You are my BFF. I know. We’ve never met. Unless you count that time on a wintry night in a New York restaurant when you were sitting at a table in the bar (surprise, surprise). You smiled at me as I walked past, or at least I think you did. Maybe you were smiling at the person behind me? I did not squeal and bounce up to your table and squeal some more. No, I comported myself like a true New Yorker, acting so cool, like, Ellen, I see celebrities all the time, no big deal, even though in truth I’m from New Jersey. Anyway, I would never allow the fact that we’re total strangers, such a small detail, stand in the way of friendship.
When I watch your show (which I do on a daily basis), I wonder.
Ellen, how can you always be so happy and upbeat?
And then sometimes when I watch you, it occurs to me, wow, maybe Ellen doesn’t necessarily always feel like doing this every damn day. What if her back hurts or she feels cranky because she stopped eating sugar? But by the time that thought computes (about ten seconds) you have already turned it around. You are saying “back at ‘cha” and “kakaka” and the light bulb that is you is beaming full force. I don’t know how you do it.
Obviously, I’m not the only one who is glad you do. Because of you, I’m on twitter. I like to keep in touch. You’re so popular because you’re so nice; no wonder you have over four million followers. I don’t tweet; I follow. Like, who really cares that I’m sitting here writing to you and making soup and listening to the rain raging outside? That just doesn’t make for very scintillating reading, does it? But I like keeping up with you. And with David Lebovitz, since he says things like “just spent 2 mins looking for my right glove, until I realized I was holding it in my left hand.” You guys make me laugh.
Oh, I’m not done yet. So many reasons why I choose you as my BFF. You make me laugh, sure, but you do so much more. For everyone. It’s totally weird that your last name is DeGenerous. How did that happen? The world is a spooky place sometimes. When I watch people on your show scrambling for cash in a booth, or a family getting a car, or someone being given something they really, really need because of you, my heart breaks. I think, why couldn’t that be me?
No, really, I think, who does that?
The glitches I have in my life are so minor in view of the big picture. If I’m having a bad day, sometimes a little booty-shaking is in order and anything that is weighing me down goes Pouf! by the end of the show. And if that doesn’t work, then it’s time to bake cupcakes. It’s a cure I highly recommend to anyone who feels stuck.
Now what kind of BFF would bring up cupcakes if you are not eating sugar? Pay attention! I said bake cupcakes, not eat them. The therapy is in the getting-off-the-couch-and-get-moving part. Eating them is the last line of defense. It’s effective, but it always leaves you in a wake of regret. So I bake cupcakes and give them away to greedy little children. Or their teachers. These cupcakes are vegan, in honor of you, Ellen. They are gently sweet, so if and when you want to break your sugar fast, no one will have to scrape you off the ceiling after one or two bites. That’s the least I can do for my BFF.
These are not excessively sweet. A little bit of glaze hits the spot, unless you like very sweet desserts. Make the glaze first so you can chill it while you make the cupcakes. I have noted the brands I used to make these, but you can substitute other brands if you like. Taste and compare vegan cream cheese spreads. I like Tofutti the best; I found that some brands have a strange flavor. Lemon glaze is also good with these. Just add about 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the glaze. The cupcakes are best consumed on the same day you make them.
Get Off the Couch and Move Your Butt With Ellen Coconut Cupcakes (Vegan)
Makes 1 dozen
8 ounces tofutti cream cheese spread
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure coconut flavoring
About 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1. Combine all the ingredients except the coconut in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour, while you make and cool the cupcakes.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Ener-G egg replacer powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) Earth Balance buttery sticks vegan spread
2/3 cup agave syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure coconut flavoring
1/2 cup coconut milk
1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 1 dozen molds in a standard size muffin tin with paper liners. Thoroughly whisk the flour, egg replacer, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
2. Beat the vegan spread and agave syrup at medium speed until well blended with the paddle attachment in a stand mixer, or with the beaters of a hand-held mixer. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled, just keep going. Add the vanilla extract, coconut flavoring, coconut milk and dry ingredients to the bowl. Beat on low speed, just until smooth and combined. Do not overbeat. Scrape down the bowl and give the batter a final mixing by hand with a rubber spatula.
3. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 molds. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick poked into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes rest in the pan for 10 minutes and carefully lift them out onto on a rack to cool completely before icing.
4. Place a rounded teaspoon of glaze on top of each cupcake and spread it with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle each cupcake with coconut.