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absinthe cupcakes

August 25th, 2008 (08:26 am)

I came across this recipe for absinthe cupcakes around St Patrick's Day. It's sat at the back of my imagination, muttering, since.

This weekend we went to a party where were welcome but not obligated to bring anything. I thought this would be a good chance to try out absinthe cupcakes. Like new shoes, taking a new recipe to a party is never a good idea, so I practiced. The recipe needed veganizing, anyway.

Behind the cut is my thinking about the challenges and a bit of processing. Ignore it and skip to the recipe to see how to make vegan cupcakes with absinthe baked in, drizzled on, and poured over, without knocking your guests out. These got rave reviews, including my always favorite feedback, "These are vegan?"

The Challenges:

1. Royal Icing--like angel food cake, and for the same reason--cannot be vegan.
2. 1/4 C of absinthe, as it turns out, is A LOT of booze.

icing: At first I thought I'd just make a buttercream and whip some absinthe into it. Maybe with some green food coloring. That idea held for a while. When I started looking at vegan recipes I could absinthe-ize, I found a yummy-looking glaze, which is more like royal icing anyway. It's nothing like it, but less nothing-like than buttercream.

LOTS of booze: The first cake test I did was way too strong. It was drunk-making strong. When I make boozey treats, the goal is to leave people on their feet. 1/4 C of booze was going to be too much in a vegan cupcake.

In Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, there are a few recipes that call for alcohol. So I looked through those. None of them seemed like what I was looking for. I wound up using the Rosewater Pistachio recipe as a base. It only calls for 2 Tbsp of rosewater absinthe. The cakes came out a little weak, so I drizzled 1/4 - 1/2 tsp absinthe on each one while they were still warm, like VCTOTW Rum Raisin cupcakes.

The final challenge, which I did not know about until my second test batch, was that my baking powder, or soda, was off. This was not supposed to be a test batch, so it was something of a disappointment. Remember, kids, buy baking soda and baking powder in small amounts and replace it often. You can use the old stuff for scrubbing your stainless steel sink to sparkly perfection.

THE RECIPE (and about time)



1/2 C vanilla soy yogurt
2/3 C soy milk or rice milk
1/3 C canola oil
3/4 C plus 2 T crystalline fructose (as usual, you can use whatever granulated sweetener pleases you)
2 T absinthe
1 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
2 T cornstarch (not arrowroot, please no)
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt


1 1/2 - 1 3/4 C powdered sugar, sifted
1 T margarine
2 t soy milk
1 T absinthe

Making the Cakes

  1. preheat the oven to 350F
  2. line cupcake pan with papers
  3. whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl
  4. whisk together the wet ingredients in a small bowl (doing the dry first means only using one whisk)
  5. add wet to dry and whisk until it's practically smooth, but don't beat until fluffy. Somewhere around well-combined will do.
  6. fill each cupcake well 2/3 -3/4 full. I only made 11 out of this.
  7. bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. set on a rack to cool.
  9. while they are still warm (but not hot) drizzle 1/4 t to 1/2 t of absinthe onto the top of each cupcake. You could probably get a whole tsp in there if you did this in two or three rounds, but then you would have to serve the cakes on a plate, to be eaten with a spoon. (Also, see my earlier note about leaving people standing up.)

Making the Glaze
  1. in a small-to-medium bowl, use a fork to smoosh (shut up, spellcheck, "smoosh" is a word) the margarine into 1/2 of the sugar. Smoosh around until it forms smallish crumbs, not until it's a paste.
  2. whisk in the soy milk and absinthe. it should liquify and get all runny.
  3. add powdered sugar 1/4 C at a time until the mixture has a thick consistency and looks satiny. If it gets too thick, add more absinthe.

Bringing it All Together

When the cupcakes are completely cooled, remove them from the pan and place them on a plate, or on a rack over a plate (best if you are messy like I am). Drizzle the glaze over the top. I like to cover the top of each cake completely and let it drip a little down the sides. Do not move the cakes until the glaze sets (5 minutes or so).