Whole-Grain Vegan Cranberry-Nut Muffins: no milk, no butter, no eggs? No problem!

IMG_7136-1

Did you know the term “vegan” has been around since 1944?

And that the American Vegan Society has been in existence for over 50 years?

And you thought “no animal products” cooking and baking was something new, eh?

Perhaps more folks are actually embracing the practice these days. And communication is so much faster, news of food trends travels like lightning.

But whatever the reason, you’ll probably encounter someone “eating vegan” at some point in your travels – and quite possibly during the upcoming holiday season.

How do you bake vegan?

It can be a challenge. Without eggs, butter, cream, or milk, certain types of baking can be problematic.

Yeast bread is easy; great bread can be made with nothing more than flour, water, yeast, salt, and time.

But cake without butter, eggs, or milk (or sour cream, or yogurt)?

That’s tougher. Literally.

Though it doesn’t have to be. Cake Pan Cake, our version of a time-honored, stir-it-up-in-the-pan cake (a.k.a. Wacky Cake) has been around since at least the Great Depression. It’s as moist and flavorful a cake as you could ever imagine. And it’s vegan.

As are these Whole-Grain Vegan Cranberry Nut Muffins, which get their beautifully moist texture from…

Well, I’m not going to spoil the secret! Read on…

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Lightly grease the wells of a muffin pan; or line the pan with paper liners, and grease the liners.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

2 1/4 cups (9 1/2 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup diced walnuts or pecans, optional

Whisk to combine.

Whisk together the following:

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups tomato juice or blended vegetable juice (e.g., V8)

Yes, tomato juice. Why tomato juice? It adds the acidity necessary for the baking soda to work, giving these muffins the boost that ordinarily might come from sour cream or yogurt.

And don’t worry; your muffins won’t taste like tomatoes. Don’t make the mistake I did, though; I used Spicy Hot V8 and oh, my, the muffins were QUITE spicy!

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Don’t over-mix, stir just until everything is moistened.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. A level (to slightly heaped) muffin scoop of batter for each muffin works well here.

The cups will be fairly full.

Sprinkle the tops with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.

Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes.

They’ll dome nicely, and become lightly browned around the edges.

Remove the muffins from the oven.

Transfer them to a rack to cool.

Or to break open and enjoy in all their warm, dairy-free/vegan, whole-grain goodness.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Whole-Grain Vegan Cranberry-Nut Muffins.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. brenda53

    It is so great to see vegan recipes presented!! This blog presents so many fabulous recipes, but this is the first vegan one that I’ve seen!

    As someone who has been vegan for over 30 years, I hope there will be many more vegan recipes!! After all, they appeal not only to vegans, but also to those allergic to milk or eggs!

    Reply
  2. Rachel

    I have a friend allergic to gluten, dairy, and eggs. Do you have any magically tasty recipes up your sleeves for that?

    Rachel, that’s a REALLY tough combo of allergies, as far as baking is concerned. Best bet would be to check our gluten-free recipe section, and see if you can find anything there… PJH

    Reply
  3. mboone5758

    I’m allergic to cow protein since an early age. My Grandmother used goat milk; not for me.

    I use SO Delicious coconut milk, and Kroger as well as Publix brand soy milk. Vanilla sweetened is great for baking sweet items. Unsweetened plain is good for savory baking. Coconut oil and olive oil works for butter. There is also an egg replacer, but you can use ground flax seeds.

    Lots of ways to bake and stay non-dairy for reasons beside the typical. Allergies of all kinds in my family.

    Reply
  4. Vladimir

    Looks excellent. Would you expect other juices (e.g., orange, or apple cider) to work as well? There would certainly be required acidity.

    Worth a try, Vladimir – no guarantees, since tomato was the only one I tried, but it makes sense, doesn’t it? PJH

    Reply
  5. "selina wang"

    I love the way you write. It’s so much fun to get the recipes from this blog with addition words and pictures. Thank you for this! :)

    I just made these delicious muffins with orange juice instead of tomato juice since that’s what we had. They “were” tart and sweet.

    They “are” all gone.

    Reply
  6. Tonia

    @Vladimir — You could use orange juice in place of the tomato, but apple juice wouldn’t have enough acidity. The plus would be that cranberries and orange go really well together. :-)

    Reply
  7. "Philippa Sonnichsen"

    I had just about given up on King Arthur Flour since there seemed to be nothing for vegans. Thanks so very much for providing this recipe. I hope this is another indication that people are starting to notice the health benefits a vegan diet offers.

    Reply
  8. jnmcclin

    This seems to be a lot of sugar. For 2 cups flour I normally use 1/2 cup of sugar. Is it because of the tomato juice or are these really sweet?

    I have a friend whose son is allergic to eggs. This is a real help, she is going to try the recipe.

    Apparently in muffins you don’t need the emulsifying power of the eggs. Can you give me any details about that? Can I just add a little extra oil to make up for eggs in other muffin/ quick bread recipes. Or should I add a little lecithin?

    Jeanette
    Feel free to cut back to 3/4 cup sugar if you’d like and then you can always reduce to 1/2 cup if needed. ~Amy

    Reply
  9. harveyscohen

    I like the taste of regular whole wheat flour. Would this recipe bake differently if I substituted whole wheat for the white whole wheat?
    The muffins would have a different flavor and slightly heavier texture with the traditional whole wheat flour as the white whole wheat is a bit lighter and sweeter. ~Amy

    Reply
  10. surfshigh

    Just made this recipe wonderful muffin gluten free and it was awesome! I used orange juice because I didn’t have tomato juice on hand and it was superb. I added my own streusel topping moving it from superb to heavenenly. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe!

    Reply
  11. control46

    Thank you SO much for featuring a vegan recipe and helping to educate a little bit on vegan baking for those unfamiliar. I hope to see many more vegan recipes from KA in the future :)

    As for the acidity issue, I usually just use some apple cider or white vinegar to react with the baking soda, works perfectly and most vegan cake recipes are written with the vinegar these days.

    Reply
  12. glpruett

    WOW–THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! We have some friends from 39+ years ago who are arriving for a visit tomorrow, and have been vegan for several years now. I have no problem doing the main dishes–we often eat beans-and-rice meals ourselves–but breakfast muffins would have been a challenge without your help! Thanks again, KAF!

    Reply
  13. doubletriggers

    Great muffin
    Second time I experimented, used King Arthur European Style Flour instead, omitted vanilla, and added two tablespoons pure maple syrup.
    I also used hazelnuts instead of walnuts.
    With the holidays upon us you can find whole hazelnuts just about everywhere.
    I spread the whole nuts out on a cookie sheet and roast for 8-10 minutes @ 400degrees.
    Brings out the nuts flavor and there easier to crack.

    Thanks KAF

    Reply
  14. Kathryn, Clear Spring, MD

    Thank you so much for the vegan recipe!!! I’ve been baking everything vegan for the past 4 years (for health reasons), and in doing so, we’ve recently received proof that we have reversed my husband’s heart disease! So, I will be making these very soon!! Thanks again for being such a great company with wonderful products!!

    Kathryn, glad we could oblige. Vegan is a category we need to pay more attention to, for sure; and I look forward to doing just that in the coming months. Enjoy your Thanksgiving muffins! PJH

    Reply
  15. Ann

    These remind me of that old fashioned cake made with canned tomato soup!
    We’ve got that recipe on our site, as Mystery Cake. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go, it’s wonderful! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  16. Jody

    These are delicious!! I am not a vegan but the recipe sounded interesting to me so I decided to try it and I’m very glad I did! I will add these to our Thanksgiving bread basket this year. Would this method work for other muffins and baked goods? Thanks!!

    It’s always fun to tweak a recipe, Jody, changing one or maybe two things at a time. Start with this recipe, and change flours, change add-ins, perhaps change the sweetener – give it a go, then come on back here and share your success! PJH

    Reply
  17. Jess

    Thank you for this recipe! It came out wonderfully! I’d like to try to tweak it so it seems more dessert-y instead of breakfast-y. Would it work in a whole loaf pan or even round cake pan? How big/how many? Can you suggest a vegan icing recipe or other vegan topping for it? I’m hoping this will be a vegan alternate to all the pies at Thanksgiving.
    I don’t see why you couldn’t make these in a loaf pan or 8-inch round cake pan. For a quick glaze, you could mix together some powdered sugar and orange juice or soy/almond milk–or even add some fresh orange zest as well–until you have a drizzling consistency. ~Mel

    Reply
  18. octopod

    This came out really well. I used part white whole wheat and part unbleached flour, ’cause that’s what was around. Tomato juice and V8 have huge amounts of salt, so I used low-sodium V8. Came out fine. Next time, orange juice!

    As we Orthodox Christians fast by eating vegan food about half the days of the year, more vegan recipes would be appreciated.

    I’m working on more vegan recipes right now – it’s a challenging process for someone who’s always relied heavily on eggs and dairy in baking, but it’s interesting, for sure! PJH

    Reply
  19. PJB

    Can I use fresh cranberries instead of dried? Should there be any adjustment to the amount?

    Dried cranberries tend to be sweeter and chewy if they are eaten alone or used in recipes. Using fresh, chopped cranberries will probably create a more tart flavor and different “berry” or add-in texture. If you still want to use the fresh berries, use the same amount, chop them coarsely and fold into the batter. Let us know what you think of the flavor! Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  20. Heather

    These are SO good! I used orange juice instead of the tomato juice and the flavour is just killer.

    Thanks so much posting this. I’m allergic to eggs and it’s been challenging to find a good muffin recipe.

    Way cool, Heather. I’ve been experimenting with other combos, and find that if I use unbleached all-purpose flour; and reduce the liquid to 1 cup, white cranberry juice makes a great all-purpose liquid – its flavor is minimal enough that it doesn’t interfere with other flavors, and its light color keeps the muffins looking like a typical egg/dairy muffin. Just made cranberry-ginger, and blueberry the other day – both yummy! Thanks for letting me know OJ works, too – PJH

    Reply
  21. Crystal

    Just made this for some birthday muffins (cupcakes seemed wrong for a 9am meeting) to share with a group and they were a hit! I never had so much fun cooking and experiencing with foods before I became a vegan 2 years ago. Glad to know that tomato (or V8) can provide the acidity needed! Tomato cornbread, anyone?

    Crystal, since posting this, I’ve discovered that any kind of acidic juice – pineapple, OJ, cranberry – will yield the same result. I’m currently a fan of white cranberry juice, as it doesn’t add a whole lot of its own flavor. I did find, however, that if I wanted to substitute all-purpose flour for the whole wheat, it worked better to cut the juice back to 1 cup. Have fun eith your future experiments! PJH

    Reply
  22. tommarie

    I made two loaves of this bread this morning. I had fresh cranberries that needed to be used, and substituted 2 cups of them for the doubled recipe. The bread is wonderful. I had some raw sugar in a jar, left over from where I stored some homemade crystalized ginger, and sprinkled that on top of the loaves. I really did not taste any ginger flavor, but the crunch of it was wonderful on the bread. Thank you for the recipe. I can always count on anything from this site being delicious.

    Reply
  23. Patricia Tucker

    Stone Ground Whole Wheat PASTRY FLOUR…do this flour work in most things such as this recipe.
    Would I need to use half all purpose and PASTRY FLOUR. The flour is not King Arthur and on the back of bag there is a Carrot Cake receipe. Please teach me how to use this flour so I can use it up. How to substitute is my question with a couple of KA receipes…then the Bob’s Red Mill flour will be used up :)
    Thank you very much for your reply.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Patricia, your flour should work in muffins, scones, and pancakes just fine. It’s a lower protein flour, so you may want to reduce the liquid in your recipe just a bit (a tablespoon to start), to make the consistency dough or batter the recipe calls for. Good luck = I look forward to using up your stash of Bob’s and coming home to The King! :) PJH

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *