I tried this recipe the other day to make thank-you cupcakes for an awesome vegan who scored us tickets to Opera Colorado

http://www.eatliverun.com/vegan-chocolate-cupcakes-with-chai-buttercream/ ,

but I didn’t have any chai tea, so I used green instead. Magnificent! I like to eat animals, but I maintain that vegan baked goods are waaaay better than their butter-laden brethrens. Maybe it’s because I don’t really like the taste of butter (or maybe it’s because of my belief that butter and eggs don’t perform as well at high altitude), or maybe it’s just my conscience, but both the cakes and the frosting are so light and airy it’s hard to miss all the grease that usually weighs ’em down. That, and Earth Balance doubles as a nice hand moisturizer. Can butter do that? No. Does that make you want to eat it these more? Probably not. I’m just sayin’ (but don’t go trying to put Lubriderm in your cupcakes…)

Anyway, today I trimmed a big lavender plant at my new summer part-time job, and as I was contemplating taking a nap in it, I realized that I could use lavender in place of the chai tea for frosting. It would have to be on a vanilla cupcake. I give some to my co-workers. I would give some to my boyfriend, who was kind of sad that he didn’t get any of the first batch. I had a plan. I knew that the internets would have the vanilla cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World somewhere, and I was right.

I combined the two recipes, et voila. These cupcakes are little messengers of spring.

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Lavender Icing

(original recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

Ingredients

1  cup almond milk

1  tsp. apple cider vinegar

1¼  cups all-purpose flour

2  Tbsp. cornstarch

¾  tsp. baking powder

½  tsp. baking soda

¼  tsp. salt (increase salt to ½ teaspoon if you’re using oil instead of margarine)

½  cup Earth Balance

¾  cup sugar

2  tsp. vanilla extract

¼  tsp.  vanilla extract

Steps

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.

Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix.

In a separate large bowl, use a handheld mixer at medium speed to cream the margarine and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. (Don’t beat past 2 minutes.) Beat in the vanilla then alternate beating in the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.

Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting.

Lavender Icing

1 stick earth balance buttery spread (1/2 cup)

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup loose lavender flowers

zest of 1/4 lemon (or to taste)

2 T boiling water

2 T almond or soy milk (I used almond)

Beat the earth balance until soft (leave it out on the counter while you are making the cupcakes, or even beforehand). Steep the lavender flowers in two tablespoons of boiling water, and let sit for ten minutes. Strain the flowers out after they have steeped, and then add the almond or soy milk to the lavender water.  Add that mixture plus the powdered sugar to the earth balance and beat for 10 minutes until very light and fluffy. Zest in lemon with Microplane (I don’t know any other way of zesting. Is there?) near the end to taste. Sprinkle with any leftover lavender flowers.

(Sorry, I don’t have any pictures because of camera difficulties. Just imagine what the best cupcake you ever ate in your life looks like and you’re good.)

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