Seriously. What am I going to do with 24 cupcakes?**
The recipe is an all-vegan one, and it just happened I had all the ingredients to make both the cupcakes and the icing.
Or so I thought.
Recipes aren't actually meant to be followed, are they? I thought my actual "challenge" would be the fact that I had no cocoa powder, just unsweetened chocolate squares. Not such a challenge, actually: Unsweetened Chocolate Squares, meet Food Processor! Well, to be more specific, meet Food Processor Whom I Have Owned For At Least 18 Months But Have Never Used. Which meant I had to go (dig out of an as-yet unpacked box and) introduce myself to the manual for said Food Processor.***
Once I got the food processor up and running, I realized I also had no icing sugar for the frosting, just regular sugar, the icing sugar having met its fate a couple of weeks previously in some Christmas and New Year's desserts. So thus began the long evening of Googling various baking substitutes.
- Icing sugar can be made by blending regular sugar.
- When you stupidly use all your regular sugar to make icing sugar, you can then substitute brown sugar for regular sugar.
- Baking powder instead of baking soda, but only if you use 3-4 times the amount called for, and never the other way around.
- Butter instead of margarine is always recommended, but when you run out of butter halfway through your substitution, you're screwed. Or, like I did, you can use some canola/vegetable oil to top up.
- When you run out of canola oil, you can top up using margarine (don't ask).
- No vanilla extract? Yeah, too bad.
The above list is the sort of reason why I think I make a better librarian than baker.
However. The cupcakes turned out fantastic! Sooooo tasty. The cayenne pepper dances lightly on your tongue, yet they are sweet. Lovely.
But the icing! Alas. When I made the icing sugar, I hadn't had quite enough regular organic sugar, so I mixed it with raw turbinado. Apparently I haven't learned my lesson from Christmas when I managed to muff up the Best Brownies In The World recipe, which I have been making for 25+ years, by using turbinado instead of regular sugar. Those members of my family who tried to eat the resulting brownie might find the following picture of the icing familiar.
While it looked pretty, it tasted like someone put sucre à crème directly on top. Granular and crunchy, not in a good way.
Tomorrow I have to go to the grocery store - having managed to exhaust my supply of 2 different kinds of sugar, vanilla extract, flour, vegetable oil and butter, all in one night**** - and I have decided that what these cupcakes really, truly need is cream cheese icing. Probably from Betty Crocker; my kitchen is enough of a mess now, thank you.
* Alternately titled, The Benefit Of Living Alone Is That No One Knows You Baked And Ate Cupcakes After Spending The Evening Swimming At The Pool.
** Well, 23 cupcakes now. But who's counting?
*** I first tried to figure it out sans manual. But it turns out my parents were right when they told my grade-9 Industrial Technology teacher that "Julie just has no head for machines".
**** Plus I need chili powder and beans for my next foray into strange and unusual cooking.