Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Candy Cane Cupcakes!

Cupcake recipes pose some interesting structural problems.  What counts as a "cupcake recipe"?  Is it the cake?  The combination of icing and cake?  If it's the same cake but a very different icing, is it a new cupcake recipe or just a new icing recipe, seeing as icing rarely, if ever, stands on its own?

The cake recipe is the same old perfect chocolate cupcake recipe I've been using all along, in chocolate mint and chocolate espresso cupcakes, in S'mores cupcakes, and in German chocolate cupcakes.

This time, for the icing, I went off the buttercream recipe from Vegan Thyme, but I omitted the cinnamon and added 1/4 tsp peppermint extract.  At this point, I had a better mint buttercream than the one I made so long ago for my very first post.  Using some shortening instead of all butter/earthbalance makes it stiffer, fluffier, and less weirdly buttery.  Then I ground up 1 or 2 candy canes (for a single, 12-cupcake recipe) and mixed them into the frosting.  After frosting the cupcakes, I ground up another one more coarsely and used the chunks and dust to decorate the tops.

OH.  And I took my leftover frosting and put it in little blobs on waxed paper into the freezer.  I think I may have accidentally figured out how to make the butter mints I used to adore.

But ugh... Between a double batch of these, a batch of the chocolate chip cardamom cookies, and a batch of the amazing new almond cookies, I used over 8 cups of sugar in one day.  That's not counting the chocolate chips and the candy canes, either.  When we actually got to the party, I didn't want any more cookies, having sampled quite a few in the production stages.

Candy Cane Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 c soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 to 5/8 c sugar
1/3 c canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 c all purpose flour
1/3 c cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt 

1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line cupcake pan with papers.
2. In a pyrex, combine soymilk and vinegar and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. In one large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4. In another mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil, vanilla, and almond extract.  Then add curdled soymilk-vinegar mixture.  Then add flour mixture to the wet mixture.  Don't overmix.
5. Fill tins to approximately 2/3 full.
6. Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes.  Then, let them cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin.  Makes 12 cupcakes, but only if you're stingy on your portion size.


Candy Cane Buttercream Frosting
(adapted from Vegan Thyme)
1/4 c vegan butter
1/4 c vegan shortening (I used earth balance's shortening sticks)
2 c powdered sugar, plus more as needed (I ended up using more like 2.5 c)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2-3 candy canes

Cream butter, shortening, and sugar.  Then, add extracts.  Beat until fluffy, adding milk or sugar as needed to achieve desired consistency.  Then grind up 1 or 2 candy canes and mix them into the frosting.  After frosting the cupcakes, grind another one more coarsely and use the chunks and dust to decorate the tops. 
Frosts about 12 cupcakes.

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