Thursday, November 4, 2010

Vegan Icing

And without a hand mixer! I have a lot of kitchen gadgets, ice cream makers, pressure cookers, grapefruit extractors, citrus reamers, zesters, pasta machines, you name it, I probably have it, with one notable exception. Hand mixers.

I've never really a seen the benefit when compared to the amount of use I would get out of them. Hand mixers just whip things really fast. I can whip things. A hand mixer would be sort nice for nostalgia, because it's what my mom had, but other than that, I don't think I'd use it much. Especially since I can already make good vegan buttercreme icing.

I don't use cane sugar much, preferring less refined sweeteners like agave nectar, rice syrup, and maple syrup for the most part. One case where liquid sweeteners just don't cut it, though? Icing. If you want peaks of pipe-able icing, you really have to use powdered sugar. I've tried tons of different things, but none really work.

I've tried tofu. Silken and firm. It's gross. Don't even bother, it taste like tofu, and retains the properties of tofu. I've made mousses and ganaches, and sometimes you can pipe them, but they either melt quickly, dry and crack, or slip and slide.

My biggest tip for incredibly smooth and creamy icing is start by mixing the fat and liquid.

Obviously, the ingredients will vary based on what flavor you want, but I made a basic Lemon Creme Icing today with the following recipe.

Lemon Cupcake with Lemon Creme

Lemon Creme Icing
by Christina Terriquez

1/4 cup solid oil (palm oil, coconut oil, EB, or vegetable shortening)
1 large pinch sea salt
1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, room temperature
lemon extract or edible lemon oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon of organic lemon zest, minced
3--5 cups powdered sugar
turmeric, if desired for color

In a large bowl, stir oil or shortening and sea salt to smooth out any lumps. Add non-dairy milk and mix well. Mixture should be slightly emulsified at this point. Add 6 drops of lemon oil or 1 teaspoon of lemon extract, lemon juice and lemon zest and stir to combine.

Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and stir well. Mixture should be very thin, but lump free. Repeat two more times. Taste, and if needed, add more lemon oil or extract. Add turmeric if desired at this point. You should need no more than 1/2 teaspoon, since adding any more may greatly alter the flavor.

Once color and flavor are as desired, add more powdered sugar until desired consistency is achieved.

Adding less sugar will give you a glaze or a spreadable icing. Add more sugar for a pipe-able icing.

I used coconut oil for this batch of lemon icing, since the weather is cool and the icing wasn't in danger of melting, but I would not use this during summer or in a hot climate.

You can use the same technique for other flavors, for example for peanut butter frosting, use 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1 tablespoon solid oil, and omit all lemon ingredients and turmeric.

Are we not cupcakes? We are DEVO.

I had to share this last picture, of a Lemon Cupcake with Lemon Creme Icing and Raspberry Glaze, because even though it is horrible--or maybe because it is awful--I love it. It doesn't even look like something edible, it looks like Devo. Or a fake plastic cupcake. Or something kind of pornographic. There's no flash here, and I took 10 pictures, all of which had that same weird glow. But let me tell you, the raspberry glaze added a perfect contrast to all that lemony goodness.

Last night, JD and I went to see Janelle Monae and Of Montreal (one of my favorite bands), and I kept thinking about what kind of food I could make in his honor. I think this raspberry glazed cupcake with it's crazy bright inner glow and flamboyant hot red color would be fitting.

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