Sunday, October 12, 2014

Vegan rainbow mini cupcakes with salted almond buttercream

vegan rainbow mini cupcakes with salted almond buttercream

Being a violinist can be fun at times, but often it’s downright depressing. Take, for example, my latest assignment for an upcoming audition: Bela Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances.

Witness—how violently she makes love to the G string, how she rips those harmonics out until they are bloody and dripping with sweat and vibrato, how she teases each measure until you’re tripping over your seat with anticipation of the next note.

Or maybe not. Maybe only Metallica can do that.

metallica promo band photo
Dude that's real cute. source

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that shit is exciting. The Romanian Folk Dances are actually mad good, believe it or not—knowing how weird Bartok usually is... 

Seriously, what the fuck, Bartok?

Anyway. I guess he’s like mushrooms: an acquired taste that I’m not really interested in acquiring. Those dances, however, are exceptionally and objectively awesome. Imagine being able to do what Katica Illenyi up there did! It’s like a superpower!

Then you take a look at the sheet music. One movement splattered with dozens of chords and double-stops...another composed solely of harmonics...and slowly, you start to die inside. How could I possibly do this? you think. What do they think I am, a wizard? Bill Gates? Goddamit, I’m not Bill Gates. Ain’t nobody got time for this.

Even worse, it’s for an audition. And everybody loves auditions.

Even worse, this strange piece is coming right after I learned a soul-crushing pseudo-concerto written for the sole purpose of showing off techniques and shit, which was basically the musical equivalent of trying to write a story using a select group of vocabulary Spanish I. Yes, very boring indeed. Maria went to the store of clothing. “Where is the biblioteca?” Maria asked the clerk. “I don’t know,” the clerk said. “Go fuck yourself.”

So yeah. With a bit of work, you can do some cool shit with your violin. But...the work. It’s too much. And even if you practice day and night, you’ll never get as good as Katica Illenyi, or really any professional violinist, because you’re a goddamn amateur.

Don’t even get me started on Paganini’s 24 caprices

But that example is not so bad because we all know that Jascha Heifetz was an alien sent to earth to make us all jealous.

Thankfully, those aliens were also kind and benevolent enough to send us cupcakes.

vegan rainbow mini cupcakes with salted almond buttercream
I apologize for that little flailing string of frosting. It pains me too.

Today, I have brought you miniature vanilla cupcakes filled with coal-derived colorants and white sugar and lots and lots of buttercream. A one-to-one ratio of buttercream to cake, actually. This may be not the most exciting recipe in the world, but I thought it was certainly worth sharing. Why? Well, these cupcakes are very useful.

- Hand them out to small children on the street;

- Give them to people as gifts;

- Bring them to parties;

- Hawk them at your GSA club’s bake sale;

- ???

- Just eat them yourself.

Really, there are no downsides to these cupcakes. They are cute and delicious and sweet like candy. The extra-salty almond-y buttercream adds a subtle burst of flavor for those of you who prefer more than just vanilla (like me). And because they are small, you can eat as many as you want and the calories don’t count. 

vegan rainbow mini cupcakes with salted almond buttercream
That's science for you.

Before I get on to the recipe, do note that you will have to use loads of food coloring to get the strong colors you see here. If you have any natural alternatives, feel free to use those. I’m not so crazy about food coloring myself. In fact, it would’ve been miles better if there were any fruits or vegetables or whatever that one could use to naturally color and flavor the cake batter, like strawberry puree, or perhaps a bit of cooked beet. Whatever you like. The kitchen is your lab; any experiment is possible.

Was that inspirational enough? Maybe. Here’s the recipe.


Vegan rainbow mini cupcakes with salted almond buttercream



173 grams • sifted all-purpose flour • 1 ½ cups

7 grams • baking powder • ½ tablespoon

1 gram • salt • ¼ teaspoon

56 grams • nondairy margarine, softened • ¼ cup

56 grams • coconut oil, softened • ¼ cup

175 grams • granulated sugar • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons

110 grams • silken tofu (or other sub for 2 eggs) • ½ cup

4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon

122 grams • nondairy milk • ½ cup

About 2 grams • each of red, green, blue, and yellow food coloring • around ½ teaspoon


113 grams • nondairy margarine • ½ cup

2 grams • almond extract • ½ teaspoon

240 grams • powdered sugar • 2 cups

30 grams • coconut milk, full fat • 2 tablespoons

4 grams • salt • ¾ teaspoon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a tray of mini cupcake tins and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Place margarine and coconut oil in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add sugar and creamy until well-combined. Next, add tofu and vanilla. Add flour mixture and nondairy milk in alternating additions just until combined.

Divide batter into five small bowls. Color the batter as follows: one bowl of red, one bowl of yellow with a dash of red, one bowl of blue, one bowl of green, and one bowl of red and blue. Be sure not to over-mix.

Pour batter into muffin tins, filling them about 2/3 of the way up. Bake for about 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from tins and let cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting, simply place margarine in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat until fluffy. Add almond extract, followed by powdered sugar, coconut milk, and salt. Whip until fluffalicious and frosting-like. Shmear that shit all over your cupcakes. Munch.


vegan rainbow mini cupcakes
Dem frosting swirls.

You are probably very disappointed by the lack of pumpkin in this recipe. Fear not, for more squashy fall-inspired desserts (or breakfasts...) are coming your way.

Pumpkin spice be with you.


  1. Listening to all that music just made me really happy inside, and then BOOM - COLOURED CUPCAKES. I would eat a buttload of these. Cheers for brightening up my Monday Morning. Every time I read your blog I come away a little bit more in love with your writing. Good luck with your audition!

    1. Aw thanks, glad you like the music! Nothing like a bit of bartok to start out your week :) Thanks so much for the sweet comment!!

  2. Classical music and crazy coloured cupcakes, I could live with that!
    Seriously though, just keep up the good work (both playing and eating) and I am sure you'll do splendidly :D Hope you've had a good start to your week :) x

    1. You too!! These cupcakes will certainly fuel many a practice session :)

  3. Random story: I played violin for about 2 months. I quit because I hated it, and had only chosen it because my mom refused to allow me to play the drums. Of course, 3 years later, my younger sister was allowed, even encouraged! to play the drums. And yes, 20 years later, I am STILL bitter about that. I wish I had mini rainbow cupcakes to wash away some of that bitterness.

    1. Oh no! ;_; The struggle of the older sibling I guess. Hope the joy of the rainbow cupcakes seeps through the screen to wash away the pain... :D