Wednesday, August 4, 2010
My friend's boyfriend, Eric, had his birthday recently and threw a huge birthday bash. His friends are the reason I've heard of "icing." Let's just say they know how to party. A good strategy for getting everyone pumped up? Give your party a theme and have drinks to match. Skittles, in this case. Even as food-obsessed as I am, I'd never have thought to base a party around a candy. Guests were asked to dress head-to-toe in their favorite Skittles color (classic flavors only) and rewarded with Skittles-infused vodka shots. I'm pretty "girly" when it comes to drinks and prefer to taste the alcohol as little as possible. So I admit these shots tasted like rubbing alcohol to me, though with a fruity edge.
One drink I can handle, even when made a bit stronger, is the Almighty Mojito. Seriously, how can you not love the taste of summer in a glass? I reckon you can't 8p. But I'm no bartender, plus vodka was clearly the poison of choice for the party. My thoughts predictably turned to that certain perfectly portable baked gift: The Cupcake. My starting point, a classic vegan recipe that produces wonderfully moist morsels. Without eggs or butter, the key mojito flavors of mint, lime, and rum could shine unhindered. Rounding things off, pretty swirls of cream cheese frosting with extra zing from a squeeze of lime juice. Thankfully, I was right to count on Eric's friends having a healthy appreciation for this classic cocktail. These and some red velvet cupcakes made by another friend were gone within the hour =).
Mojito Cupcakes! [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from VCTOTW and VeganYumYum
Makes 12 cupcakes
XIAOLU'S NOTES: You'll need about 4 limes total for this recipe, if you garnish with lime slices. Otherwise, you'll only need 2. For the frosting, know that cream cheese can become runny when overbeaten, so mix only as long as needed for each step.
1 cup milk or soymilk
1/2 C fresh mint, roughly chopped and bruised
Zest and juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp juice)
2 tsp dark rum
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola or other neutral oil
3/4 cup sugar
Lime Rum Frosting (Recipe below)
2 more limes sliced OR fresh mint leaves, to garnish
Combine milk and mint leaves in a small pot over medium heat until hot but NOT BOILING. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Pass the milk through a strainer to remove mint leaves, but press on the leaves to extract as much flavor as possible. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a regular 12-cup muffin pan with baking liners. Whisk the mint-infused milk and lime juice in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.
In large bowl, combine the sugar and lime zest and rub thoroughly to infuse the sugar with lime flavor. Add the milk mixture, oil, and rum, if using, and beat thoroughly. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain [small ones are okay].
Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely. Pipe or spread frosting on cupcakes and garnish with lime slices.
Lime Rum Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, cold and cut into 6 chunks
Pinch of salt
2 tsp dark rum
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 to 2 drops green food coloring, optional
Cream the butter, sugar, and salt together just until fully combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the cold cream cheese a chunk at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding the next. Add the rum and lime juice and mix just until incorporated. Taste the frosting, adding more sugar if needed. Add the food coloring, if using, one drop at a time and combining thoroughly after each, until you have the color you want.