Sunday, April 13, 2008
A Sunny Disposition: Vegan Mango Cupcakes with Saffron-Pistachio Frosting
It was spring this weekend—cool and rainy punctuated by sunniness. I spent much of the weekend with Belle and it really lifted my mood. I might not have her pictures but I have those memories—and her.
On Saturday, Belle’s cousins were coming over so I decided to make cupcakes. I rushed around and got two kinds made during her naptime. For picky eaters, I made fluffy white vegan cupcakes from Shmooed Food with strawberry “whipped cream”. I just added fresh strawberries to vegan buttercream, but as I was on the phone while I was doing it, I just lost track and the cream broke. I then proceeded to add way more sugar, and then began to give up. Finally, I put it some chilled coconut milk, whipped it again, and then accepted defeat. The result was tasty but not pretty. But, no one asked what was in the frosting.
Then, I made vegan mango cupcakes. Since I was going to include these in the Livestrong event, I wanted to try to work out a recipe on my own. My recipe resulted in a vat of batter which resulted in 48, yes 48, mini-cupcakes. But, frankly, they were wonderful—moist, fluffy, not too sweet. I have less than a dozen left to take to work tomorrow. So, if you decide to make this recipe, feel free to ½ it—or accept that you are about to have one hell of a good time and just make the full order.
Late one night last week lying in bed awake, I was using my time wisely planning these cupcakes. Yellow for me could be acid free tomatoes, saffron, cornmeal, schmaltz… I had already seen a saffron cupcake recipe for Livestrong. Frankly, being near the end of this gave me some good parameters, the world was no longer my yellow oyster, and I was glad for it. Belle had been enjoying mango this week, so I decided to go with that.
We all love pistachios, and I decided to go Indian fusion with the dessert. One of the best things at Indian restaurants is the kesar-pista or saffron-pistachio ice cream. This flavor is repeated in any variety of desserts. One dessert, shrikand, basically thick sweet yoghurt, seemed like the perfect frosting for mango cupcakes. Could I veganize a dessert for which dairy is central? I thought the result was wonderful.
Finally, I had some crazy notion, thanks to its late night inception, to make a mini-cake. Not a cupcake mind you, but a minicake. I pictured making a three layer cake with mango jelly in the middle and shrikhand frosting. It was a little annoying to make because I don’t have a tiny lazy susan. I ended up using the bottom of a wine glass. And then in the final minute as I was cutting into the cake, it tipped over. So even though there is no picture of the final cake perched alone on the cake pedestal, there is a picture of one slice with a fork and a teacup for scale. And, I know some friend or another will say to me, why exactly minicakes? I have a feeling there are tea parties in my future.
Vegan Mango Cupcakes with Saffron-Pistachio Frosting
Vegan Mango Cupcakes
Cream in a blender
4 oz Earth Balance Margarine
3/4 cup sugar
To the blender bowl add
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 cup plain soymilk
1/3 cup very finely chopped mango
¼ cup mango pulp (available in cans from Asian Grocery Stores)
½ cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Blend the wet ingredients and then dump in
2 ¼ cups flour
2 ½ tsps baking soda
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp salt
After all of this is mixed add
3 tsp Egg Replacer dissolved in 4 T Warm Water
Fill (up to about 3/4ths full) greased cupcakes tins. Makes 48 minicupcakes. (To make mini-cakes: fill mini-cupcake tins until only ½ full. Use 3 to make a layered cake with mango puree or mango jam as the filling.)
Vegan Saffron-Pistachio Frosting (Shrikhand frosting)
Tie up in cheesecloth and drain overnight
1 cup soy yoghurt
In a blender, add the drained soy yoghurt (which should be much less wet)
1 cup Tofutti cream cheese
¼ cup Tofutti sour cream
¾ cup sugar
In a small mug, warm
3 T soy milk
8 threads saffron
2 cloves cardamom
Add the warmed milk to the blender with 1/8 cup crushed pistachios and, if desired, diced dry mango. (I decided at the last minute not to do this step.)
This frosting is not as thick a real shrikhand, which is important, b/c this frosting is very easy to pipe.