(A sequential installment from Kim Hastings, my photographer friend and, along with her vet husband, owner of Independence Veterinary Hospital, who decided on her own to cook her way through The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes Julie & Julia Style for her omnivorous family as a strategy for more healthy eating.)
Today was a total girls’ day with my little grand daughter Henley. We spent the morning baking these awesome little cupcakes and then went shopping for clothes. After years of raising boys, this is a new experience for me and I love it.
I chose Pear-Rum Cupcakes with Tea-Infused Buttercream Frosting. So, as instructed, I prepared the tea bags and cream the evening before while I was making my own tea. Today I started the batter right when little one went down for a nap hoping she would stay down long enough for me to get them in the oven.
I started reading the recipe and really??? Again with the food processor?! I swear if a certain vegan chef and cookbook author was stranded on a deserted tropical island and could only take one kitchen gadget, it would be the food processor! So here we go again. I’m really thankful little Henley is sleeping so she doesn’t hear some of the words that always fly out of my mouth when I use my processor.
I have to admit I analyzed the recipe trying to find another way but I have to give in on this one. No other gadget that I own would be the same and I didn’t want to screw it up. Because we are not a vegan household, I confess I used white flour, white sugar, and whole milk. Aside from that I followed the recipe – winky face. I admit the part where you add baking soda to the vinegar was so fun I thought I was back in grade school building a volcano as a school project. I decided on mini cupcakes because I know myself too well. I never finish a whole cupcake although I will eat all the icing – so really a lot like a three year old.
Luckily for me they came out of the oven right before Henley woke up, so she got to help me with the frosting. She especially loved the decorating and the taste testing. That was her favorite part of the day. Shhh! Please don’t tell her mom and dad!!! So here’s the results… I thought the cake part was fresh tasting and not too sweet but I thought the frosting was too sweet so I added a little salt to it. Then I realized that together they are perfect.
My husband is not a big dessert eater but he loved the cake after he scraped off the frosting. My youngest son got so excited seeing cupcakes on the counter when he got home from school. He asked what kind they were and without thinking I said pear. I forgot pears are his least favorite fruit. So he loved the frosting and left the cake…much like how I eat cupcakes! I sent a dozen to work after lunch and my other son texted me “THEY ARE VEGAN!” the minute he saw them. Remember…vegan phobic family. I texted back ” No they aren’t. I used whole milk and white flour.” Still he insisted they tasted “vegan”. Whatever. It’s ok because little Henley was a huge fan and it was our special day.
~Kim Howard Hastings
[Betsy’s note: white flour is vegan–just not particularly nutritious–and white sugar is, though sometimes animal bone char is used to refine it.]