A couple of days ago I made a batch of Maple Cupcakes, p. 67 in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. My plan, while baking my way through the book, is to follow the recipes as written (I am an improvisational & revisionist cook, so this goes against my nature a little bit), but I was partway through mixing this recipe before I realized that I did not have: maple extract, enough maple syrup to make both cupcake & recommended frosting, or walnuts. (Even if I had walnuts I probably wouldn't have used them, though, since I am not a big fan, thus no walnuts in the first place.) I used 3/4 tsp. each of vanilla & almond extracts instead, made a maple Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (p. 158 -- with 2T. maple syrup added), & left out the nuts altogether. Oh, I also followed their suggestion to use half whole wheat pastry flour, but I've been doing that in all the recipes anyway.
I ended up one cupcake short, probably because I left out the nuts. This was the first batch of cupcakes in my new oven, & I'm not sure if it's a particularly excellent recipe (it's certainly tasty, but doesn't seem much different on the nuts & bolts level than the first three recipes), if the maple syrup makes a big difference to the texture, or if it's the oven, but (despite the slight over-cooking -- see the muffiny tops on a few?) they were perfect, with possibly the best crumb of any vegan cupcake I've ever made. I want to go back & make another batch of a recipe I've already tried to see if the oven really does make that much of a difference, because it's kind of an amazing change.
Here's the glamour shot, which is actually both more & less glamorous than I'd intended: on the one hand, the new black cooktop certainly looks dramatic, but on the other hand, there was a much prettier cupcake in the tray that I meant to use for my model, but someone (possibly me) ate it. I'm finding that I'm using only about half a recipe of frosting for each batch of cupcakes, & although I keep meaning to do some fancy decorating with swirly mounds of frosting, the frostings I've tried from the book so far are sweet enough that I'm not sure a swirly mound wouldn't be way too much.
That said, adding maple syrup to the cream cheese frosting recipe worked really well & I thought the "cream cheese" brought a nice mellow flavor to the cupcake party (I use Tofutti brand, if you get the yellow container it's made without hydrogenated oil). I definitely want to try these again with the addition of maple extract, as written, but even without it, so far it's Maple Cupcakes for the win.