Alibi V.17 No.27 • July 3-9, 2008 


Almond Cupcakes with Tangerine Frost and Flowers

When we got knee-deep in the nitty-gritty of planning how we were going to pull off a recent wedding catering gig, we quickly realized the difference between making some big-ass salads and nourishing a nuptial celebration: a proper wedding cake. So we got to researching and everyone involved liked the idea of cute little cake-ettes instead of a full-fledged wedding cake. We dug up a solid vegan cupcake recipe and added a few twists in flavor and decoration. The cake is vegan, the frosting's vegan. Both are sugary as hell and cute as a button of peyote.

Vegan Almond Cake

Makes 12 cupcakes


1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup Canola oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil cupcake liners.

2) First you're going to "curdle" your soy milk, to make "buttermilk." In a mixing bowl, gently mix the soy milk and vinegar. Set aside for 3 to 5 minutes. After those minutes are up, vigorously beat the mixture with a whisk until your bowl resembles a bubble bath—frothy and thick. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream while beating, then add the extract.

3) In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt. If you don't own a sifter, no biggie: Simply put two colanders together and pour powder stuffs in increments, making jerky motions to evenly sift. Then add these sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently fold together until no lumps remain.

4) Pour batter into liners 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack. When completely cool, frost and decorate.

Vegan Tangerine Frosting with Toppings


1-cup stick non-hydrogenated shortening
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1/4 cup plain soy milk
1 1/2 teaspoon tangerine oil, divided
12 nasturtium flowers, separated into bite-sized leaf clusters
1/8 cup candied ginger, chopped into 1-centimeter cubes

1) Place vegetable shortening in a mixing bowl and place over the oven for 5 minutes to soften. Then add the sugar and beat with a whisk. If the shortening is still too cold, use a potato masher to work the mixture into a paste, then whip out your whisk and mix until smooth.

2) Slowly add soy milk, whisking until creamy and even. Add tangerine oil in 1/2-teaspoon increments and continue whisking. Frosting should turn a subtle beige-orange color and taste like fresh tangerine.

3) Use a pastry bag or a steady-handed spatula to frost the cooled cupcakes. Top each with 2 nasturtium leaves and 5 or 6 little ginger cubes.

Soundtrack: The Raveonettes' "Chain Gang of Love"