Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lemon Gem Cupcakes

First thing I shouted this morning... "I FORGOT THE VANILLA!!" How can you have successful cupcakes when you forget the vanilla? Well, crisis was averted, the cupcakes were OK. I did learn a lesson: Vanilla really does add depth to your baking, do not leave it out.  I think for any beginner cook, this is an important lesson. Leaving out vanilla in something like a cupcake, is like leaving out the salt. Sure the dish will probably taste fine and if you stay quiet, no one would know. However, after one taste, there is that feeling that something is missing and it is making the food fall a bit flat.

Well fine, lesson learned. I would love to to say that I purposely left if out so I would have something to write about, but the real reason is that I was baking in the middle of the night again and I did not lay out all the ingredients before I started... Again.

So this recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Isa is co-author of Veganomicon which I consider an important book for anyone's shelf. She really knows her shit. I find her recipes tend to have a little edge which is important. Here was my first attempt at one of Isa's cupcakes.

Lemon-Gem Cupcakes
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking power
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk (recipe calls for rice, I used walnut)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
Pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a larger bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Then pour the dry into the wet and mix well until a light batter is formed.

Line a muffin tin with paper wrappers and fill each about 2/3 to 3/4 full (I had small wrappers, so i filled them as much as I could and it worked). Put them in the oven for 17 to 20 minutes. Let them cool on a rack completely and then frost them.

Lemon Frosting
  • 1/4 cup earth balance butter, softened
  • 1/4 soy milk
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups of confectioners sugar (I needed a lot more)
  • Not part of recipe: 1 tsp of lemon extract
Take the butter and cream it with a fork. next mix in the soy milk and the lemon juice until it is fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar and mix with an electric mixture until you get a nice icing.

So, when I put the icing together, it was way too thin. I ended up adding a lot of extra sugar and I was worried that the lemon wouldn't shine through, so I also added lemon extract. I thought the icing was pretty good. My sister said it was weird on its own, but it worked with the cupcakes. So, a win I think.

I ended up adding some coloured sugar on top of my cupcakes for a bit of colour. These were good and I think they would be even better if I had remembered the vanilla! Next time I make these I think I will try adding a blueberry (yes, just one... per cupcake) to the batter right before I bake them. I think this would make them even better and I love blueberry and lemon together. It is an amazing flavour combo.

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