A MEMO FROM THE CEO OF PIP: At the beginning of 2011, I was bothered by the word “vegan”. Not because I had an issue with what you ate (or didn’t eat) while practicing it, but because it became trendy. Suddenly, it became a buzz word instead of people listening to your body for what it needs.
Since then, I’ve met very kind folks who embrace veganism for all the right reasons. Through my relationship with Bess at I Dream of Greenie, I was introduced to her friend Lauren. Lauren kindly hosted us for a wonderful picnic with an amazing array of vegan food and beverages. I was amazed with her creations and how her substitutions to dishes were hardly noticeable.
After prodding from many friends, Lauren recently started a food blog called The Jolly Fox. While it’s infancy, she’s already provided some fun posts on her adventures. After a PIP reader request from that picnic recap post, Lauren has offered to guest post today with a fun recipe for Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lavender “Butter”cream Frosting. Take it away Lauren!
Lavender. The scent of lavender is probably my favorite smell. It just smells so darn good I want to bury my face in it forever. I kinda feel that way about fresh basil too. Lavender makes its home in the mint family and the most common varieties are English, Spanish and French. I happen to grow these 3 types in clay pots and they are very sturdy plants. They don’t require very much watering and they attract honeybees and butterflies.
In recent years, I’ve developed a fancy for visiting lavender farms whenever I get the opportunity to do so. It started a few years ago when I was on Maui and heard there was a lavender farm on the way up to Haleakala Crater. I visited and roamed beautiful fields of lavender and other flowers, all on the side of a dead volcano overlooking a big blue sea. Yeah, lavender and I are close now.
On one of the farms, I picked up some lavender to cook with (among other armfuls of lavender products) and that’s when my culinary adventures with lavender began. It has a slightly sweet and floral taste-sort of exactly what you would expect from lavender. It pairs well with lots of different foods and flavors like strawberries, chocolate, lemon, vanilla and even cinnamon. It’s also great for savory foods and most of you may even have some already in your herbes de provence spice blend. You can also add it to risotto (mmm, Meyer lemon-lavender risotto anyone?) and it tastes great on roasted veggies. What I’m saying is, the possibilities with lavender in your kitchen are endless. And it smells great and has relaxing capabilities too!
Since lavender is clearly so amazing, I knew I wanted to incorporate it into at least one dish or dessert at my Third of July Summer Picnic, a backyard picnic of close friends and lots of yummy vegan food. I ended up making a ton of food, but lavender managed to make its way successfully into two things: Lavender-Guava Wine Cooler Punch and Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lavender “Butter”cream Frosting.
Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lavender “Butter”cream Frosting
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. Makes one dozen.
- 1 c Almond Milk
- 4 Bags of Earl Grey tea or two tbsp loose tea
- ¼ c Canola Oil
- ½ c Plain or Vanilla Coconut Milk Yogurt
- ¾ c Unbleached Cane Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/3 c Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Unbleached Sea Salt
- 1 -1 ½ tsp Lemon Zest
Preheat Oven 350°. Line a muffin/cupcake tin with liners.
Heat the almond milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave until hot, but not boiling. Heat it just enough to steep your 4 tea bags or two tbsp loose tea (in a tea strainer of course). Steep tea for about 10 minutes and then give them a good squeeze after removing them from the pan. If you don’t still have 1 full cup of milk, just add a little more until you have 1 cup.
In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk or a fork to combine the oil, yogurt, sugar, vanilla extract and tea milk. Stir in the flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Mix until there are no big lumps, but be careful not to over mix.
Pour or spoon batter into lined cupcake tin and bake for about 20-25 min. Give a peak after 20 min to see how they’re doing and do a toothpick check. Also, make sure that your oven is the right temp. These cupcakes will sink if your oven is too hot or too cold. If you’re not sure of your oven accuracy, get an oven thermometer. I got one for less than $10 at Sur La Table, so they are inexpensive and can be essential to baking in a picky oven.
Lavender “Butter”cream Frosting Ingredients:
- ¼ c Nonhydrogenated Shortening (I like Earth Balance)
- ¼ c Nonhydrogenated Non-Dairy Margarine (I like Earth Balance)
- 1 ¾ c Powdered Sugar
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- ¼ tsp Lavender Extract (I used Silver Cloud Estates Organic Lavender Extract)
- Lavender Buds to taste (start with 1 tsp and work your way up to your taste)
- 1/8 c Coconut Milk Creamer
Beat shortening and margarine together in your mixer or with a hand mixer. Beat until well combined and creamy and then add the sugar. Beat for a few more minutes. Add the vanilla and lavender extracts, as well as the coconut milk creamer. Beat another minute. Then add in the lavender and beat another minute or so.
If you like a lot of frosting on your cupcakes, you can go ahead and double this recipe.
Lauren will be sharing more of her recipes and thoughts on her blog, The Jolly Fox. Make sure to head on over and show her some blog love today!