Sometimes inspiration comes to me in a flash. Sometimes it's in a dream. Sometimes it happens while driving and I am thinking of nothing in particular. A flavor combination. A quippy thought. Right now, it's some much-needed sunshine from these vegan lemon chamomile cupcakes. We're having a little bit of a dark week or two here, dealing with the ramifications of lots of changes that I posted about earlier this month. I was initially processing them mentally, because I had to react to what was around me. The events have now started to settle in my body and I'm trying to get through it, which involves feeling it all out. Feeling my feelings often leads to pouring a cup of tea.
Tea is tremendously grounding, reassuring: you pour in hot water and you steep some leaves and encounter a reliable, soothing result. I've always liked infusing cupcakes with tea; maybe you saw a previous post a while back with the chocolate coconut chai cupcakes? Over the summer, I became re-inspired to up my game when it comes to working with tea after I read and talked with Annelies Zildjerveld about her cookbook Steeped, which we profiled here, along with a recipe. Chamomile's floral notes pair naturally with honey, vanilla and gentle citrus flavors. I have more where these sunny vegan lemon chamomile cupcakes are coming from, so stay tuned. This particular recipe features multiple adaptations of the standard set forth in the stellar Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 cup nondairy milk
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. lemon extract
- 1/2 cup looseleaf chamomile tea, brewed and chilled
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup neutral oil (I used refined coconut)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, sift together the flour through baking soda and set aside.
Combine the nondairy milk with apple cider vinegar in a glass measuring cup and set aside. After a few minutes, add the tea and the extracts, and whisk to combine.
Place the sugar in a medium bowl and add the milk-tea combo to it. Add the oil and whisk to combine. Bring the wet and dry ingredients together carefully in a folding motion, using a small whisk if necessary to gently remove any lumps. The batter will be fairly aqueous.
Line a cupcake pan with paper liners or spray with nonstick, or butter and flour the pan. Using a 1/4 scoop, fill the liners 2/3 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes (ovens are highly individualized things; I trust you know yours?) until they spring back slightly when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean, or with a couple of small moist crumbs. Cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove them to cool completely on a wire rack.
I'm not including the frosting, for a few reasons. Many readers know how to make it, but I also to encourage you to try these out with just some powdered sugar on top, or a simple drizzle of honey. I frosted this with my standard buttercream frosting, spiked with a little lemon juice and a fair bit of honey, and a few tablespoons of whole milk to keep the whole thing consistent. If you need a good buttercream recipe, please leave me a comment or send me a message. I'm happy to help and would not want to leave you in the lurch.