Every cook has a repertoire of recipes that they are confident of, confections that they have no problems spinning out in a jiffy because they have made them a million times before. And there are recipes that fill you with slight trepidation, those that you approach with caution because you’ve never made something like that before. And then there are recipes that you HaVe attempted, and failed at miserably. Recipes that are the stuff of cooks’ nightmares They constantly remind you of your failures, shortcomings and incompetence. And every time someone, anyone, praises you for your culinary prowess after tasting something you’ve made, the demons at the back of your mind start mocking, taunting you ever so callously of past failures. Failures that have never since been overcome.
My demons’ choice of confidence-annihilating arsenal are always my attempts at eggless cakes. I’ve tried making egg-free cakes a couple of times and always end up throwing everything down the chute in dismay. So many a time I’ve looked depressingly at the thick, rock-hard and dense slabs that I remove from the oven…and I wonder, maybe it just LookS like that. But taste-wise those things never tasted anything like cake either- sticky, chewy and ridiculously flavorless. And so I resigned myself to thinking eggs are just essential for the spongy, soft and comfortingly-smooth texture of cake.
Until last week, when I begun my month-long vegetarian diet and decided I wasn’t going to be deprived of cake for a full month. Somewhere, someone must have figured out how to bake cakes sans eggs and I was determined to figure out how. So I begun trawling through websites, food blogs and cookbooks, seeking salvation. And even before I could come across a promising recipe, I was bombarded by horror stories of damp, thick and yucky attempts at eggless baking. But after a little more persevered reading, I did chance upon a few recipes that looked like they would work. And so I’ve made it my mission this week to try out these recipes. *Xena-esque war cry* =)
My first trepidation-filled attempt was at these orange scented vanilla cupcakes. And they were lovely! Buttery-sweet, crumbly and soft, with a delicate citrus flavour. All that I could possible ask of a cake and more. And the ultimate test, when I served it to everyone, NOBODY guessed it was eggless! Really, that was all I needed to know. All that nervous pacing up and down the kitchen floor was for naught because now I can confidently fight off my demons. Opening the oven door to see these cupcakes beautifully risen and golden brown, I had a moment. One that every cook should experience. One that restores our faith in ourselves and in our world of flour, sugar and not-necessarily, eggs. *grin*
Look at that soft crumbly cupcake inside…who needs eggs? Who I ask? *grin*
Eggless Orange Cupcakes (makes ten regular sized)
-adapted from AllRecipes-
1 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1tbsp caster sugar
½ cup melted butter
½ cup orange juice
Grated zest of one orange
6oz sweetened condensed milk (about ½ a tin)
2 tsp vanilla
1. Cool melted butter in an ice bath, stirring with a small whisk or fork, until it reaches room temperature. Whisk in condensed milk, orange juice, vanilla and zest.
2. In a large bowl, sift in flour, baking soda and baking powder. Stir in sugar with a large whisk and make a well in the middle.
3. Steadily pour in butter mixture into flour mixture, stirring lightly with the whisk. Stir until flour is just incorporated, do NOT overmix. The mixture will be slightly lumpy.
4. Divide amongst the cupcake holders and bake at 350 degree F for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
5. Cool and frost. I’ve used vanilla buttercream with a rim of colored sanding sugar but I think cream cheese frosting will be lovely as well.