Christmas may be a religious holiday with a very specific and serious meaning, but that doesn’t stop me from squeeing like a little girl from Thanksgiving to December 26th over gift wrapping and cookies and snow. For those of you who don’t share this seasonal joy, I apologize. I apologize for going all Martha Stewart with a constant stream of bake all the cookies! decorate all the gingerbread houses! design and print and mail out all the cards!
|My mom got a little creative this year.|
And of course, for a fellow with a sweet tooth as strong as mine, it’s no surprise that I love going all-out with the baked goods this time of year. You get a cake! You get a batch of cookies! You get a cinnamon roll! Nothing brings out the holiday spirit quite like giving away baked goods with reckless abandon to everyone with a mouth.
I know. Such the overachiever. But it’s in my blood, like glucose. Christmas is the ultimate excuse to bake everything you’ve ever dreamed of baking.
Say, for example, these cupcakes.
|Shown here before being bombarded with powdered sugar.|
These cupcakes were a gleam in my eye long before the holiday season. I thought to myself, why, matcha would make just lovely green frosting! And to think if I decorated them with pomegranate seeds—by Jove you’ve got yourself a Christmas tree!
|The resemblance is uncanny. source|
So of course when vacation rolled around, I headed for the kitchen to make my classmates some all-natural, edible, and totally delicious little trees. And for that they should be grateful. I had to trek out to buy both matcha and a pomegranate at Whole Foods for these!
|There's a reason the Latin word for "work" is the same as for "suffering".|
Now, I’m not the biggest fan of matcha. That said my primary experience with the stuff was a matcha latte I bought from Starbucks a while back, which I found distinctly grassy and not too much of a pleasure to drink. Add that to the fact that matcha is fucking expensive, I’ve not been keen on using it in baked goods. But with my recent resolution to make an effort to use more natural ingredients, I decided to try it. Just a bit. Just a teaspoon or so in a big-ass batch o’ buttercream.
And I’m glad I did. The green tea flavor is subtle, not at all grassy, and is wonderfully complemented by the pomegranate and, well, fudgy chocolate brownie, because I think fudgy chocolate brownies go with pretty much anything, and that includes homework.
|Too young for booze, the unstoppable Baby June turns to cupcakes.|
The effect is even worth the time spent seeding that goddamn pomegranate. I swear. Actually doesn’t take that long, if you do it while humming Christmas carols and waiting for the brownies to bake.
Very effective system, that is.
Here’s the recipe.
Vegan fudgy brownie cupcakes with matcha frosting
Adapted from Oh She Glows
10 grams • flaxseed meal • 1 ½ tablespoons
45 grams • water • 3 tablespoons
95 grams • all-purpose flour • ¾ cup
168 grams • almond flour • 1 ½ cups
40 grams • cocoa powder • ½ cup
2 grams • kosher salt • ½ teaspoon
1 gram • baking soda • ¼ teaspoon
85 grams • coconut oil • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons
120 grams • nondairy chocolate chips, divided • ¾ cup
250 grams • granulated sugar • 1 ¼ cups
90 grams • nondairy milk • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons
4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon
55 grams • dried cranberries • ½ cup
180 grams • coconut oil, softened • ¾ cup
300 grams • powdered sugar • 2 ½ cups
30 grams • nondairy milk • 2 tablespoons
4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon
2 grams • matcha powder • 1 teaspoon
Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees F and greasing 12 cupcake tins. In a small bowl, whisk together flaxseed and water. In a large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt together coconut oil and 80 grams / ½ cup chocolate. Whisk in flax mixture, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture into dry ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in cranberries.
Divide batter between cupcake tins and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, start by beating coconut oil in an electric stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and combine once more. Add nondairy milk, vanilla, matcha powder, and salt, and beat until light and fluffy. Pipe on cupcakes; decorate with pomegranate seeds. Munch.
As you may have noticed, I tried a new “technique” (LOL not actually a technique) with the photography for this post. While taking the photos at night (as usual), I mistakenly activated the flash and ended up with the ghostly cupcakes you see here. Personally I was fond of the effect. You may disagree. Feel free to let me know. I won’t get offended. Okay I will be offended but only slightly and not enough to doxx you and then tell your grandmother how disappointed she should be.
On a related subject: some happy little cupcakes you might want to try.
Avocado pound cake cupcakes with salted ganache glaze. Also green, but thanks to avocado. The salt makes all the difference.
Rainbow mini cupcakes with salty almond buttercream. These are artificially colored, but I wouldn’t say they suffer for it. Still delicious.
Cheesecake-stuffed mocha zucchini cupcakes with peanut butter glaze. I’m actually ashamed and proud of these cupcakes at the same time. My taste buds, however, do not care.
Fudgy zucchini brownie cupcakes with lavender buttercream. Another remnant of the insane zucchini season we had this year. Very much worth your time, especially with that infused frosting.