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

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 grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Lou

    I was wondering… what are the calories per muffin? I am trying to make some but I am on a diet and can only have a certain amount in calories…

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for asking, Lou. Due to the extensive size of our recipe library, we’re currently unable to research and provide nutritional information for all of our past recipes, including this one. We can understand your interest in those details, and extend our sincere apologies for any inconvenience.

      A resource you might consider exploring is free nutrition analysis calculators, which are made available online for general, non-medical use. Two such calculators we like are this one from Spark Recipes and this one from Verywell. Kye@KAF

  2. Mei Highfill

    Has anyone tried doubling the recipe? If I double it and do mini muffins I should get about 50, right? I’m going to a vegan pot luck and have no other ideas. Thanks

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Your math is spot on, Mei. Each batch will make about 24-25 standard mini muffins. You’re welcome to double the recipe without making other changes. Simply reduce the baking time as the small muffins will bake faster. Check for doneness around 10-14 minutes. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  3. 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

  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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

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