Well…They Were SUPPOSED to be Vegan Cupcakes…

A couple of weeks ago I had brilliant idea:

While browsing the internet, I found these earl grey cupcakes with lavender frosting, and I thought, WOW! That was the most amazing idea for a cupcake ever.  And you know,  if it’s lavender themed, I like it.  I pinned it to Pinterest, and at least 19 people repinned, so obviously I wasn’t the only one to think this was brilliant!

So, instead of doing the normal thing and following the recipe, I thought, HEY! Let’s be creative! Let’s try to make these cupcakes vegan style!

I am not a vegan.

Also, I’m not very good at anything kitchen related.

Making extravagant gingerbread houses using edible materials?  Yes.  But if it has to taste good and/or be sanitary enough for human consumption, forget about it.

So why I thought I could not only bake cupcakes but also convert the entire recipe to vegan is beyond me.  I guess I wanted to be a cool food blogger, too.

Recently, I have been inspired by the number of vegan recipes around the blog world.  And while I’m not vegan and I  have about 0% interest in becoming vegan, I am lactose intolerant, so I’ve been drinking soy milk for a long time. That’s almost the same thing, right?

So, I gave it a shot.  I made one batch regular (still using soy milk), and one vegan batch.

Aside from the usual substitutes, I used Chia seeds as an egg replacement, which is a nifty idea I got from Laura from Mommy Run Fast.  When Chia soaks, it turns into a gooey gel. Plus, chia is so trendy right now, so bonus points!

Chia

The vegan batch ended up tasting better.  Both were a little dry and hard.  More like a scone.  The recipe called for self-rising flour which I’ve never used, and the little market where I bought all the ingredients didn’t carry it.  I looked up a substitute recipe, so that might have affected things.  Also, my little house is a mile above sea level, so perhaps the recipe needed some high altitude altering?  Also, the frosting was a bit too sweet.  I don’t know what to add/take away to keep it less sweet, but if you really like sweet frosting, this is great! Any baker types have any suggestions?

If you’re looking to bake a nice vegan scone, this is your recipe.  They weren’t bad, because obviously I ate 3-4 per day and thoroughly enjoyed, but I wouldn’t call them actual cupcakes because they kind of aren’t.

So here are Amy’s Vegan Earl Grey Lavender scone-esqe type things (you can find the REAL recipe and pictures of much prettier cupcakes HERE)

Earl Grey Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature (SOY MILK)
  • 4 earl grey teabags or 4 teaspoons loose leaf tea
  • 8 tablespoons butter, room temperature (VEGAN BUTTER SUBSTITUTE)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large eggs (PER EGG: 1 TBSP CHIA, 3 TBSP WATER)
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self rising flour (PER 3/4 CUP: 3/4 CUP ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, 1 TSP BAKING POWER, 1/4 TSP SALT)
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.  Heat milk in a saucepan until almost boiling.  Remove from heat, add teabags, cover, steep for 30 minutes and discard teabags.  (I used looseleaf Cream Earl Grey tea so I just stirred it in and strained the milk after infusing).

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar till smooth.  Add almond extract.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.  Sift the two flours together and add one third of flour mixture to mixing bowl followed by one third of the infused milk.  Mix well.  Repeat flour and milk additions until all has been added.
Spoon into cups, filling them about 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or till tests done.  Cool completely before icing. Makes one dozen.

Vegan Version

Not Vegan Version

Lavender Frosting
  • 1/3 cup milk (SOY MILK)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • Violet food coloring (optional)

Love me some lavender

Bring milk and lavender just to a boil in small saucepan.  Remove from heat and let steep 10 minutes.  Strain and discard lavender.  Whisk in sugar until smooth.  Strain again.  Add food coloring, if using, until desired shade is reached.  Frost cupcakes immediately.

Eve of Christmas Eve! (And a Completed Gingerbread House)

In the word’s of one of my favorite literary heroines, Eloise, “It’s the Eve of Christmas Eve!”

I discovered this year that The Plaza Hotel unveiled their Eloise tree, designed by the Queen of whimsy, Betsey Johnson.  AMAZING!

In other news, I finished my Gingerbread house this morning! This will mark the first year since 2007 that I actually followed through the whole project.  Aaron will be happy that no miscellaneous gingerbread parts will be laying around the kitchen until April.  He’ll get a fully constructed house instead!

I baked and constructed and frosted and decorated, and ate a lot of raw gingerbread dough (and fondant) along the way.

I kept taking pictures of the progress, afraid that I would come home from work to find it collapsed and lost forever and we’d have another year of an unfinished product.

But, after 6 days of waking up at 5:30 a.m. to work on it, working on it during my lunch hour (and returning to work covered in flour), and spending every waking hour since Saturday morning working on it, I am finally finished!

Now I have to go be a good little elf and clean/bake non-gingerbread things/cook/shop/wrap presents/frolic (run) in the snow/sing Christmas songs loudly to spread Christmas cheer/and of course get the obligatory Christmas mani/pedi!

Only 2 days until Christmas!

(Is everyone else this excited?!?!)

 

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Can you believe it?

In one week from now, the Christmas parties will be over, the presents will be opened, the cookies will have been eaten, and the magic, engery, and excitement will be fading.  I’m trying really hard not to think about it because it makes me sad.

So until then, I plan to cram as much Holiday Cheer as possible into my hours.

We’ve made our wine stop at our favorite winery, Casa Rodena, which was decorated for Christmas!

My house is finally all decorated.

The Christmas shopping is *almost* done.  I only have 1 more thing left to buy. Aaron on the other hand hasn’t even started…. (typical).

The Christmas cards have been sent.  And thanks to my mom the photographer, and Minted the amazing photo card design company, they are looking quite spiffy I must say.

Project Gingerbread house is on schedule to be finished by Friday evening.

Now all I have to do is wrap presents, and watch Love Actually/It’s a Wonderful Life/Miracle on 34th Street/Home  Alone/Eloise at Christmastime/The Polar Express/How the Grinch Stole Christmas/The Christmas Story.  In fact, the only Christmas movies I’ve watched this year (aside from the Hallmark Channel/Lifetime ones) is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and The Holiday.  I have a lot of  catching up to do.

And baking.  My goal is to make 2 varieties of cookies and 1 batch of cupcakes by Saturday. Sometime, in between work, sleeping, half marathon training, finishing my gingerbread house, cleaning the house, hosting some friends for a gathering, prepping some food for said gathering, wrapping, and helping Aaron with his gift purchases, I will do the baking!

Christmas music will be played non-stop unless a Christmas movie is on. Here’s to a very Christmas 7 days left of Christmastime!