Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To Shai With Love: Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes a few weeks ago for my aunt and uncle's 30th wedding anniversary surprise party. My friend Shainoor asked me for the recipe, but why just write the recipe out when I can do a photo blog for my bff? Her mom helped me learn how to cook, and is the reason why we didn't starve on our diet of Happy Meals and Coca-Cola in university. Now I'm going to help her to bake!

I've adapted a recipe from the cupcake bible: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but as usual I don't make it vegan because my son is allergic to most of the vegan substitutes for butter and milk.  We just won't tell the vegans that I do this, because I don't want to get lynched.  I also added some extra stuff and took liberties with the method.  Here is a photo of my ingredients before I started:

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First thing, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I'm bad at remembering to do this.  Then get a big bowl and whisk together one cup of milk and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (use this kind just because it's more mild).  The milk will get chunky, which is good.  You can also use milk that has already gone chunky!  The best cupcakes I ever made were baked with some old-ass coconut milk that I had neglected at the back of the fridge.  Would I drink it on it's own?  Hell no!  But for baking it's pure GOLD.

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So while you're letting that curdle for about ten to fifteen minutes, you can mix the dry ingredients together:  1 and 1/4 cup cake and pastry flour; 2 tbsp cornstarch; 3/4 teaspoon baking powder (you must use Magic brand because most others suck); 1/2 teaspoon baking soda; 1/2 teaspoon salt; the zest of one lemon.

A note about zesting a lemon.  Wash the damn thing first, I scrub them too because some stores put wax on them.  The zester that I have is from Lee Valley and it is worth it's weight in gold, but cheese graters usually have a semi-useful zester stuck on one side.

Then you can whisk in the other wet ingredients with the funky milk mixture:  1/3 cup canola oil; 3/4 cup sugar; 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (for eff's sake, get some good stuff and not imitation!); 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract.

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Then you can whisk the dry stuff into the wet stuff, or use an electric mixer if you want.  It should resemble this:

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Pour it into those paper thingies that you put in the cupcakes pans, about 2/3 full.  Any more full and they'll overflow and will be a bitch to work with.  Use the shiny metal pans instead of the dark, non-stick ones if you can.  If you only have the dark ones, decrease the heat to 325 degrees instead of 350 because they'll cook faster and might burn on the bottom.

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Bake them for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until they get a little brown on the edges, the tops are cracked and they smell like heaven.  I was kind of messy when I was filling the cups because I was trying to fend off the three year old from sticking his hands/face/tongue into it... but you get the idea:

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These don't rise as high as cupcakes from a box, but that's because they're so much better than from a box and they don't have eggs in them.  But the flatter top is better for piling icing on!

The ingredients for icing:

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The syrup might be a bitch to find right now because the factory is on strike.  But here is their website.  I bought mine back home in Newfoundland, but I've also seen it in Walmart, Zellers, and Price Chopper.  Anyone else who is not in Canada or who can't find this stuff can get some raspberry syrup from a barrista or Americans can just get some here.  It's not the stuff that you'd use on waffles, it's the stuff you'd use to flavour drinks.  Got it?

Cream 1/4 cup of butter with 1/4 cup of vegetable oil shortening.  You'll need electricity for this part because you really have to beat the fuck out of icing to get it to mix really well. ;)

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With a fork, mash in about 1 and a half cups of icing sugar until it looks all crumbly.  Otherwise if you try to use your electric mixer it'll make icing sugar fly all over the place.

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Now you can beat in slightly less than four tablespoons of raspberry syrup, about 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract, and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice from the lemon that you just scalped earlier.

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If you don't like the consistency, beat in extra icing sugar one tablespoon at a time until it feels right.  You can taste along the way as well just to make sure. :)

So today I just quickly made these so I could take the pictures:

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But if you wanted to get really fancy, you could always put your icing into a piping bag and swirl it on top of your cupcakes like I did last time:


I added simple dragĂ©es for decoration, and they looked pretty and tasted hella good.  Any questions?

That's all,