Monday, 10 December 2012

Orange Blossom and Almond Friendship Cupcakes

They say that every little girl dreams of her wedding. I didn’t. But I did often think about which of my friends I would pick as my bridesmaids. I’m not sure why, but I found the prospect of picking bridesmaids exciting. I loved the idea of honouring some of my friends with a gesture that said “you are important to me”. When I was young though, I was always glad that I didn’t have to pick bridesmaids just yet, because I had so many friends that the decision would just be too hard. How could I pick just a few when I had so many friends? Is it ok to have eight or nine bridesmaids? It’s only been about 7 years since I finished school, but how things have changed. I still think about it sometimes, even though I have no plans to get married. Only now I feel happy that I don’t have to choose because I’m not sure if I can think of that many people who have really been there for me when I needed it.

When I was a child I used to wonder why my parents didn't seem to have as many friends as me. When I was in primary school I had so many friends to play with, when I was in high school I could easily have 50 people to invite to my party. So, what happened to all my parents’ friends? Now that I'm getting older I have a much better understanding. These days I can put almost all my friends under one of two categories: those who are moving away from me and those who never get in touch.

Those who are moving away are people who care about me and love me, and I know that the fact that they’re moving away isn't personal. I wish them the best of luck and I’m happy for them. It still saddens me though, and it can’t help feeling that it’s them saying “I don’t really mind it I barely ever see you anymore”. They’ll still remain friends, but it’s not the same. You can’t really expect somebody to be there for you if they’re in another country, another time zone, another world away.

Those who don’t get in touch are the ones who never text, never call and never take action to organise any catch ups. This also includes the ones which pull out of the things I organise consistently and at the last minute.  So, I see them only if I contact them or I organise an event and they don’t bail at the last minute. On the few occasions that I do see them they always exclaim “we should see each other more often, we should organise a time to do {whatever}”. Yet, I don’t hear from them again until the next time I get in touch. There are a lot of reasons for this, of which I can guess at. Sometimes it’s because friends value their relationships more then they value their friendships, sometimes it’s because they're too lazy to organise things and sometimes it’s probably because they’re not actually that interested in seeing you.

The other day I needed some time away from home. This happens when you live with somebody, you occasionally just need some space. I went out for a walk and I was trying to think of somebody that I could visit at short notice just because I needed to be away from my house and spend some time with a friend. The sad thing was, I couldn’t think of anybody.

Perhaps tv shows raise our expectations of friendships, just as romance movies raise our expectations of love and relationships. Maybe shows like Sex and the City create unrealistic expectations? Is it too much to expect to have a close group of friends who love you, make time for you, contact you often and are physically and emotionally there for you when you need it – even when they have boyfriends, work and children? I guess it probably is. I’d love to know what other people think, please share your thoughts below.

This reflection on friendship accompanies these beautiful little cupcakes for two reasons. Firstly, because it’s an issue that is on my mind a lot at the moment. Secondly, because I made these lovely cupcakes with a friend while we caught up over tea and it was lovely. While we were eating and drinking tea, I took this photo. It makes me feel happy because to me it symbolises the simple pleasure of making time to catch up with a friend.

Orange Blossom and Almond Friendship Cupcakes

1 cup of soy milk
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
¾ cup of sugar
¼ cup of oil (I used rice bran oil)
2 Tbsp of roasted almond butter
2 Tbsp of orange blossom water
1/2 cup of almond meal
1 cup of plain flour
1 ½ tsp of baking powder

2 Tbsp of orange blossom water
1 tbsp of almond/soy milk
1 ¼ cups of icing mixture
1 Tbsp of roasted almond butter
Whole almonds, to decorate (optional)

To Make:

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius.

1. Whisk together the soymilk and apple cider vinegar
2. Add sugar, oil, roasted almond butter, orange blossom water and almond meal and whisk until well combined.
3. Sift in flour and baking powder and whisk until combined.
4. Divide into 12 patty pans.
5. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool.
6. To make the glaze: combine all the glaze ingredients in a bowl and mix well until smooth. Drizzle over the cupcakes once they are completely cooled. Top with an almond, if you like.

Makes 12 cupcakes (and reminds somebody that you love them).


  1. So well written Keely. Is it because we get older and just grow apart? I don't know, maybe alot of people don't realise you have to 'work' a little at maintaining close friendships by making a conscious effort to organise dates and keep them. Alot of people value other things but to me connecting with other people and listening are one of the most precious gifts we can have. The cakes look beautiful and I love the pink tiered stand you presented them on. Glad you were able to catch up with a friend for tea and do something wonderful like baking together.

    PS: Yes I think shows like 'Friends' etc. do present an unrealistic expectation of real life, the same way skinny models do in fashion mags and peoples homes and the way they live in mags like 'House & Garden' etc. it's just not real life but highly stylised to sell us an image. xx

  2. Excellent post and modern culture has us living a lifestyle that is completely conducive to good friendships. Good friendships need time, they need input from both people involved, they need connection and a symbiosis that grows out of shared and communal life all of which is sorely lacking today in our fast paced face-planted-in-text-mode world. I have found a great group of online friends through social media. I might be "The only vegan in the village" here in rural Northern Tasmania where most of my neighbours shoot things out of the sky for their breakfast and grunt to each other to communicate but I CAN share common space (albeit internet space) with like-minded, good friends. The one thing missing is being able to share friendship through food, the BEST kind and so I love these cupcakes and they are the perfect reflection of time spent with friends being golden. Cheers for sharing your thoughts. By the way, I used to follow your blog years ago but dumped my whole RSS Feed Reader when it hit 500 blogs as I was crazy trying to keep up with posts. I saw you on Pinterest the other day and decided to put you into my new slimline MUST HAVE blog RSS Feed Read as you are seriously one of the only go-to vegan food blogs with the most interesting recipes. As an experimentrix myself, I love how you use your mental vegan alacrity to turn humble ingredients into are an alchemist of great wonder and I salute you (like an acadaca salute ;) )