Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The "Third-Try" Cupcakes

edit 9/28: Voting has started for these cupcakes. Please vote before this Thursday, October 2nd!

Oh, dear me. I can only imagine how lucid this post is going to be. I'm pumped full of every available cold suppressant to get through my classes at the community college, school, and rehearsal and before even starting, I could hardly remember if I'd even posted my Iron Cupcake entry. Jesus. Let's do this.

I was really enthusiastic this month about taking on my first challenge, and it gave me to excuse to plan a use for my dwindling summer basil. Ah, how I'll miss you, blossoming herbs. How I loathe paying obscene prices for you in the supermarket.

My initial plans went through a variety of phases and three different batches - both for cupcakes and toppings. As you can imagine I became rather frustrated and my competing frustrations did nothing to appease. No excuse for sloppiness, I know, but bear with me.

Mexican hot chocolate is a cinnamon-infused chocolate drink with a kick, and the cupcake adaptation is ripped right from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World with just a few adjustments. The cupcakes were topped with an Agave-Lime-Basil Buttercream made with a basil-lime syrup. If I were to make these again, I would drizzle some of the syrup over the batter before sliding the cupcakes into the oven and see if it would create a ribbon effect - otherwise, I did not add any basil to the cupcakes themselves. I meant to originally, but under the hectic circumstances I spaced.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Agave-Lime-Basil Buttercream

I had some leftover sugared basil from a (failed) experiment, and I crushed a handful to add to the buttercream. And voila. Exhausting but tasty cupcakes. The recipe is probably my favorite from VCTOTW - sweet with a kick, which I missed last month with the chili pepper challenge. The buttercream is really delicate - the basil adds an herby flavor that works with the sweetness, flowery almost. The lime really shines here too, which I think works well the slightly spicy chocolate.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Agave-Lime-Basil Buttercream

Voting starts at No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner this Sunday, September 28th - I'd be eternally pleased with a vote or two. After all - YOU DECIDE! Any which way you vote - let's go vegan, okay?

Exciting prizes, ya'll - there's this month's incredible Etsy artist is Metal Sugar, Head Chefs by Fiesta Products, Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, those lovely Jessie Steele Aprons, the ever-practical Cupcake Courier, and Taste of Home!

In review - great prizes, you decide, September 28th, I'd love a vote, but go vegan - all set? Good.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes (Originally from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)
makes 12 cupcakes

1 c coconut milk (soy or rice milk works)
2 tablespoons flaxseeds
¾ c all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn meal
¼ c almond meal
½ Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 c granulated sugar
1/3 c applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a 12-muffin pan.
2. Grind flaxseeds in a blender or coffee grinder and whisk one tablespoon of the ground flaxseeds with the milk. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
3. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne in a large bowl.
4. With the remaining flaxseeds still in the blender, add the corn meal and almond meal. Grind until fine. Whisk the mixture into the sifted ingredients.
5. Whisk sugar, applesauce, vanilla, and almond extract into the milk mixture. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk gently, taking care not to overmix.
6. Fill the cupcake liners or muffin tins ¾ full. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Leave cupcakes in pan for 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

Lime-Basil Syrup
(adapted from
this recipe)
½ c granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lime
¼ c fresh lime juice
1/8 c water
½ c loosely packed fresh basil

1. Bring sugar, zest, juice, and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil for one minute more. Remove from heat and let syrup stand uncovered for at least 15 minutes.
2. Transfer to a blender. Add basil and blend until basil is fully incorporated.
3. Cool. Use to glaze cupcakes, add ribbons to cupcake batter before baking, or even use leftovers in drinks and as an ice cream topping.

Agave-Lime-Basil Buttercream
¼ c nonhydrogenated shortening
¼ Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
2 c confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
4 tablespoons Lime-Basil Syrup, or to taste

1. In a stand mixer cream together shortening and margarine until smooth. Scrape down sides as needed.
2. Add in 1 c confectioners’ sugar and beat.
3. Beat in agave nectar and Lime-Basil syrup until creamy.
4. Continue adding in sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.


Vegan_Noodle said...

Three batches!?! Wow, now that's dedication. Looks worth it though!

Anonymous said...

Incredible perseverance- I'm glad you stuck with it though, since the end results are so impressive! Don't worry, it often takes me many tries to get things right too, and sometimes it will be as many as 6 or 7 batches before I'm satisfied.

Anonymous said...

You totally deserve to win. Feel better soon!

Celine said...

they look scrumptious! I hope your cold has left you alone since you posted this.

Esther said...

these really sound tasty..basil or not. can't wait to try them, hopefully just one batch though :)

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