My favorite meal of the year is a bitter sweet experience. The bitter, I have to fast for an entire day; the sweet, I’m privy to a glorious buffet of homemade dairy goods by Jewish moms. The bitter, my digestive system screams at the top of its lungs all night, post dairy fix, causing me to live through the consequences of a dairy overload; the sweet, I get to indulge in lasagna, lox, Mediterranean dips, eggplant parmesan and three types of quiche all loaded onto one, relentless paper plate. It seems like a lot of grief for one meal, but it’s worth it. This year just ended up being particularly hard because of my mostly in the home vegan cooking…my digestive walls had not built up the immunity required for such a feast. Despite the recent war with my digestive track, my love for the breaking of the fast meal has not wavered. It still stands strong.
Cooking my way through my new vegan cookbooks I decided that I’d bring a special vegan treat to the breaking of the fast, that could be a good offload from the dairy feed. I ventured into the world of vegan baking and decided my food offering for the meal would be “Green Tea Matcha Vegan Cupcakes”. A bunch of conservative Jewish eaters, who find Italian food a foreign culinary experience…Serving green cupcakes next to the usual fruit tray and cheesecake would be risky. I pictured myself like “Sam I am” insisting to try my dish – perhaps in a house, or in a boat or on a train. Would anyone go for one? Would it take creative poetic manipulating? Would they be left a shore with the always ignored bland honey cake?
They loved it. People were hesitant at first. Gawking and doing the back and forth jaunt until they finally picked one up and shoved the bite size green treat in their mouth. Shock was painted on all of their faces – how could something green, be so tasty? They were grabbing more than one, probing for the recipe and I saw the host sneak some into her fridge before they were gone.
I find vegan cooking so liberating. I love that you can enjoy many of the same flavors and dishes, but without the unhealthy ingredients and the bonus of getting your daily vegetables and vitamins. Watching people gasp as they shake their head in disbelief of no diary, “how could it be so moist…no eggs…no milk…?” It’s possible. You can enjoy some of your favorite sweet treats without sacrificing your digestive system or your animal rights beliefs.
Courtesy of Color me Vegan, I was inspired by her Matcha Cupcake recipe. I changed only one thing but for the most part stuck to her advice. Best to do that with any baking recipe, until you’ve become a savant in the science of baking.
For the green tea powder, I spent a lot of time deciding on whether I go with something high end or bottom shelf. I decided to stick with the Japanese variety instead of the Korean and Chinese. I bought mine from Davids. It was mid range price. I was mostly concerned with the color, as I wanted a bright green cupcake. Since green tea is strong, the flavor breaks through, so don’t be too concerned if you don’t spend a fortune. It’s for baking so you really shouldn’t be spending more than $15 for 50 grams, and that slightly on the higher end.
Green Tea Frosting
| Preparation - Cupcakes | Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil a muffin tin or fill with cupcake liners. I used the mini cupcake tins. It made 36 mini cupcakes. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, sugar, green tea powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in milk, oil and vanilla. Stir to combine, making sure to break up any large clumps and being careful not to overstir.
Divide batter among the 36 mini or 12 prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on a rack.
| Preparation - Frosting | With an electric hand mixer or using a fork, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and mix until well incorporated and smooth. Once thoroughly combined and smooth add green tea powder, 2 Tbsp milk, vanilla extract and almond extract. Beat for a few minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy, adding 1 or 2 Tbsp more milk, if needed. Cover frosting with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour
| To Serve | When ready to use, frost each cupcake and top with ground pistachios.