Before I get into these vegan green tea cupcakes, I want to talk about my fitness progress. A few posts ago, I talked about my body image issues and my struggle with my self-esteem. In that post I kind of mentioned that I would be implementing some sort of a fitness plan for myself to improve my health, body, and self-esteem. I can definitely say that I’ve been keeping up with my regiment.
For the first week, I did the following:
- 20 crunches,
- 5 push ups (but I resorted to push-ups from my knees instead of my toes),
- 20 mountain climbers,
- 30 second plank, and
- 50 jumping jacks.
The following week:
- 30 crunches,
- 7 push ups (two of them were real ones, the other 5 were wimpy ones from the knees),
- 20 squats,
- 30 lunges,
- 75 jumping jacks,
- 30 second plank.
Week 3 has started and with my intermittent swimming over the past 3 weeks (30-45 minutes of laps):
- 3o crunches
- 10 push ups (real ones!)
- 20 bicycle crunches (for obliques)
- 20 squats
- 30 lunges
- 80 jumping jacks
- 30 second plank.
I’ve started to see an improvement in my arms mostly, and my abs are peeking through my belly. I feel stronger, especially with my quads, and I’m working to improve my glutes because I want a butt. Hopefully by the end of the summer, I’ll be toned and feeling good in my own skin.
While I haven’t particularly changed my diet that much, I’ve increased my water intake to at least about 4-6 glasses per day—not the recommended 8 cups—but a person can only frequent the bathroom so many times before it seems ridiculous. I’ve stopped drinking juice (this habit I dropped since around Christmas because juice just got too heavy to carry home from the grocery store). Over the winter season, I developed a small obsession with loose leaf teas, particularly green teas and variations of earl grey. Now drinking tea in excess is not great for you, but regularly and moderately, I see a lot of health benefits, including hydration, antioxidants, and detoxing agents.
That’s enough about my exercise and diet though. And excuse me as I harness my outer asian and drink my tea.
I’m not a huge coffee person. I like the taste, but I get too jittery and hyper whenever I drink it. (Vietnamese coffee is a weakness of a mine, but I’ll get into more about that next week). However, I’ve always liked my tea; usually strong and without milk or sugar. So whenever I go to Starbucks, I usually just get some sort of frappuccino or a tea latte—my favourite being a London Fog. I thought, why not turn a frappuccino of some sort into a cupcake? So I polled my followers on instagram and facebook, and green tea flavoured cupcakes were the most popular in demand. I love matcha powder and green tea ice cream is one of my favourite flavours, so I thought, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
I was so sad that one of my cupcakes fell over, I wanted to document the little “splat” I heard when the cupcake hit the table. The light in this photo is a little dark, but I also wanted to show the underside of the cupcake to show the colour. I added a fair bit of matcha powder to get a strong flavour and a strong green colour in the batter. I originally had a coconut whipped cream topping, but that failed horribly, so I opted for a classic American frosting made with shortening instead of butter to keep it vegan and to have a pure, white colour in the frosting. I didn’t really care much for it, because I find buttercream in general too sweet for my tastes, but these received positive reviews, frosting and all.
I looked through so many recipes of cupcakes. A ton had extra egg whites, some actually steeped the milk in green tea, and those options just sounded too complicated for me. I came across some recipes that used a vanilla cupcake recipe and replaced the vanilla with matcha powder, and I thought, “GENIUS”. I have a delicious vanilla cupcake recipe that I can convert into this delicious concoction. To complicate things further, I wanted to make them vegan (I also ran out of eggs). With my vegan success from my coconut cupcakes, I decided to go with the flax meal to replace eggs as a bonding agent in the batter. The cupcakes turned out beautifully; moist, fluffy, and light. A perfect texture and crumb.
Since I made these for my roommate’s birthday, I needed to make an aesthetically pleasing buttercream to display for her party. The shortening-based buttercream ensured that it would stay put even in the hot weather, and that the frosting would pipe well on to the cupcakes. My roommate LOVES mini cupcakes, so I made a bunch of mini ones for her (24 mini cupcakes) as well as a batch of regular sized ones (12 cupcakes) for my photos.
So there you have it. A Starbucks frappucino turned into a cupcake. The only way to make this better is to successfully make the frosting into a coconut whipped cream instead of the shortening-based buttercream, but alas. Coconut whipped cream and I are not friends in the kitchen.
For those who are curious: the regular cupcakes are rose-piped with a 5 star open tip (1M Wilton I believe) and the mini cupcakes are piped with a 12 star closed tip. I sprinkled a little coconut on top to cover the middle piping smudge that the tip leaves behind.
- - 1 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
- - 1½ cup white granulated sugar (Redpath is vegan)
- - 3 tbsp + 1 tsp flax meal
- - 8 tbsp warm water
- - 3 cups flour
- - 2½ tsp baking powder
- - 1 tsp baking soda
- - 1 tsp salt (if your butter is salted, omit this)
- - 2 tbsp matcha green tea powder
- - 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (use rice milk or soy if you want to keep it nut-free)
- - (Buttercream)
- - 1 cup vegetable shortening
- - 3 cups icing sugar
- - 4 tbsp coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 350F, line 24 regular sized cupcake molds with paper cups or 48 mini cupcake molds.
- Using a mixer, cream the Earth Balance and sugar until pale and creamy.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flax meal and warm water and let sit until the mixture thickens.
- In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, matcha powder, and salt (unless the Earth Balance is already salty).
- Add the flax meal mixture to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated.
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and the almond milk until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Divide among cupcake liners and bake for 15-20 minutes if you're baking mini-cupcakes, or 25-30 minutes if you'e baking regular sized cupcakes. Poke a toothpick or a cake tester into the cupcakes and if it comes out clean, the cupcakes are done.
- Let cupcakes cool on a wire rack.
- To make the buttercream, cream the vegetable shortening, icing sugar, and coconut milk together and beat until fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes.