There was a sale on bulk spices earlier this week (the same kind of sale that lead me to buy cocoa nibs that lead to these red velvet cupcakes) and I stocked up. The only really *new* thing I bought during the sale was garam masala. Garam masala is actually just the name of a sort of style of spice mix–it can be any combination of a number of different spices. The kind I bought, however, has a combination of cloves, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and pepper, and maybe a few other things I’m not 100% sure on.
Though I know some people have declared that savory flavors in cupcakes is weird, I like it, and I like it as much as I like sour flavors in cupcakes. I feel like the savory/sweet and sour/sweet combinations work well because of the contrast, playing counterpoint to each other.
Um. I don’t suspect anyone really cares to hear me ramble about flavor combinations much longer, so into the recipe we go!This is a variation on VCTOTW’s basic vanilla cupcake, with a few notable changes.
1 cup coconut milk (don’t question me, just do it!)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Garam Masala
As always, line your tins and preheat the over.
Now that that’s done, measure out one cup of coconut milk, and drop a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar into it, along with a teaspoon or two of the garam masala and stir until combined evenly.
In this situation, the vinegar will not really curdle the milk, but it will give the batter a slightly higher acidity to react with the baking powder and soda to leaven the cupcakes slightly better.
Yeeeeah. Um. Anyways.
In a medium to large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth, and then beat in the vanilla. In a different bowl, sift together the flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Now that we have three different containers (coconut milk goop, margarinesugar goop, and the “dry” ingredients) we can proceed.
The coconut milk will make the batter remarkably thick, so my method to deal with it was to add about 2/3 of the coconut milk to the margarine bowl, and whisk until combined (it won’t look pretty–a little chunky, but that’s okay, I promise). Then add about 2/3 of the flour mixture and mix until there isn’t dry flour obviously in the bowl. Add the remaining milk, stir gently, and then mix in the remaining flour.
The batter will be too thick to pour; I had to use a 1/3 cup to scoop up a bit and drop it into the pan.
Because of the texture, they’ll also take slightly longer to cook properly, between 22 and 26 minutes. Keep an eye on them.
The frosting is a pretty normal cream cheese frosting using the extra coconut milk to thin the frosting, altogether easily made vegan. I chose the cream cheese because I really like cream cheese frosting, mostly, but also because I was trying to get at the savory flavors a little more. That, and a buttercream seemed kinda bland and gross.
I really liked the way these cupcakes turned out; they look clean and fresh and have an excellent crumb. I might make it 1.5 or 2 teaspoons garam masala instead of one, but it leaves a mild flavor in the mouth, and the coconut cream cheese frosting provides a subtle creamy note without overwhelming. I think at least another half teaspoon of the garam masala, though.