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:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners and spray with nonstick cooking oil.
- In a small saucepan, combine nondairy milk and saffron. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- To assemble the cupcakes: Pipe or spread a thin layer of buttercream on the cupcakes. If desired, garnish with gold pearls or dust.
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.