Apricot-glazed Almond Cupcakes

November 20, 2010

Oozing like I imagine a cupcake volcano would, if it were to erupt with jam.

These cupcakes seem a lot of things. They seem kind of floofy. They seem kind of healthy. They seem hard to make. You get the picture, but the picture these kinds of things paint has no semblance whatsoever to the actual process and finished product. It’s true that they are beautiful, but they are super easy to make, super delicious, and probably not all that good for you (despite the almonds). Also, they are completely vegan.

I’ve already written on this blog that my ever-expanding circle of friends brings ever expanding preferences and demands, but I wouldn’t change that for a second! Baking, for me, is an absolute pleasure, and one of the most delightful parts about baking is sharing what you make and how you make it. The thought of someone not being able to enjoy a decadent baked good at any sort of outing at which I’m present makes me more sad than I’d like to admit. When I received Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero at a holiday gift swap last it, it was, literally, like walking through a door into a room filled with lots of other open doors and happy people dancing like the world was the best thing ever. After making a few of the cupcakes from the book, that vision was not only cemented into my mind, but I believe there have been a few actual happy dances surrounding the vegan cupcakes to come from this little book. (On another, more creepy note, I do refer to Isa by her first name because I’m a little in love with her books, her TV show, everything really. Accept my apologies.)

My non-vegan and vegan friends can enjoy the same treats, and still feel like they are being treated. Now that, for me, defines the idea of being perfectly content.

When I made these cupcakes, I happened to have a jar of apricot darjeeling jam from a local farmer’s market lying around. The results were fantastic, however, I know that these cupcakes would be just as excellent with plain apricot. Bonne Maman makes an apricot raspberry jam that would probably be spectacular in this recipe. Now that I’m thinking about jam, perhaps you could go crazy and use any jam you want!

Gorgeous cupcakes, in spite of my elementary food photography skills

Apricot-glazed Almond Cupcakes

(Adapted from from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)

This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1/3 cup canola oil

¾ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup soy yogurt

2/3 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk, if almond milk is not your cup of tea)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup almond meal (You can make your own by whirring some almonds in a food processor for a few seconds.)

1/3 cup apricot preserves

For the glaze:

½ cup apricot preserves

1 tablespoon water

For presentation purposes:

1/3 cup sliced almonds

Method:

For the cupcakes:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a tin by lining a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

2. In a bowl large enough to contain all the batter, combine oil, sugar, yogurt, almond milk, vanilla, and almond extract.

3. Sift the flour, baking power, and salt together, then sift it into the wet ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth.

4. Add the almond meal and mix just to combine. I wouldn’t recommend over mixing any sort of cupcake batter.

5. Fill each cupcake liner two-thirds full. Add apricot preserves by the half teaspoonful to the center of each cupcake. (Isa recommends tapping the jam to make it even with the batter, but when I did that the jam sank very far into the cupcake. When I left the jam sitting on top of the batter, it seemed to sink into the cupcake pretty nicely.)

6. Bake for 24 to 26 minutes. You probably shouldn’t employ the toothpick test to these cakes, because the reading would be foiled by the jam center, but you can press lightly on the cupcake and see if it springs back. That’s always hard for me, so I just keep an eye on them and watch the edges.)

7. Transfer to a cooling rack and bring them to room temperature before applying the glaze.

For the glaze:

1. Put the jam and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, and keep stirring for a minute. Turn the heat off, but continue to stir for another 30 seconds.

Some assembly required:

1. If you have a pastry brush, use it to apply the glaze to the cupcakes, but a teaspoon sized spoon will work just as well. Add some almonds to the top, any way you choose: sliced almonds in the center, slivered almonds all over, crushed almonds around the edges, choose your own adventure!

2. Let them cool before serving.

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