Bollywood Cupcakes

Serving Size: 12

One of my best friends from college, Niki, is a professional Bollywood dancer and choreographer. So cool, right? I minored in modern dance, but Niki taught me how to turn up the funk and move to those fast Bollywood beats! Sometimes we performed together, and I would always bring these Indian-inspired cupcakes to rehearsal. Traditional Indian spices like saffron and cardamom work beautifully in a cupcake.

  • 0.75 cup soy, almond, or rice milk
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
  • 0.5 cup canola oil
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1.5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 tsp saffron thread

To make the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners and spray with nonstick cooking oil.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine nondairy milk and saffron. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together cooled saffron mixture, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out dry with a few crumbs clinging to it. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

  • 3 Tbsp 3 to 5 tablespoons soy, almond, or rice milk
  • 1 Tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • gold pearls or dust for garnish, optional

To make the buttercream:

  1. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the shortening until smooth. With the mixer running on low, add powdered sugar, vanilla, cardamom, and 1 tablespoon nondairy milk at a time, as needed, until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. Increase speed to high and beat for 2 more minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. To assemble the cupcakes: Pipe or spread a thin layer of buttercream on the cupcakes. If desired, garnish with gold pearls or dust.

Make-Ahead Tip:
Cupcakes can be made in advance and frozen, unfrosted, for up to 1 month. Frosting can be made the day before and stored at room temperature. Thaw cupcakes and frost before serving.

Makes 12 cupcakes.