August 22, 2010

Rainbow Cupcakes

Posted in Look, Make tagged , , , at 8:09 pm by onetinyacorn

It’s no secret that I love rainbows, and I love baking. I’ve been wanting to make these rainbow cupcakes for a while now, and found the perfect excuse when we had guests stop by on their way to San Francisco.

Rainbow Cupcakes

I used the recipe found at Baking Bites, but I modified a few things:

1. I only used 2-3 drops of food coloring per color instead of the 1/2 teaspoon.

2. I added 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract to the batter (in addition to the vanilla).

3. Instead of buttermilk, which I didn’t have on hand, I combined 1/2 cup of milk and a tablespoon of vinegar in a glass cup and let it curdle for a few minutes.

4. I only got 9 cupcakes, instead of the stated 10. But the baking time remained 15 minutes.

I almost always halve frosting amounts; I just find giant towers of buttercream to be rather excessive (that’s not fat-conscientiousness talking–I ate a large slab of brie yesterday without remorse). So in lieu of their frosting recipe, I used:

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon milk

few drops of vanilla extract

approximately 1 cup of powdered sugar

Mix all together to a consistency and taste that you like.


February 22, 2009

Green Tea Cupcakes

Posted in Make tagged , , , , at 7:41 pm by onetinyacorn

Every time I make these, at least three people ask me for the recipe. They’re my favorite cupcake recipe, with a moist crumb, and a delightful medley of almond and  green tea flavors. As cupcakes go, this is a fairly innocuous recipe, health-wise. You could even substitute half of the oil with applesauce, although that creates a slightly rubbery texture. This is the original vegan recipe, although you can substitute non-vegan ingredients and everything works out just fine.

Matcha powder  is simply green tea, ground to a silky consistency. It can be found in any pan-Asian grocery store (such as Lotus in the Strip district here in Pittsburgh). It is a little pricey, but it goes a really long way.


Green Tea Cupcakes (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins (or grease them with a tiny bit of oil).

The Cupcakes

In a large bowl, whisk together:

½ cup soy yogurt
2/3 cup rice milk (soy milk works well, too)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
½ teaspoon almond extract

Beat well to blend in yogurt.
In a separate large bowl, sift together:

1 ¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3-4 teaspoons matcha powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾  cup sugar

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing after each addition. Beat a little longer to break up any large lumps.
Fill liners 2/3 full and bake 20 min.

Green Tea Glaze

2 tablespoons  margarine (I use butter, as a non-vegan. If you are a vegan, I like Earth Balance brand)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8-1/4 teaspoon matcha powder
1-2 tablespoons rice milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
a few drops of vanilla extract

With a fork, beat butter or margarine to a fluff. Mix in confectioners’ sugar and matcha powder to form a crumbly texture. Slowly beat in 1 tablespoon rice milk, almond extract, and vanilla extract. If icing is too thick, pour in an additional teaspoon of rice milk.

Marzipan Flowers (optional)

I tend to skip this step, unless I’m making these for special occasions, simply because it’s a bit time-consuming. They are quite pretty, though. This recipe does not come from the cookbook, but from my head:

3/4 cup almonds, blanched (buying them pre-blanched will save you quite a bit of time)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 drop red food coloring
few drops of water, if necessary

Toss the almonds and confectioners’ sugar into a food processor and process away! The goal is to grind those almonds into a fine powder–or as close to a powder as you can get them. Otherwise, your marzipan will be grainy. Toss in the wet ingredients, except for the water, and process again. You’ll want a dough-like substance to form–something resembling cookie dough, except maybe a bit dryer. If a dough is not forming, add a few drops of water at a time.

When you get the right consistency, spread out your marzipan on a countertop that has been lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar. You can use either a small cookie cutter (1-2 inches in diameter), or a knife to create your flowers. You might want to try cutting out individual petals, then pressing five petals together to form a flower.

To Assemble

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, use a tablespoon to pour green tea glaze into the center of each cupcake. Spread out a bit with the back of the spoon. Gently place marzipan flowers on top of the glaze. Let glaze set before serving.

November 2, 2008

Halloween Craftiness

Posted in Make tagged , , , , at 12:53 pm by onetinyacorn

Halloween is my favorite day of the year. For one thing, it encourages creativity in its participants. For another, it’s interesting to see how masks and makeup encourage a kind of disassociation, wherein people take on different personas. I’ve read theories on the carnivale tradition, stating that this opportunity to act as rulers keeps people relatively pacified for the remainder of the year. Halloween night seems similarly ripe for people to vent the confines that they may feel in their day-to-day life. Also, there’s candy.

This year, I made a vampire pinata, pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes, and delicious spiced cider. I whittled down my list of 30+ costume ideas and settled on a living Sylvia Ji painting. Here are the results:

The makeup took a couple of hours, with the bulk of that spent trying to perfect the white base. I used metallic eyeshadow powders, mixed with a fixing agent for the colors. Scared the crap out of a few people on the bus…

The cupcakes were a hit, too. Here’s the recipe:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes, with Cinnamon Icing from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Makes 12 cupcakes.


1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners [or just grease with a tiny bit of oil].

2. In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin, oil, sugar, soy milk, and vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir together with a fork–don’t use a handheld mixer, as it will make the batter gummy. Once well-combined, fold in the chocolate chips.

3. Fill liners two-thirds full. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool fully before icing.

Cinnamon Icing


1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
1 tablespoon soy milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Place sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the margarine, soy milk, and vanilla and stir with a fork until smooth. Keep at room temperature until ready to use. The mixture should look opaque and homey brown. If it’s glistening a lot or looks too liquid, add a little extra confectioners’ sugar.

Once cupcakes are cooled completely, pipe icing on.

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