At the beginning of December Local in Season tweeted about Pestos with Panache holding a recipe contest and I was intrigued. I quickly investigated and emailed /tweeted Lauren, the owner of the company, saying I would love to participate. She replied quickly and offered to send me a pesto of my choice for my recipe. I was delighted. Many of my blogger friends have been using the Pestos with Panache in their cooking recently and I had been dying to try it. Lauren shipped it out and I waited patiently for my Pesto to arrive. I chose the blueberry pesto, something I have a bit of an obsession with given my upbringing in blueberry fields, and while Lauren checked in with me everyday to see if I’d gotten my pesto, I started to get excited. What was I going to make with this pesto, something savory or sweet? Something classic, like a pesto cream sauce, or something brash and outlandish? I chose outlandish.
Maybe it was the blueberry balsamic vinegar sitting in my pantry calling out for usage, maybe it was me falling in love with these litte vegan (without the pesto) gems in October, maybe it was that first whiff of pesto as I unpacked it moments before I left to host the Boston Blogger Cookie Swap and I thought of chocolate and blueberry layered and married together, but I like to think it was all of these things at the same time. Blueberry is one of those flavors that makes me five again, running through a hot field to my mom and being reprimanded for wrecking the berries. I love the memories that I get from the blueberry flavor and the spiciness makes these worthy of mention. So here it is – my spin on an accidentally found (and promptly inhaled with non-vegan frosting) vegan chocolate cupcake.
Kathy’s Bangin’ Blueberry Pesto Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Note: These are adapted from a food.com recipe that I found. They are also the most wonderfully moist cupcakes I’ve ever eaten and so fast to make. It’s a dream.
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup oil (something with a neutral flavor, I use vegetable but any without a strong flavor will work)
1 cup water
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar (I use the Blueberry Balsamic from La Roux kitchens, thanks Sarah!)
2 Tbs Bangin’ Blueberry Pesto, from Pestos with Panache
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Add all of the dry ingredients to a medium sized bowl and mix them until the cocoa is distributed evenly. In a two cup measure, combine the water, oil, vinegar and pesto. Stir until the pesto is broken up and even (it’ll look a little like a vinaigrette). Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is evenly mixed and smooth; 20 or so stirs by hand is good. You should be able to hear the vinegar and baking soda sizzle a little bit. Separate the cupcake batter evenly into a 12 cup cupcake pan; I used some super adorable silicone bug cupcake liners I got for Christmas (Thanks Mandi!), and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (about one short chapter in Harry Potter, if you read like me); they’ll bounce back to the touch or an inserted toothpick will come out clean when they’re fully cooked.
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
6 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 cups powdered sugar
Mix the butter and cream cheese until fully combined and fluffy. Add the salt and stir to incorporate. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and stir to fully combined. Gradually 1/4 – 1/2 cup at a time, continually adding powdered sugar until the frosting is the consistency and taste that you desire (I don’t like my frosting terribly sweet so I usually err on the less sugar side of things). Smear large dallops of frosting on your chosen receptacle, spoon, cupcake, spoon, spork, pancake, spoon, fork… (Umm, yeah – Hi my name is Kathy and I have a cream cheese frosting addiction). Eat it messily. Maybe like BF. [Editor’s Note: The young unshaven gentleman in question was so enamored by the delicious cupcake, that he attempted to eat it in a single, high-velocity bite.]