so much happier about making that candy. Wholesome syrup rules, corn syrup drools..good ol childish taunt :)

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