Absinthe-Cardamom Cupcakes

Posted: July 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Cupcakes, Dairy-free, Dessert, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: | No Comments »

Absinthe-Cardamom Cupcake

Oh yes.

I have no special story for these ‘cakes, just a stroke of inspiration and a homey Sunday afternoon. I chose to make these vegan because Ed can’t do dairy and because I have a lot of vegan friends. And honestly? Vegan cupcakes are just as scrumptious as their animal-product counterparts. My cupcake bible is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. This recipe is based on the “Golden Vanilla Cupcakes” and the “Fluffy Buttercream Frosting” recipes in that book. The absinthe and cardamom are pretty subtle, but definitely there.

Absinthe-Cardamom Cupcakes

Adapted from “Golden Vanilla Cupcakes” and the “Fluffy Buttercream Frosting” in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Yield: 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

Cupcakes:
1/4 cup absinthe (I used Kubler)
3/4 cup soymilk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (heaping)
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or more vanilla extract)

Frosting:
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I like Spectrum)
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I like Earth Balance)
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
3 tablespoons absinthe

DIRECTIONS

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk together soymilk, absinthe, and apple cider vinegar in a 2-cup measuring cup. Set aside to curdle.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.
  4. To the soymilk mixture, add sugar, oil, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix thoroughly. I like to use a whisk for this job.
  5. Add wet mix to dry and stir until there are no more clumps.
  6. Line cupcake tray with cupcake liners. Fill each cup 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  7. While they’re cooling, make the frosting!

Frosting:

  1. Beat all ingredients together till well incorporated and fluffy.
  2. When cupcakes are 100% cooled, frost them. Then devour.

Cherry Jam

Posted: July 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Preserves, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Last month, my friend Kai and I went on an epic cherry-picking expedition. We found ourselves at the Seko Ranch in Brentwood, California, high atop ladders, filling 10-gallon buckets with plump maroon Bing cherries. I picked 18 lbs and Kai got 14. We had our work cut out for ourselves.

Cherries cherries cherries cherries cherries cherries

After countless hours of pitting–with some much-appreciated assistance from my boyfriend Ed–I was ready to make some jam. Once again, David Lebovitz saved the day with his No Recipe Cherry Jam Recipe. I’ve adapted it a bit to suit my needs. I reduced the sugar and am giving you exact measurements. It’s easier than measuring out how much hot pre-sugared jam you have! Because I reduced the sugar, this jam is a bit runnier, but it’s still quite tasty. I really like it on pancakes and ice cream. It’s almost like chunky syrup.

Cherry Jam

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s No Recipe Cherry Jam Recipe

Makes 8 half-pint jars.

INGREDIENTS

4 lbs cherries, pitted (weigh after pitting)
2 Meyer lemons – zest and juice only
4 cups sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Start your water bath canner boiling. Put in 10 jars and rings to sterilize. If you’ve never canned before, please refer to my canning tutorial.
  2. Pit your cherries. I love my Oxo cherry pitter. Be warned: cherry juice will go EVERYWHERE, and it stains. You will end up looking a little like this:

    Cherry nonsense

  3. Reserve a couple handfuls of whole cherries, and roughly chop the rest. Put them in a large, heavy pot with the zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons.
  4. Cook for 20 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring often and scraping the bottom to prevent burning.
  5. Add sugar and boil for 10-20 minutes, skimming foam and stirring often.
  6. When bubbles die down and the jam starts to look gelled, go ahead and process it. (I had trouble getting it to gel, so I didn’t bother.) Ladle into hot sterilized jars, wipe rims, put lids and rings on, and boil in water bath canner for 15 minutes. Place hot, processed jars on cutting board or dish towel and allow to cool for 12 hours. If any of the lids don’t “pop” (indicating a proper seal), refrigerate and enjoy within two weeks.
  7. Note: David Lebovitz recommends adding a little kirsch (cherry liqueur) just before processing the jam. I think its a great idea, but I didn’t have any on hand so I haven’t tried it out.

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