Stumptown is in the middle of an oddly beautiful spring; there hasn’t been enough rain (eep!) but there have been these incredible and transcendent days where it’s still cool enough out that going out frolicking feels invigorating, and you definitely need a sweater.
The weather a little inspired these cupcakes in the sense that I was aiming for light and fresh, and I think I succeeded. I also used agave nectar to sweeten them, and I think I really like it; it imparted a very light and buttery flavor to these cupcakes, which I really appreciated.
I have started experimenting with unrefined sugar options because I volunteered to make cupcakes for a friend’s wedding, and for a variety of reasons she’d really prefer to use unrefined sugar, and I am more than happy to play.
These are just a slight variation on the Simple Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcakes from VCTOTW, and I really look forward to experimenting more with the recipe.
1/2 cup soy milk (I used rice, which is what I have on hand, and everything turned out okay)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup light agave nectar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons lime zest
2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Line the tins, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. These are cooked at a slightly lower temperature than the rest of the cupcakes in VCTOTW because of the agave: “The slightly lower cooking [temp] helps here because agave baked goods brown darker and faster than stuff made with [granulated] sugar…”
Zest those thar limes. I used four limes, and have no idea how much zest I actually used.
Curdle the [milk substitute] and the apple cider vinegar. This will take a few minutes, but it will look lumpy and bubbly when it is curdled. Beat in the agave (tip: if you spray the measuring cup with oil before measuring out the agave, it will come out of the cup more easily), oil, vanilla and almond extracts, and the lime juice.
Sift in the flour, baking powder and soda and salt. As you combine these, fold in the lime zest. Fill the liners between 2/3 and 3/4 full, and bake 22 minutes. These cupcakes will have a really beautiful golden color, and a delicate texture.
4 ounces [vegan] cream cheese
2-4 ounces margarine
3-4 cups powdered sugar
8 tablespoons blackberry juice
Cream together the cream cheese and margarine, and beat in a cup of powder sugar. Add 3 tablespoons of blackberry juice, and beat until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar until the texture is at your idea of ideal frosting. Pipe or spread onto the top of the cupcakes, and just before serving, drizzle a little blackberry juice on the top to emphasize and accent the blackberry flavor.
The very very cool thing about these cupcakes is the play between the flavors. Of all citrus flavors, lime is a favorite because of the clean and fresh flavor; orange and lemon are good but very strong. Lime is lighter and cleaner and I love it. Paired with the sweet/tartness of the blackberry cream cheese frosting and the delicate fluffiness of the agave-sweetened cupcake, I reckon I’d call it about perfect.
And, just because it has been nice here in Stumptown: