And when it's cool enough to bake, I think of cupcakes!
Thus, here is my fave recipe for red velvet cupcakes - stolen and slightly tweaked from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World". If you're a vegan cupcake lover - and you should be - this book is a necessity.
1 cup soy milk or almond milk (I prefer almond)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola or other mild flavored veg oil
2 tablespoons red food coloring (that's a whole big bottle!)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 F and put cupcake liners in muffin/cupcake pans.
2. Whisk together the soy (or almond) milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle. (seems weird, right? but it actually does curdle, and this takes the place of buttermilk in the traditional recipe.)
3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix.
4. Add the oil, food coloring, chocolate extract, and almond extract to the curdled soy milk. (I'm usually all for adding extra extract, but be careful with almond - it's powerful stuff! Also, if you can't find real chocolate extract sub with more vanilla and measure generously with your cocoa.) Whisk well to combine.
5. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry, mixing until large lumps disappear.
6. Fill cupcake liners about two thirds full (I use a quarter cup measure to do this - it works out just about right. they really do rise a lot!). Place in hot oven and bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool COMPLETELY before frosting.
For the icing, I use a vegan variation of my mom's buttercream. You're just gonna dump all of this into a good sturdy bowl and go at it with a hand mixer - it's super easy. It's one stick of softened (not melted) margarine - Fleischman's unsalted is vegan - to three cups powdered sugar. Add two teaspoons of whatever extract you want; there's classic vanilla, and I love to do one vanilla and then one something else like peppermint, lemon, orange, rum, whatever. (You can add food coloring to it too of course to make it pretty.) You'll need a little liquid - any "milk" will do, I use almond - start with 1/8 of a cup and keep adding by splashes as you mix until you've reached the consistency you want. You can also add a bit more liquid and add some cocoa to make a chocolate icing. Just play with it! Icing is fun.
Now for the cupcake porn! A gallery of cupcakes past...
The red velvets I made in my mother-in-law-to-be's kitchen for Christmas 2007.
with Halloween flare, for the office.
I made these for my own birthday the other year, which isn't nearly as depressing as it sounds: more ginger. Or were they? These may have had the rum frosting, and I can't remember what cake I paired that with.
And yes, more red velvet, made for A winter holiday bash. Pink! With silver dragees! They were so shiny. If you were there, you probably drank a martini or three. We had a fairly dazzling array of vegan foodstuffs, and I will never stop mourning the fact that I didn't manage to photograph any of it. Maybe one day I'll tell you about it, and then you'll go to bed with visions of individual mini-lasagnas dancing in your head...