Chloe Corscarelli's vegan chocolate strawberry cupcakes

Make these tasty cakes that helped the L.A. baker win first place on Cupcake Wars

Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Frosting & finishing

2/3 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
2 2/3 cups plus 1 tbsp. sifted powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
About 4 tbsp. nondairy milk, such as soy, almond, or rice
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.

2. Make cupcakes: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup water, the oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and whisk until just combined.

3. Divide batter among cupcake cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely in pan.

4. Make frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat shortening, 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar, and the vanilla together to mix. Beat in nondairy milk 1 tbsp. at a time and beat until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

5. Cut tops off cupcakes and set aside. Smooth about 1 tbsp. frosting onto each cupcake and cover with a few strawberries. Replace top, then add a dollop of frosting and a few tiny slices of strawberry. Put remaining 1 tbsp. powdered sugar in a fine-mesh strainer and dust cupcakes with sugar.

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