Friday, December 29, 2006

Margarita Cupcakes

Chocolate and vanilla are classics for a reason, but that doesn't mean that you can't think outside of the box a bit when it comes to cupcakes. And I'm not refering to boxed cake mixes here. I'm talking about using more unusualy flavors, like Cupcake Bakeshop does, to really let cupcakes shine, not just act as pacifiers when we're in the mood for a little nostalgia.
You have probably never had a margarita cupcake before, let alone heard of one. This recipe comes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, a book that I recently got to try a few recipes from. Not only are they creative, but they taste great. This batch of cupcakes, for example, was served to a group of omnivores and I didn't even mention that they were vegan. They were a huge, huge hit. It could have had something to do with the taste of tequila in the outstanding frosting, but even so, there were no complaints about the texture or the flavor of the cake. And yes, I mean this as a complement because anyone who has tried vegan baking will tell you that the flavor is not the problem, it's the texture. This cupcake has it all - excellent flavor, nice moistness and even crumb, and a great frosting. The lime/tequila flavors really shine.
Because they're modeled after a cocktail, these are kind of "adult" cupcakes. Make them for a party - how about New Year's?

Margarita Cupcakes
(from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 1/2 tsp lime zest (1 lime)
1 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp tequila
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Fill a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
In a large bowl, mix together lime juice, lime zest, soy milk, oil , tequila, vanilla and sugar.
In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to lime mixture and stir until just combined. Divide evenly into muffin tins.
Bake for 20-24 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.
Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Tequila and Lime Frosting
1/4 butter or nonhydrogenated shortening, softened
1 tbsp soymilk
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp tequila
2+ cups confectioners' sugar
coarse sugar for "rims"

Cream together butter/nonhydrogenated shortening (depending on whether you want the frosting vegan or not), soymilk, lime juice, tequila, and 2 cups of confectioners' sugar. Add in more sugar as needed to make frosting stiff, but spreadable.
Spread on cupcakes and roll the edges in a small amount of coarse, colored sugar (poured into a small bowl, so it's easy to direct it.