Despite the best laid plans, the healthiest of lives and the most positive intentions, sometimes you can have a bad day. I woke up dark and twisted today. I actually thought “f*** it” and laid in bed contemplating fast food. 40 minutes north was McDonald’s and Red Rooster, 60 minutes south was McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Already the southern option was winning in my head. In my former life, Kentucky Fried Chicken was my number one favourite fast food. I knew what I would have – a ZingerBurgerMealupgraded tolargewithapepsimaxandextraseasoningonthefries. I had ordered it so often that I could run it off in my head as if it was one word. 6.30am and I was lying in bed salivating. At 6.30am I knew KFC would not be open – I had at least 4 hours to wait until I could leave, so I put the pillow over my head and went back to sleep.
When I woke up later, I was still dark and twisted, but I knew I would not go and get KFC. I was all talk, I always have been – I like to talk tough about most things, but I am not remotely as tough as I make myself out to be. So as many times as I repeated in my head “ZingerBurgerMealupgradedtolargewithapepsimaxandextraseasoningonthefries,” I knew I was not going to head south.
I was pursuing this lifestyle for a reason: for my health and that reason would never go away. Instead I decided I would bake something delicious. Something light and fluffy and buttery and decadent like a croissant, like a danish pastry, like a lemon curd cupcake. That was what I wanted. One of my lemon curd cupcakes.
I make cakes and I bake, but I can’t eat any of the things I make. If I am trialing a new recipe I will taste it when I first make it, but apart from that, I don’t eat anything I bake. But right now I wanted one of my lemon curd cupcakes. My dark and twisted brain would accept nothing else.
The only problem was that I had a real issue with vegan baking. I thought it sucked. It sucked big time. Instead of a cupcake you got a dense, heavy brick. Of course, there must be millions of amazing vegan recipes out there for cakes and desserts, but I am early into this journey and I was going through a dark and twisted phase so it was easier to sum up vegan baking as hopeless.
I was honestly of the opinion that there was no way you could replicate the light fluffy quality of ‘normal’ baking without the eggs and butter. But I was on a mission and I was determined to prove myself wrong. The first attempt was awful. I actually chucked the end result in the chook bucket, whilst muttering about ‘effing’ vegans. The second effort though was really good. Good enough to put a smile back on my face. Actually it was amazing. My mood lifted and everything was rainbows, unicorns and butterflies. Well not quite, but after three of my cupcakes I felt substantially better.
Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes:
- 1 1/4 cups Plain Flour
- 3/4 cup Caster Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 2/3 cup Almond Milk
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius fan-forced oven. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cases.
- In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients together
- In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix that together. Mix until the batter just comes together – to avoid the vegan brick: don’t overmix.
- Evenly fill the cupcake cases.
- Bake 20 minutes until tops are lightly golden. Allow to cool.
Vegan Lemon Curd
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup almond milk
- 250 ml lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons of corn flour
Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and whisk until mixture thickens. If too thick, add a little more lemon juice.
When both cupcakes and curd are cool use a small sharp knife to hollow out each cupcake. Keep the piece you have removed and cut into two. Fill each hollow with curd and top with the little cake wings. Add a raspberry and a touch of icing sugar.