March 6, 2009

Cowgirl Cupcakes

"Sometimes the best cowboys ain't cowboys at all."
from "American Cowgirl"

I want to be a cowgirl. I want to be a cowgirl so badly, in fact, that not a day has gone by this semester when I have NOT worn my cowboy boots to work. Last week one of my students actually said to me, "Miss Jada, you need some new shoes!" Fashion faux pas aside, I can't help my obsession. Nor do I want to. These boots are staying right where they belong: on my gnarled and tired feet!

I love to daydream about my life as a cowgirl. These daydreams usually consist of pretty sunsets, encounters with rugged men on horseback, scandalous fireside tales, rambling brooks, and spectacular views of Moenave formations from the cliff's edge. I even daydream about the nightly can of beans. I mean, I love beans! (And so does the rugged man with whom I would share my nightly can.) Ah, daydreams...

"Cowgirl" has not always been at the top of my career list, and probably for good reason:

1. I have no ranching experience.
2. I don't like riding horses.
3. I like regular showers--sometimes two a day.
4. I am easily scared by spiders
5. And wolves
6. And bears
7. And mountain lions.
8. I don't eat meat. (Although, I might make an exception for mountain lion meat.)
9. I become paralyzed with fear when in the presence of guns.
10. I like cupcakes (which are probably hard to transport via horse).
11. And on a final note, it is not yet clear to me what a real cowgirl actually does on a daily basis. I know a horse is involved, but beyond that things get a little cloudy. Whatever she does, I'm sure it's cool.

Even though I might be a little out of touch with real cowgirl values, I still hold onto my leathery dream of a fenceless world where the desert perpetually unfurls into limitless galaxies of sand. Granted, I'm sure cowboy/cowgirl freedom goes hand-in-hand with a little prairie-induced lunacy, but whatevs: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." I'm sure there's a good cowgirl fireside song out there that ruminates mighty fine on this adage in a much cooler way than I could ever express--after all, the cowgirl song would (of course!) be sung in a badass cowgirl dialect. Which reminds me...I guess I should add a #12 to my list above: I don't speak (or sing) in the cowgirl dialect.

Since I might not become a real cowgirl in this lifetime, I can at least make these cowgirl inspired cupcakes to satisfy my need for leather, horse manes, and sand. Don't worry--you will not find leather, hair, or sand in this cupcake; what you will find, however, is the essence of cowgirl. These cupcakes are sturdy (like a cowgirl's thighs), brown (like dirt, horse poop, or leather boots), and cute (in a rugged, Annie Oakley sort of way).They are also full of flavor. Taste them and you will become free and courageous, ready to enter the wild, open spaces of your local park. (These cupcakes are vegan, too. Shhhh! It might be wise to keep this a secret when in the presence of real cowgirls. Cowgirls don't take too kindly to veganized pastries!)

Cowgirl cupcake dominating my backyard fence: "Don't fence me in!"

Cowgirl Cupcakes
(makes 1 dozen--adapted from Taste Buddies)

1 cup of unsweetened rice milk
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup of turbinado sugar
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. powdered ginger
3/4 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt

1. Combine rice milk and vinegar in a small bowl, and set aside for 5 minutes. This mixture will act as a binder since no egg is called for in this recipe.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Once you have given your milk and vinegar the chance to activate, add the sugar, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk until sugar is noticeably dissolved.

3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two batches. Whisk until well combined, and then pour into prepared baking cups. No more than 3/4 of the cup should be filled.

4. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before topping with frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting
(enough for spreading generously on 12 cupcakes)

1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 tbs. rice milk

Whisk ingredients together until they well combined. If frosting is too wet, add more sugar. If it appears to be more dry, add more rice milk.


Heidiwriter said...

Yummy! Some of the ingredients might be hard to transport in saddlebags too. LOL. I love your post about dreaming of being a cowgirl. I think every girl goes through that at some point in her life (and maybe some of us never give it up!) I grew up on a Montana ranch, but now live in surburbia & haven't been on a horse in 20 years. Now I just write about the old-time cowgirls, like my grandmother.

Paul Allor said...

Okay, totally off topic, but ... your students call you "Miss Jada?" Too cute!

Hadley Gets Crafty said...

Oh man, peanut butter frosting. Be still my heart. If only I hadn't given up sugar...

Jess said...

Jada! I always wanted to be a cowgirl too! For me it all started when I was about seven years old and I heard my first Lyle Lovett album. There was no turning back.

thecosmiccowgirl said...

hey, fellow cowgirl. these look delicious. i just love your site!