A week or so ago I envisaged gorgeous Carrot Cake Cupcakes so vividly that I dreamt about them. Twice. This meant I had to buy fresh carrots, of course, because summer is coming to an end and my favourite season is upon us.
Blissfully cool, sunny days. Chilly, clear nights. The smell of leaves, wood fires, cinnamon, pumpkin, maple syrup... Delicious.
I'm already jonesing for Pumpkin Pie, Mashes Potatoes with Gravy and a host of traditional Autumn/Thanksgiving treats that I can now no longer have. What a bummer. It doesn't take away my love for the season, though, because my taste buds aren't my only sense that is so gloriously engaged this time of year.
I can hear the kids giggling on the way to school in the mornings, I long for the crunch of the leaves beneath my feet, the sun caressing my face as the cool breeze ruffles my hair and am relaxed in the knowledge that it won't be long before they're here... bliss.
My "fresh" carrots weren't so and decided that they'd support their own little colonies (several of them) before their expiration date so they were sacrificed to the bin (cannot compost mouldy food!) and I felt quite disappointed.
What to do?? How on earth would I be able to cope without spicy cupcakes now that I'd so clearly been sent a sign that I needed them??
I couldn't. It's that simple. I had to have my fix! So I did a little deductive reasoning, a little chemistry, a little experimentation, a little praying, a little mixing, a little baking and a little sharing and what emerged is a tender little cupcake with wonderful textures. The sugar crystalises on the top, the fruit stays soft and moist, the cake fluffy and spicy. So, I now introduce (with full Mrs B bakes Taste-Tester approval, of course)...
Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain/all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy yogurt (I used vanilla, if using plain; you might want to add a little more sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 coarsely grated apples (I used Granny Smith and the tanginess of the apples worked really well in this recipe. If using additional options below, reduce apple to 1 1/2 coarsely grated cups)
Optional: (If adding these options, reduce apple to 1 1/2 cups, coarsely grated apple)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 175° C (350° F) and line cupcake pan with liners.
In a bowl mix together sugar, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices) into the same bowl and mix until no lumps remain. Stir in grated apple. (If using; also fold in walnuts and raisins.)
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted through the centre of one comes out clean. Try to choose a cupcake in the centre of your oven or in a known "cool spot".)
Remove from oven and place on rack and allow to cool completely. Frost generously with Vegan Cream Cheese frosting and voilà!
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners'/powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream together margarine and cream cheese until just blended (don't over mix). Using a hand-held mixer; whip margarine mix while adding the sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time. Mix until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and mix thoroughly. Keep tightly covered in the fridge until ready to use. (Handy hint: put frosting in a bowl and use plastic wrap to cover the frosting inside the bowl so that there's no space or air between the frosting and the plastic wrap. This will keep it from drying out and becoming crusty.
Now, what shall I make next, any suggestions?