Congratulations to Jara Fonseca for winning 1st Place and BEST OF SHOW at the 2015 SoCal VegFest Vegan Cupcake Competition (Costa Mesa, CA, USA)! And lucky for us, she has graciously agreed to share her award-winning recipe with us (printable version at the end of this post)!
This was the first annual festival and competition, so we really didin't know what to expect. But as the competitors started arriving with their cupcakes, it was clear that each and every one of them put a great deal of effort into their baking and presentation. The Cupcake Competition Display Table was a very popular stop at the VegFest, with hundreds (possibly thousands?!) of people snapping photos, ooh-ing and aah-ing, and even offering to buy the cupcakes! Some of the spectators were clearly shocked that the cupcakes were all vegan, with quite a few asking for confirmation that these cupcakes were all dairy-free as well as egg-free (YES and YES!). THANK YOU once again to all of the competitors for helping to make this competition so successful, to their friends and family for supporting and encouraging them. Everyone who participated in any way helped to show the general public what is possible in the world of vegan cupcakes.
The judges had a tough job, and they took their job very seriously. Before tasting each entry, they visually inspected the cupcakes for appearance and presentation, sniffed each entry for an enticing aroma, and cut into them to carefully evaluated the texture & crumb to determine if the cupcake batter was appropriately mixed, and if the baking process was properly executed. And because good looks and first impressions can take you only so far, they of course tasted them. The judges were looking for excellent and thoughtful flavor. The frosting had to complement the cupcake, not compete with it, and the overall taste needed to be well-balanced; not bland or overly sweet. The competitors gave the judges a lot to consider... the competition was extremely stiff. But there can be only one cupcake to rule them all, and on this particular day, Jara's cupcakes received top marks across the board from all three judges. A heartfelt THANK YOU once again to our judges Tanya Petrovna of Chef Tanya's Kitchen; Jackie Sobon of Vegan Yack Attack, and Daniel Mattos of Orange County School of the Arts. Much love and thanks also to our friends Ruth Dormaier, Jeanne Brexa, and Rachel Walborn, who helped us pull this competition together...we truly could not have done it without you. Full results are posted on our SoCal VegFest Vegan Cupcake Competition page...congrats again to all the winners!
Jara's recipe doesn't quite fall into the "quick and easy" category, as it includes steps such as making food coloring from scratch from red cabbage. But you certainly can't argue with the results! Her recipe, along with a printable version, follows.
So if you're not yet vegan, please come join us on the vegan side...we have cupcakes. Oh yes, we most definitely have cupcakes.
Thanks for reading. Peace and love to all who live.
Printable Recipe: Lemon Lavender Cupcakes with Lavender Sugar Crystals by Jara Fonseca
Lemon Lavender Cupcake with Lavender Sugar Crystals
by Jara Fonseca
· 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
· 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
· 1 cup granulated sugar
· 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
· 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
· 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
· 3 tablespoons cornstarch
· 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3-4 drops doTerra Lemon Essential Oil
· 3/4 cup vegan butter – Earth Balance
· 3/4 cup non-hydrogented natural shortening – Earth Balance
· 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
· 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
· pinch of salt
· 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
• 1-2 drops doTerra Lavender Essential Oil
** If using red cabbage juice to dye frosting, omit milk and replace with dye. You may need to add a little more powdered sugar.
Lavender Sugar Crystals:
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1-2 teaspoons red cabbage dye
• 1-2 drops doTerra Lavender Essential Oil (Optional)
Purple Dye (Red Cabbage):
• ½ of a small head of red cabbage, cut into small chunks
• 1 cup water
· Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
· Line 12 muffin cups with paper.
· In a large bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk and vinegar. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
· Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract, and whisk together until the mixture becomes frothy.
· Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
· Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk together until the flour mixture disappears.
· Divide the batter evenly – fill about ¾ of the way full.
• Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
· Cool for about 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
· With an electric mixer, beat the butter and shortening together on medium high speed for about 2-3 minutes, until light and creamy.
· Add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time and beat on low to combine.
· Turn the mixer up to medium high and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
· Add the vanilla extract and salt and beat to combine.
· Add the non-dairy milk in one tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.
** If using homemade food color, omit milk and replace with Red Cabbage Juice
Lavender Sugar Crystals:
Mix all ingredients and let mixture sit out to dry or place in warm oven with door slightly ajar for about 10-15 minutes.
Purple, Red Cabbage Dye:
• Place cabbage and water in saucepan over medium high heat and cover.
• Bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes then bring to very low heat for about 20-30 minutes. You don’t
want it to simmer.
• Check your now purple cabbage water. At this point you can heat it up to a light simmer for a few more
minutes or until you have about a ¼ cup or less ofpurple color.”