Whitesburg KY
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Wasn’t it just the most exciting thing ever when someone would bring cupcakes to school on their birthday? This recipe is a throwback to the vanilla on-vanilla childhood birthday fun.



  • 1 cup nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  •  ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • ½ cup vegan butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Splash of nondairy milk, as needed to blend

Vegan sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin tin or line it with baking cups.
  2. In a small bowl, stir the nondairy milk and apple cider vinegar together to create vegan “buttermilk.” Let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the small bowl with the “buttermilk” mixture. Transfer the contents of the small bowl to the large bowl, and mix until the wet and dry ingredients are smooth.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin wells, until each is about three-quarters full. Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly golden.
  6. While the cupcakes bake, prepare the vanilla frosting by combining all the frosting ingredients together in a blender or in a bowl with an electric mixer.
  7. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack. Let them cool completely, then top them with the frosting and
    sprinkles and serve or store in an airtight container.


Green Tomatoes: Fruit of the vegetable patch


Every year, my small vegetable garden produces far more tomatoes than I can possibly use. As the season wanes, an abundance of green tomatoes forlornly hang on the vine looking for enough sun to turn them into red jewels. I’ve begun searching for unique ways to use green tomatoes as a vegetable and as a fruit in my recipes.

Scientifically, tomatoes are classified as a fruit, but since they don’t contain the sweet-flavor of most fruits and are typically used in savory dishes, they’re legally classified as a vegetable.

Tomatoes are low in calories and a good source of vitamins C, A and K.They also are a very good source of molybdenum, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, chromium and vitamin B-1. In addition, tomatoes contain lycopene, which has antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties.

My recipe for Green Tomato and Orange Relish uses green tomatoes like a pickled vegetable. It freezes well, and makes a delicious change from traditional cranberry relish for holiday meals.

The spices and flavors of my Green Tomato Spice Cake act as a showcase for the tomato’s fruit-like qualities. Whether you decide to use your abundance of green tomatoes like a vegetable or a fruit, you can’t go wrong with these recipes!

4 medium green tomatoes
1 large purple or Vidalia onion
1 cup orange marmalade
2 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon red pepper-flakes

1. Core the bottom of the green tomatoes and cut them into quarters.

Peel the onion and cut it into quarters. Using a food processor, pulse the green tomato and onion 8 to 10 times, until the pieces become small (“pickle-relish” size). Do not puree.

2. Using a 4-quart, heavy-bottomed pot, put in all the ingredients at once. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring until blended and the sugar begins to dissolve.

3. Turn the heat to medium and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.The relish should be syrupy and slightly thick. If it does not seem to have thickened enough, cook the relish 10 minutes more.

4. Cool for 2 hours, and then put the relish in an air-tight container and refrigerate it. The relish can be refrigerated for two weeks. You also can place the cooled relish into plastic zip-lock storage bags and freeze for up to 6 months. Makes 5 cups of relish.

1 box spice cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, craisins or currants)
1 1/2 cups diced green tomatoes
1 large, peeled and diced, Granny Smith apple (about 3/4 to 1 cup)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup sweetened coconut, toasted, optional
Whipped cream, optional

1. Heat oven to 350 F.

2. In mixing bowl, lightly beat the water, vegetable oil, eggs and brown sugar until combined, about 2 minutes. Stir in the spice cake mix and flour, and mix until smooth. Stir in the vanilla, pecans or walnuts, raisins, tomatoes and apples. Blend well.

3. Spoon the batter into a greased and floured 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Loosen the cake from the sides of the pan with a knife or spatula. Cool for 30 minutes.

4. Using a fine-mesh strainer or a sifter, sprinkle the top with powdered sugar. When serving, top each slice with a tablespoon of coconut and/or whipped cream, if desired.

Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian, and the author of seven cookbooks. Please join The Kitchen Diva in supporting Mattress Firms’ efforts to assist foster children through the Ticket to Dream Foundation to make a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of foster children in need.They believe not everyone can be a foster parent, but anyone can help a foster child. (www.tickettodream.org)

©2020 King Features Synd. and Angela Shelf Medearis

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