Saturday, February 27, 2010

Casbah Cupcakes

Previously on Sweet Swallows: Colleen bought a pretty little cakestand and decided to get over her cake prejudice to make a dessert that Ken declared, "the best thing she ever made." Anyone else who tried it, seemed to agree. Then she signed up for a cake decorating class, and suddenly, she had to make a cake a week. And that's what you might have missed.
Oh. Did I not mention I'm taking a cake decorating class? Classes were half-price at my local Mega-box Craft Store, and since I'm still underemployed, I figured 'What the hell?' and filed it under: Career Development. The classes are mostly thinly veiled infomercials for their product line. And I spend a lot of time thinking things like: You want me to use how much shortening? I'm going to pipe all of that icing to make a clown?? But when I stop being a whiny little know-it-all, I find myself saying things like, "Look how preeeeeeeeeeetty..." And I decided to take the second course, so, y'know, it can't be all that bad.
Anywho, when you're taking a cake decorating class, you actually need to bring in cakes. Shocking, I know. My brother got his dream skull-and-crossbones birthday cake out of the deal (Chocolate Cake with pudding filling). And when we had to bring in cupcakes, I knew it was time to pull out the BEST CAKE EVER, and turn it into adorable little snacks. Of course, the sweet older ladies were not impressed. I got blank stares when I told them they were pistachio cardamom cupcakes, and they all needed me to explain what vegan meant. I didn't even bother to tell them about the rosewater buttercream. But this cake, THIS CAKE, words cannot describe just how delicious it is. And now, it comes in adorable-size. I just might make these my signature treat. The decorations on the other hand... well, let's just say, I'm gonna keep practicing. 

Casbah Cupcakes 
(same recipe as the Vegan Pistachio Cardamom Cupcakes)
3/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt (I used one 60z container of whole soy & co)
1 cup soymilk
2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1.5 cup + 2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
heaping 1/4 tsp salt
heaping 1/4 tsp cardamom
2/3 cup finely chopped pistachios (a few chunks are fine, and welcome in my opinion!)
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a large bowl. In a seperate bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cardamom. Blend the dry mix into the wet mix, and mix together until the majority of lumps are gone (Do not use a mixer! Don't over mix!). Fold in pistachios. Pour evenly into cups (about 2/3-3/4 full). Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until skewer in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for a few minutes, then cool completely on wire racks.
While your cakes are cooling, make the frosting.
Vegan Rosewater Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup earth balance margaring
3.5 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
4 tbsp soy creamer
2 tsp vanilla
3-4 tsp rosewater (depending on taste)
Using mixer, blend shortening and margarine until well mixed and fluffy. Sift sugar in 1 cup at a time and blend. Add creamer, vanilla and rosewater slowly and blend to desired flavor/consistency. Blend for several minutes to make light and fluffy.
*I tend to start 1 tsp/tbsp at a time with the last three ingredients, blending and tasting until it seems just right. If you add too much wet ingredients, remember you can always add more sugar to stiffen it up. I also added some pink icing gel coloring.
Once the cakes are cooled, pipe or spread with icing, then make sure you have friends to share them with and try not to eat them all. 


  1. That is a freakish clown sitting atop a cupcake. I would love to bite off his legs. You bringing any sick treats for parade day.

  2. Nice Colleen!!!

    I remember in high school trying to explain to people what vegan meant. When I finally got through answering all the questions "nope...can't eat that either", I always felt the need to prove to them that I wasn't just living on salad and tofu and make them some kind of vegan cookie. I'm gonna try to look through some of my stuff and see if I can find any old fun recipes for you, but I think I gave most of my cookbooks away. :(

    Even though I'm a carnivore now, I definitely still love me some vegan goodies (mmmm Veggie Heaven)! So "best cake ever" sounds like an awesome recipe to try out!!

    Sounds like your class is awesome! I will admit that i'm not exactly in love with the clown (but it's not you, it's me). Haha, but the skull-and-crossbones kicks ass! Wish I lived closer so I could pick up some of your skills!!