April 9, 2010

What Flavor is Vegan?

There is a snippet of lore in our family that never fails to make me laugh till my sides hurt. My husband, who is the subject of this much told tale, bears our laughs with good humor, in fact, I think he laughs these days as much as I do over it.

Will and I have known each other a long time. No, really, you think I'm exaggerating. I'm not. We met when I was 13 and he was 15... at the mall. He was helping his best friend pick out a gift for a girl who happened to be my best friend, so I was there to make the final call on the gift. (I wish I remembered what we chose. If I had to hazard a guess, it was probably a James Avery Charm, since we were nuts over them that year, but that's just a guess *edited to add - it was a Things Remembered ID bracelet. Man, you gotta love facebook for finding old friends who have better memories that you!*).

Actually, we met the year before that, although we didn't realize it until after we were married. I was "going out" with this guy named Stu Pendus (I kid you not) and was at his birthday party when I wandered out back where a cute boy was playing basketball. I flirted, he flirted (in that almost-a-teenager, awkward way, I'm sure) and then a decade or so later I married him. Not that we dated, or even knew each other that whole time, but still. I remember when he had his entire head shaved except for overly long bangs and he has a truly embarrassing faux Glamor Shot of a 13-year-old me. We keep each other entertained.

Anyhoo, after three years of living in different states and not having anything to do with each other, Will moved to Eugene, Oregon when I was a sophomore in college there. Now think about that. A 21 year old man moves from Dallas, Texas to Eugene, Oregon (right at the height of it's hippyness I might add. Before it was cool to be crunchy but when The Merry Pranksters were still alive and bumming around town and when people like Mason Williams showed up to teach a journalism class to play the kazoo - true story) All I can say is the guy was in culture shock (Will, not Mason Williams. I doubt much shocked Mason Williams) .

There were smelly people and naked people and a guy who rode a unicycle around campus in a hot pink unitard and a silver cape. The Rainbow people came into town and took up all the parking spaces with their crazy cars and a man named Frog sat on a corner and asked everyone who walked by if they had read The World's Funniest Jokebook (and woe to anyone who answered no).

So on the day of our story, my future husband, still fresh out of Texas and reeling slightly from the shock that was Western Oregon, walked into a coffee shop with my father. The coffee shop was well known for it's excellent bagels, interesting cream cheese flavors and damn good muffins. Will scanned the case, looking for something good and pointed at one of the muffins. Turning to my dad he asked,

"What flavor is vegan?"

Now I wasn't there, but legend has it that the entire shop went silent. And I can just imagine the reaction of a bunch of 20 something granola kids (I can say that, I was one!) when a tall drink of water with a southern accent asked such a question. He's lucky he got out of there with his leather shoes unharmed.

As you can imagine, anytime the words "vegan" and "baking" appeared in the same sentence in our family it has been met with laughter and cringes, never serious consideration. Until I read this recipe over at The Kitchn and found my mouth watering at the descriptions.

It's good folks.

In fact, I may never bake a non-vegan cupcake again. And that's big because I love to bake cupcakes of all kinds. But seriously, these are some of the yummiest cupcakes I've come across. I think they might just be my new go-to cake recipe of choice.

So now we know what flavor vegan is - yummy.

Just one note, I used a mini-cupcake pan which made the perfect sized treat in my humble opinion, but this recipe makes a lot of mini-cupcakes. Because I didn't want to have 60 delicious cupcakes hanging around the house at one time, I froze half the batter, in the pan, and later popped them in the oven - still frozen - at the same temperature. Worked like a charm.

Also, who needs cupcake liners when you can just cut squares of parchment. Duh.