Monday, February 13, 2012

Vegan vanilla chai butterfly cupcakes with vanilla-cinnamon buttercream

Breakfast: A full vegan brunch from Fresh

Lunch: A veggie sandwich and coffee from Tequila Bookworm

Dinner: Leek and potato soup with crusty bread followed by two vegan vanilla chai butterfly cupcakes with vanilla-cinnamon buttercream

When I was living in Australia, one of my ultimate favourite things was the Tantric Turtle Chai tent at Playground Weekender festival. Run by what I believe was a cool hippy family, these guys went round festivals serving up their amazing nutmeg cake, putting on open-mic afternoons and generally being lovely. The only low point was when we saw a funnelweb spider in the area once, but that was sorted out pretty quickly.

The best thing about this tent though was their amazing, AMAZING soy chai. Made in giant vats, this stuff was absolutely phenomenal and always made my day. Since then, I've been hooked on chai.

This recipe is double chai-y; the milk is chai-infused, and the flour mix includes ground ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon too. My favourite part, though, is the vanilla-cinnamon buttercream. good.

You'll need:
(Makes 12)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 good quality chai tea bags
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Vanilla-cinnamon buttercream:
3 cups icing sugar
1 cup vegan margarine
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a cupcake tray with cupcake wrappers
Heat the milk in a pan until it's almost boiling, then take off the heat and throw in the 2 tea bags
Allow the tea bags to sit in the milk for 5-10 minutes while it cools
Remove the tea bags from the milk and stir in the vinegar
In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, icing sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
Stir the oil and the vanilla essence into the milk mixture
Combine the milk mixture with the flour mixture and stir til just combined
Divide between the cupcake wrappers and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean
Allow the cakes to cool
Whip the icing sugar, vegan margarine, vanilla essence and cinnamon together in a blender
With a sharp knife, cut the top off the cupcake, pointing the knife slightly downwards so you get a UFO-shaped piece of cake
Cut this in half into two "wings"
Fill the hole in the top of the cake with the buttercream then stick the two "wings" in, as shown in the photo
Repeat for each cake until you've got an army of vanilla-chai butterflies

The black tea in the chai tea bags gives this a slight bitter taste that contrasts delightfully with the sweetness of the buttercream. I love the spiciness of these and the smoothness of whipped buttercream; now, if only I can fly to Aus to have another of those amazing soy chais so with this cupcake...

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