These were a big step up process-wise from the previous cakes, and these were definitely a learning experience. Not nearly as good as they could have been, but next time they'll be killer.
That first photo is Exhibit A: as soon as I took these out of the oven, they collapsed from being perfect little bulbous ganache-ready tops to deflated, rubbery membranes that weren't ready for a damn thing. According to Isa, I probably over-mixed the fats and sugars -- something that doesn't happen when cutting sugar into butter, but apparently does happen with margarine. And I may have overmixed the batter in the KitchenAid.
I also tried to yellow up the cupcakes by cooking some turmeric into the soymilk before curdling it as suggested by Isa, which only served to cook down the milk and make the cakes kind of congealed and weird-like. The biggest disaster was the creme filling, which wasn't nearly the pudding consistency it was supposed to be, but rather totally liquid -- apparently, the problem was using agar flakes instead of powder. Time to troll the internet. Surprisingly, it set up within the cupcakes in the fridge, but you could hardly fit any inside with the creme pouring everywhere.
So next time:
- Skip the turmeric trick
- Get a hold of some agar powder
- Ease up on the margarine man-handling