Fourth of July is a time near and dear to the heart of my childhood. It was the one time of year where I was permitted to play with fire. Our family didn’t have the money for return trips to the fireworks stands and I was the youngest of four which meant only a few firecrackers for me. So sometimes after our fireworks were spent, I was content just to walk around with the punk, the soft sticks they give out for free at firework stands. Punks burns slowly, allowing the person lighting off fireworks several blasts per punk. “Punk” was also a term of endearment bestowed upon me by my older siblings. Me and my punk – two of a kind bringing a slow-burning light to the world.
That’s how we celebrated Fourth of July in a small town of less than a thousand people in a somewhat rural area of Missouri. I don’t live in that same small town and I no longer hang around with punks. Now, I find new ways to celebrate the origins of our country and it doesn’t usually begin with a trip to a firework tent. Instead I head up to the grocery store; followed by a few repeat trips when I realize more ingredients are needed.
The thrill I seek today is a burst of flavor; delighting the senses in a more savory (or sweet) manner. We continue to gather with family each year to celebrate this time-honored tradition but my goal for the day is usually to fix the best bowl of vegan potato salad that I can or to create some new, spectacular dessert to dazzle my little vegan family – my hubby and my daughter.
This year I decided to make Fourth of July Cupcakes. What could be better than bite-size red, white, and blue deliciousness! In the process, I created one of my favorite vegan vanilla cake recipes to date. It’s something I’ve been working on for some time — creating a vanilla vegan cake that didn’t fall in the middle. Eggs are not easy ingredients to replace, especially in cakes. But I think the challenge is well worth the effort because I feel the end result is a more peaceful and healthier cake.
I found the explosion of flavor I was looking for by adding a teaspoonful of raspberry jam to the cupcakes before baking adding a nice, colorful touch to the cupcakes. I also flavored the Cream Frosting by using So Delicious Coconut Milk Hazelnut Creamer. What a nice touch!
This punk offers you all a happy and safe Fourth of July. I think I’ve found a new way of spreading that slow-burning light – sharing recipes for healthier ways to eat that add a little balance in the world. I hope you’ll agree when you try these cupcakes with just the right balance of crispiness on the outside, tender cake in the middle and raspberry goodness throughout.
Patriotic Vegan Cupcakes
- 1 batch Easy Vegan Vanilla Cake
- 1 batch Hazelnut Cream Frosting
- Raspberries, elderberries, or blueberries for garnishing
Easy Vegan Vanilla Cake
- 3 cups flour
- ¾ cup ground raw cashews or almonds
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup Earth Balance margarine (softened to room temp)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup raspberry jam (optional)
Heat your oven to 350° F and place cupcake liners in muffin pans. For this recipe I made 18 regular cupcakes and 6 mini cupcakes.
Use either a food processor or coffee grinder to pulse the raw cashews into a course flour. Be careful not to blend it too long or it will turn into a paste. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, ground cashews, baking soda, baking powder, corn starch and salt.
In a mixing bowl, combine the margarine, oil and sugar and mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add remaining wet ingredients and mix again until well combined.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and use your mixer on medium speed until well combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners. If you’d like to try the raspberry filling, drop a teaspoon of jam onto the top of each cupcake before baking.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until a piece of uncooked spaghetti or a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean (no batter on it). That’s your sign that the cupcakes are ready to come out of the oven.
Hazelnut Cream Frosting
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, softened
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ⅛ tablespoons salt
- 1 – 2 tablespoons So Delicious Coconut Milk Hazelnut Flavored Creamer
In a medium bowl beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and salt and continue beating until well combined. Scrape any bits of the mixture that might be trying to escape from the bowl into the rest of the mixture and continue mixing another 15 – 20 seconds. Add the Hazelnut Flavored creamer and continue with your mixer until the frosting is light and fluffy. This might take several minutes. If you’re feeling bored, hold the mixer with one hand, and do some squats or plies to increase your leg strength. Hold those for several seconds at time. Then stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, begin mixing again and switch to the other side. You can get quite a little workout in while cooking. Who knew!
Fourth of July Cupcake Assembly
After the cupcakes have cooled, cover them with the Hazelnut Cream Frosting. Place 3 fresh raspberries on the top of each cupcake. I happened to have some eldberries on hand which I placed in the center of each cupcake, but if you don’t have any of those handy, you can use blueberries as well. The combination of colors and flavors work very well together.
Final step? Enjoy!