Raspberry Orange Cupcakes

My step-sister Cherri is in town for the weekend, and my mother invited Jason and me to come over to their house to see Cherri’s new baby.  My sister and brother-in-law are going to be there with their new baby, too.  So many babies!  My mom asked if we could bring over some kind of dessert.  Imagine that!

Spring is in the air in a big way here in the mountains of North Carolina (it’s 69º outside right now), so we decided to make something spring-y.  Also, I just got some lime green baking cups from work, and thought that this would be a great excuse to use them.  Here’s what we came up with.

Raspberry Orange Cupcakes

They are orange cupcakes with raspberry buttercream frosting and pastel sprinkles.  Don’t they just look like spring?  If you want to make them, you’re gonna need:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons orange extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

So then, you:
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line your muffin tin with the cutest, springiest liners you can find.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk this mixture together for about thirty seconds, to make sure it’s evenly mixed.
3. Pour the almond milk into a glass measuring cup and add the vinegar to it. Let this mixture sit a few minutes, until the almond milk looks slightly curdled.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar until very well combined. Add the extracts. Now beat in the curdled almond milk.
5. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and beat with a whisk until the batter looks very smooth. Don’t worry about over-mixing; it’s better to beat it until there are no lumps left.
6. Fill your baking cups two-thirds of the way full with batter (usually about a scant quarter cup of batter per cupcake).
7. Bake at 350ºF for twenty minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the biggest cupcake comes out mostly clean. A few moist crumbs on the toothpick are absolutely fine.

Now, let your cupcakes cool completely. Once they are totally cool (like you), start making your frosting. Don’t start it before your cakes are totally cool, because the frosting doesn’t want to sit around, waiting for the cupcakes.

Raspberry Orange Cupcakes

The Raspberry Buttercream Recipe we used is based on one from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s book, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Here goes:

1/4 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 tablespoons raspberry syrup (the kind they use in coffee shops, see the picture below)
Drop of red food coloring (optional)

So now you:
1. Beat together the shortening and margarine with a stand mixer or hand mixer until it is all fluffy.
2. Sift in your confectioner’s sugar (and yes, you have to sift it. I know, it sucks, but you don’t want lumpy frosting, do you? No, you do not).
3. Beat the sugar and fats until, miraculously, the combine to form small, pebble-sized crumbs. This takes a few minutes — maybe five on the outside. Don’t be afraid to run your mixer that long, it loves it.
4. Once combined, drizzle in three tablespoons of syrup, and beat for several minutes. If, in about three minutes, your frosting looks really stiff, add the fourth tablespoon of syrup. Beat for another minute or two, until it’s all nice and fluffy.
5. Taste your frosting. It should be firm, but creamy, with a strong raspberry flavor. If it is not like that, add more raspberry syrup, about half a teaspoon at a time until it is awesome.  Now add a tiny, tiny bit of food coloring, if you want.  Totally up to you.

Raspberry Flavored Syrup

To decorate, just put the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a jumbo round tip, hold the tip about 1/4 inch from the surface of the cake, and squeeze. When the icing is covering the cake, release pressure on the bag, then pull up. Make sure to sprinkle with, well, sprinkles before the icing sets or they won’t stick right. Now go eat cupcakes.


Raspberry Orange Cupcake

Oh, and one last thing:  Don’t forget about the Violet Candy Giveaway Contest we are doing!  Tomorrow is the last day to enter, so if you have any last-minute ideas, let us know now!  We are super excited about the contest, and we can’t wait to see who wins!

About to enter the land of the babies (wish me luck!),

Ian

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