But the other really, really great thing about this holiday, is that you can do whatever you want with it! Want to have a cookout and set off a trillion fireworks, cool, go ahead! Want to sit on your butt by the pool and read a book? You got it! Want to throw a killer party and bake a fancy schmancy cake, it's your right! Literally, this is the perfect holiday for anyone. Don't like holidays? Great! You actually don't have to do ANYTHING with this one.
This year we had our best friends and their daughter over, and we made Luna Burgers (ZOMG you have to try these Columbus-made bad boys!), Tofurky kielbasa and Smart Dogs on the grill, in addition to vegan coleslaw, baked macaroni and "cheese" and a traditional fruit salad (complete with Tofutti sour cream and Dandies vegan marshmallows)! I won't lie, it's probably been 10 years since I had good ole' fashioned fruit salad, so even though I put cantaloupe in it (which I really, really disdain), it was still delicious!
Oh, and I can't leave out the dessert. Thanks to a bunch of different ideas on pinterest, my daughter and I decided to make "firecrackers" in a mason jar! Remember those delicious popsicles with different layers, red, white and blue? Well, we made a cupcake version of those in a mason jar. And let me tell you, these were absolutely phenomenal! Everyone raved about how adorable they were and they traveled SO well! The only downfall? We had to wash them afterwards, but after everything was said and done, it was totally worth this step. I was able to purchase a dozen 8-oz quilted mason jars for $8, and I'm SO going to use these again and again and again. I actually spent most of my holiday weekend daydreaming about what else I was going to bake in these magical jars!
So have I convinced you to hop on the mason jar express?
Vegan firecracker cupcakes (in a jar)
Makes: 12 (really big, almost "double" cupcakes)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 stick vegan butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vanilla coconut milk (don't worry, the coconut flavor is hidden, this is just for extra moistness)
1/3 cup water
3 oz cherry applesauce
3 oz blueberry applesauce
(red and blue food coloring, we use a homemade natural kind I picked up at a lovely local store, but word on the street is that Wilton icing colorings are plant-based and vegan)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 stick vegan butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup vegan whipped topping (I use MimicCreme Healthy Top because it's ridiculously amazing)
In your fabulous mixing bowl, add all purpose flour, cake flour, white sugar and baking soda. Stir in coconut milk and water. Add your softened butter and beat on high using your stand or hand mixer. Add vanilla extract.
Now, you're going to preheat your oven to 350.
Next, get out another bowl and pour half the white batter into it. This is how we're going to get the two different colors! In one bowl, add 3 oz cherry applesauce and some red food coloring to your preferred color). In the other bowl, add your blueberry applesauce and blue food coloring. And tada! Red and blue cakes!
Line your mason jars on a cookie sheet and spray them or grease em' up to your liking. Add the blue cake batter into a piping bag (I used the biggest tip I had) and then pipe a little under one inch of this at the bottom of each jar. In another piping bag, add the red cake batter and then pipe a little under one inch on top of the blue. (You can omit this step and just spoon the stuff in there if you're not uber-worried about straight lines, but it'll get messy too).
Put these babies in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until it's all puffed up and still a little squishy. Pull them out and set them aside to cool.
Now, for the frosting! I love rich, crazy thick frosting as much as the next gal, but sometimes you just want that light, fluffy, whipped, tastes-like-a-store-bought-cake frosting. I've found it's pretty achievable by just adding in some vegan whipped topping (but I swear by the MimicCreme brand, I can't attest for the others). In your stand mixer or with your hand mixer, blend together the powdered sugar, softened butter (but not melted!) and vanilla extract. Add in one cup of the Healthy Top vegan whipped cream and blend on high until all mixed together.
Once your cupcakes have cooled, pipe this on top or spoon it on, whichev, and top with your favorite sprinkle assortment. To keep these moist and awesome, make sure to put lids on when storing overnight. And that's all! JUST lids! Woo hoo!
What was your favorite part of the holiday weekend?
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