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Hello All

I am so sorry that it has been so long since my last post. Life has been very busy, specifically the welcoming of our second baby boy about 6 weeks ago. Whew, things have been crazy!

As some of you may know, we competed on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars a couple of weeks ago. My partner, Melissa and I had a great time. We were so honored to be apart of the first ever all vegan challenge. It was truly a wonderful experience. We were disappointed to not move on to the final round but Florian did call our Fennel Cupcake with Clementine Frosting “amazing”, so we were pretty pleased. This cupcake turned out so well that we are adding it to our regular cupcake menu. It is bright, fresh, fluffy and delicious. I hope you enjoy it!

Fennel Cupcake with Clementine Frosting and Candied Sage

Yields 24 mini cupcakes

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup non dairy milk; almond, soy etc
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
¼ chopped fennel fronds; very loosely packed
Clementine Buttercream Frosting, recipe follows
Candied Sage; recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a mini cupcake pan with 24 mini cupcake liners. Measure the non dairy milk in a liquid measuring cup and add the apple cider vinegar. Set aside to curdle. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In another medium bowl, add vegetable oil, sugar and vanilla extract and mix. Add the “buttermilk” and whisk together until all of the ingredients are well blended. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Mix together gently being careful not to over mix. Once the ingredients are well incorporated, fold in the fennel seeds and fronds.

Fill the mini cupcake liners about ¾ of the way full and bake for 12-13 minutes until cooked through.

Clementine Buttercream Frosting
Yields approximately 2 cups
¼ cup vegan margarine
¼ cup vegan shortening
¼ cup fresh Clementine juice
2 tablespoons fresh Clementine zest
3 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted

With electric beaters, beat together the margarine and shortening until creamy. Add in the juice and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the frosting comes together and becomes creamy. You can frost the cupcakes by hand using a butter knife or put frosting in pastry bag and cut ½ inch off the top.

Candied Sage
Yields 12 candied sage leaves
12 fresh sage leaves
½ cup water
½ cup + 2 tablespoons cup cane sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add ½ cup sugar and whisk together until dissolved. Add the sage, lower the heat to medium and simmer together for 2-3 minutes. Drain the sage and pat dry. Roll the sage in the remaining sugar and lay each leaf flat on the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

To Assemble:

Generously frost the top of each cupcake with the Clementine frosting and top with a candied sage leaf.