I bought some dried violets a while back from one of my favorite places, The Spice Station. I knew when I bought them that I wanted to put them into a baked good. I was thinking cake or cupcakes, but wasn’t sure on what other flavors to use or incorporate. I was thinking of vanilla, lemon or perhaps another possible fruit to pair with the violets (berries?). I was having the hardest time figuring out what to make.
Then I saw this incredible looking violet liqueur whilst browsing K&L Wine Merchants for the first time, which was a pretty cool booze shop. After reading the bottle, I decided to buy it. I figured it could help with my cake or cupcakes and make me a classy cocktail. Win, win.
After tasting the dried violets and the liqueur, I decided to do a Violet-Vanilla Bean Cupcake. I think lemon would be great as well, and I may make up a batch of those yet to see which are better. For now though, please enjoy this recipe for Violet-Vanilla Bean Cupcakes.
Violet-Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
2 c cake flour (I like King Arthur brand Unbleached Cake Flour)
3/4 c unbleached cane sugar
1/2 tsp unbleached sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp dried violets
1 c water
2 tbsp Earth Balance, melted
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp violet liqueur
1 vanilla bean, split down the middle and scraped
Method: Do not use a stand mixer or electric mixer of any type for this recipe. This batter is very delicate (sorry, I hate when recipes have this warning) and over mixing will make your cupcakes or cake tough. The cupcake will turn out denser than the average cupcake, but should not be chewy or tough.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside. In a mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients. For the sake of this recipe, let’s consider the vanilla bean part of the wet ingredients. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients to make sure they are all incorporated together pretty well. Next, take another mixing bowl and whisk up your wet ingredients including the seeds scarped from inside of the vanilla bean. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and be careful to combine them using as few arm strokes as possible. Having some lumps is definitely okay! Fill your cupcake liners about 3/4 the way full and bake about 20 min or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcakes comes out clean. I like to do one from the front row too, just to make sure.
I decided to do a Violet-Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting for these, but a nice fluffy buttercream would be just as nice.
Violet-Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 c Earth Balance, softened
1/4 c vegan cream cheese, softened (I like Follow Your Heart brand for this)
2 c powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp violet liqueur
Cream Earthy B and vegan cream cheese together with stand or handheld mixer. Incorporate the powdered sugar, about 1/2 c at a time. Once the sugar is mixed in, add vanilla and violet liqueur. If you’d like the frosting to be a little stiffer, refrigerate it until ready to use. I don’t use a ton of frosting, so I had some extra. Maybe use it for another treat, like vegan dunk-a-roos? (Use Annie’s Bunny Grahams)