Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes

Being outside of the U.S. for more than a month now has brought up a number of food cravings for me; I expected to miss authentic Asian food, and while I am in Israel, pork, but lately the American blogs I've been reading have been featuring gorgeous cupcakes that I can't get out of my mind. I find myself desiring a cute, fluffy, frosting-laden cupcake.

Fortunately, there is something I can do about this - especially since I usually prefer my own cupcakes to anything from a professional bakery. Sometimes I think it's good to know how to cook for the sake of knowing how to satisfy one's food cravings in one's own kitchen, but on the other hand I think that the more foods I try, the more cravings I develop. At least the two go hand in hand! This time a longing for cupcakes coincided with a craving for lemon-flavored dessert, and I am completely pleased with the result.

Some of you will be glad to know that this is a vegan cake recipe; others of you will be dubious, but if you've tried this red velvet cake recipe you'll know that vegan baking can make a successful cake. In fact, I find this recipe formula to be much more consistent in providing good texture than almost any scratch cake recipe I've tried, and it is easy! Because the only somewhat perishable item in the recipe is soy milk (well, and the lemons too, but I keep lemon zest and juice in the freezer all the time), you can easily make these out of the normal contents of your kitchen.

And is it horrible that I think that one of the great benefits of vegan baking is the fact that you can eat as much of the batter as you want without worrying about raw eggs? Because I guarantee that you will want to have more than one lick of this batter.

The olive oil is not a strong flavor, but it is a nice compliment to the lemon (much more than it is to chocolate in my opinion!).

Your cupcakes will look much cuter than mine since I had to make do without a proper cupcake pan; some of mine ended up more deformed than others, but they were still much enjoyed. Like I've said before, every recipe I've tried in Israel has had to be adapted, but the changes always add character, and sometimes even improve the result.

Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes (Vegan)
loosely based on this red velvet cupcake recipe

1 C soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C olive oil
4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 T lemon zest (zest of one medium lemon)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F/180°C.
Add vinegar to soy milk, and set aside to curdle.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Add olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract to the curdled soy milk, and whisk together.
Pour liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated.
Fill cupcake liners ¾ full; makes about 12 full-size cupcakes and 45 teeny mini cupcakes.
Bake for 20 minutes for full-size cupcakes, 16 minutes for mini cupcakes, or until a toothpick comes clean.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz cream cheese
4 oz butter (room temperature)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 T lemon zest (zest of one lemon, with a bit set aside for garnish)
2 1/3 C (300 g) powdered sugar

Cream together cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 C at a time until well incorporated. Beat until fluffy, then top cooled cupcakes.

See the red velvet cupcake recipe for a vegan frosting option (it actually tastes pretty good). I also think this would be excellent with a mascarpone frosting that has lemon zest and a little juice added.

I garnished them with a mixture of lemon zest, granulated sugar, and a dash of salt.

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