Archive for the 'Cupcakes' Category

Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

Happy (belated) Birthday, Sari!!!

One of my favorite cookie blogs is Smitten Kitchen – I am always drooling over Deb’s fabulous recipes and gorgeous pictures. However, for some reason, I haven’t made many of them for myself. For my friend Sari’s birthday, I knew we needed to bring in Summer with style! Deb’s Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting were right up that alley, and I hopped right to it and whipped them up. They are simple and have such a light fruity and wholesome flavor to them, and they satisfy all dessert cravings. They were perfect for the picnic party.

To veganize the recipe, I used:

1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar — instead of buttermilk

2 1/2 Tablespoons of cornstarch blended with 1/4 cup water — instead of both eggs

Earth Balance margarine — instead of butter, in equal proportion

I added about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of extra powdered sugar to the frosting to get the consistency and flavor I liked best.

Deb, thank you for this recipe! Yum!

2nd Place!

Thanks to all of you who came out to Rock Paper Scissors Collective today to participate in the Second Annual Vegan Cupcake Bake-Off! There were some really amazing cupcake flavors represented, ranging from tomato soup with vegan cream cheese frosting, chocolate with corn kernels, horchata (with a complimentary shot of horchata to drink out of cute straws), to the number one winning flavor which was a lemon-infused cupcake filled with peach jam and topped with a blackberry frosting.

My Coconut Curry Cupcakes won 2nd place! So, I think that officially makes me the second-best vegan cupcake baker in the Bay Area…Can I claim that fame? Well, on this blog, I can! So many people came out – there were about 200 people at the event. I made over 50 cupcakes (and divided them into quarters, for the judges to taste…). I think I imbibed about 2 pounds of lime buttercream frosting, just from the process of making and decorating so many cupcakes — and I have a ton of it leftover! You can look forward to some new posts soon with creative ways to use lime frosting…On that note, I’d better go clean the frosting off the walls and batter off the beaters so I can plan my next few teaching days in a clean kitchen.

Thanks for your support if you were able to come taste-test and vote for your favorite (mine, of course)!

Coconut Curry Cupcakes

These sweet Curry Cupcakes have a thick Coconut Filling inside, and a tangy Lime Buttercream frosting piped on top. A sprinkle of chopped peanuts and a Thai basil leaf round out the ultimate cupcake experience. I can’t even describe how incredible these cupcakes are. A delicious meld of savory and sweet, they are the brainchild of myself and my dear friend Kiernan. There is a Vegan Cupcake Competition being held at the Rock Paper Scissors Collective in Oakland, and this seems like an event that I am destined to enter! In order to participate, I had to submit a recipe by email, and then the collective members would choose 10 recipes to enter the actual contest which will be held on May 22nd. So I had to come up with a creative cupcake flavor to submit, and then I sent them the recipe…We dreamt up about a billion different unusual cupcake flavor combinations, but when a “Thai cupcake” was mentioned we stopped short. Kiernan spent last summer in Thailand, and my favorite kind of food is Thai. So obviously we know a lot about Thai food (oh goodness, we know probably know very little between us…So let’s get this straight: This is not going to be an “authentic” Thai cupcake. I have no idea what that even means. But it is drawing on the common flavors found in Thai restaurants that I felt could combine nicely into a sweet vegan cupcake…Like, no fish sauce, obviously). Anyway, Kiernan and I knew this cupcake was going to be the way to go. And it was.

Last week I submitted the recipe, and today I received an email announcing that these cupcakes were chosen to enter the competition! So if you want to try one of these babies without having to make it yourself, please come down to Rock Paper Scissors in Oakland, California, on Saturday, May 22nd from 2-5pm. Everyone who comes gets to be a judge! You will taste-test every cupcake, and then submit your votes for the best one/s. I’m going to encourage you to vote for my Coconut Curry Cupcake! Thank you in advance!

If you can’t make it to the event, I’ll give you the recipe now:

The savory aspect of the Curry Cupcake was in theory too savory for many people; however, when they had the opportunity to try it, they realized that it’s not savory at all! The cupcake is actually quite sweet, with a hint of curry flavor in it. You could add a little fresh ginger to the batter to give it an extra punch but it really doesn’t need it, especially when combined with the Coconut Filling and Lime Frosting. The Thai basil leaf on top really makes the cupcake feel authentically Thai – which obviously it’s not, so I’m not sure where I’m going with that.

Curry Cupcake Batter Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. curry powder (or to taste)
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.
Beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and curry powder, and mix until no large lumps remain.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before filling and/or frosting.

Coconut Crème Filling Ingredients:

1 can whole-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened, dried coconut

Put coconut milk in medium sized bowl. Whisk on medium-high speed in an electric mixer until thick (about 8-15 minutes, depending on your mixer).
Add powdered sugar and dried coconut and combine thoroughly. It should have a thick texture, like a thick pudding. Add more dried coconut if you need to thicken the filling.

Tangy Lime Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (Earth Balance brand is good)
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk
zest from 2 limes
juice from 2 limes

Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy.
Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.
Add the vanilla, almond milk, and lime juice, and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy.
Add the lime zest and combine thoroughly.

Topping Ingredients:

1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1 small bunch Thai basil, de-stemmed

To Assemble Cupcakes:

Make a hole in the center of each Curry Cupcake by poking with your finger. Very gently press the sides and bottom of the hole to make it a littler larger. You’ll want the space to be able to fill in with lots of Coconut Crème Filling.

Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip, then fill the bag with Coconut Crème Filling. Fill only halfway to make handling the bag easier.

Fill each cupcake with Coconut Crème, trying to get as much filling as possible into the cupcakes. Cupcakes should feel noticeably heavier.

Fit a second pastry bag with a large round or star tip, and fill the bag halfway full with Tangy Lime Buttercream Frosting. Pipe the frosting in a spiral around the cupcake top, starting from the outside and working in and up. Alternatively, you can spread the frosting on top of your cupcake.

Sprinkle crushed peanuts over each cupcake. Top with one or two Thai basil leaves.

Fallback on the Favorites

I thought I was going to have more time. But no. Lots of work to do, lots of fun to be had! I’ve been saving this post for about a week, and a certain sweet someone (cough-Julie-cough) has been asking about these cupcakes. I baked two types of cupcakes for a friend to take to a birthday party, and I baked an extra batch of each for another birthday party I was attending. Coincidentally, both friends were named Sara!

One of the Sara’s requested White Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes, and while brainstorming a chocolate-y flavor for my second batch I remembered the Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcake recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. I remembered that I made them a few years ago, they were very good, and Zoe took one home and stuck it in her refrigerator. I went out of town for about a month, and on one of my last days on vacation I received a message from Zoe in which she was describing all the amazing flavors of this cupcake that she had saved…for a month! And she sounded practically orgasmic, as she ate it. I still can’t believe the cupcake lasted that long, or how ridiculous that message was. So, I thought I should probably recreate these incredible cupcakes, and hope they came out just as good.

The recipe is just as it was in VCTOTW so I won’t copy it here, but dark chocolate, cinnamon, a hint of spicy cayenne pepper, crunchy cornmeal granulates, and a fluffy vanilla butter cream frosting piped on top – mmm! They were just as I remembered them, and I even gave one to Zoe! She’ll have to comment on this post in about a month and let us all know if it lived up to her memories!

So Many Cupcakes!

Check this out!
My recipe for White Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes was featured
on the These Magical Years craft blog.

Click HERE to see!

White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Coffee Cupcakes

I haven’t updated my blog in over a week! I’m sorry loyal readers! All I can say is that I’ve been extremely busy with school, teaching, excessive amounts of homework, job-searching, and of course playing in and out of the summer sun with friends (yes, I said summer…I know it’s not, but here in the Bay Area, it feels like it!). I hope these cupcakes allow you to forgive my absence. They are delightful. The light coffee flavor of the cupcake is a perfect pick-me-up in the middle of the day, and the White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Frosting is out of control delicious. I’m going to have to make it again for some special friends who may want it on their wedding cake (gasp!). Until we continue the recipe testing and tasting for that, I leave you with these cupcakes…

Vanilla Coffee Cupcake Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tblsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canola oil (or any lightly flavored vegetable oil)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350° F, and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk the almond milk and espresso powder together until the powder is completely dissolved. Whisk in the vinegar, and set aside a few minutes to get good and curdled.

Beat together the almond milk mixture, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix only until no large lumps remain.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full, and bake for 20-24 minutes till done (you can stick a toothpick in the center and it should come out clean).

Leave in muffin tins for 3-5 minutes after taking out of the oven, so the cakes can set, and then take out of the tins and place on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting. While you are waiting for them to cool, you can prepare your White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Frosting (recipe below). When cupcakes are completely cool, pipe or spread the frosting on.

White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance), room temperature
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 Tblsp. unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 whole vanilla bean
1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips, melted
1/8 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut (optional)

Melt your white chocolate chips in a double boiler.

While the chocolate is melting, cream the Earth Balance with the confectioner’s sugar (adding sugar in gradually). Add the almond milk slowly, as needed to thoroughly combine Earth Balance and sugar and keep a smooth consistency. Add the vanilla extract.

Slice your vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Carefully scrape out the seeds, using a knife or the edge of a spoon. Add all the seeds to your frosting and mix in.

Add the melted white chocolate last, and beat until fluffy. Pipe or spread onto your cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with a pinch of unsweetened dried shredded coconut, if desired. Enjoy!

Orange Blossom Clouds

My mouth has been watering basically since the exact moment on May 24, 2008, when Dayna posted this recipe on her blog. The page has been bookmarked on my toolbar for as long as I can remember. Why haven’t I made these Whoopie Pie confections until now? I have no idea. They are incredible. The spicy ginger and molasses flavors in the cakey cookies are perfectly paired with the sweet orange blossom aroma of the fluffy icing sandwiched in between. This last week was very busy at school; besides all the normal teaching and homework to do, we had to complete a high-stakes standardized state assessment teaching unit deployed by the State of California for all teaching credential students. In the middle of this crazy week was a dearly beloved and inspiring professor’s birthday, and since I wanted to bring her a treat and wanted to give everyone going through such a draining experience, I added baking cookies to my ever expanding To Do List. This happened to be the one thing that I actually wanted to do. So, of course baking took priority over reading and writing and processing, and I jumped at the opportunity to bake this recipe I’d been waiting to try forever. This was truly what I was looking for: something fruity and different, off the radar of traditional birthday baking surprises and a definite pick-me-up for the rest of us.

Notes from baking: My cookies are not as lightly colored as Dayna’s (I think because I used blackstrap molasses), and I added a little extra orange blossom water to pump up the intensity of the flavors. The cookie batter is more like a cake batter than I would have expected, and you definitely have to scoop the batter with a spoon and dollop it onto your pan. After baking, the cookies have a soft pliable consistency, more like a muffin or cupcake-top than I would have expected – but I’ve also never had a real Whoopie Pie and I think this is what it’s supposed to be like. I personally enjoyed the overall fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth experience of eating them!

If you want to pack the cookies and take them anywhere with you: don’t layer the cookies! Or, if you must, put sheets of wax or parchment paper in between the layers, because these cookies get sticky and smushy and while they still taste delicious, their cute sandwich and easy eatability disappears quickly as they turn into one giant cakey-frostingy-decadent mush. That you might have to eat with a fork, instead of your fingers. That certainly didn’t stop us from devouring the cookies quickly, but word to the wise: bring napkins!

Raspberry Blackout Cake

I had the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone (in a vegan manner, of course): A birthday cake and a wedding cake test of sorts. It was Dennis’ birthday, and so of course I was going to bake him something! I sat down with about 13 cookbooks in front of me (while watching Grey’s Anatomy…two of my favorite things, baking and medical dramas). I searched high and low for a cake that would satisfy a chocolate lover. Originally I was looking for something with nuts but this cake caught my eye – and then I remembered I’m also supposed to be wedding cake testing for my friends’ wedding to be held this summer. Their first request matched up with this cake recipe perfectly. I had to choose it, and I’m so glad I did!

I baked a three-layer birthday cake, and had extra batter that I baked into cupcake form for the taste-test. I spread raspberry jam in between the layers of the cake and then drizzled dark chocolate ganache on top of the jam, and then of course spread a thick layer of ganache over the top of the cake letting it spill down the sides. For the cupcakes, I piped raspberry jam into the center, topped the cakes with fresh raspberries, and gave my friends a container of the ganache to spread or dip their cupcakes into when they ate them – the consistency just wasn’t right to pipe on top as I had hoped it would be (however, the next day it was perfect for spreading…Just needed to be cooled completely).

This vegan cake reinterprets a classic complimentary pairing: chocolate and raspberry. Three layers of dark chocolate cake covered with chocolate ganache are balanced by the luscious summer taste of raspberries. The cake is moist and fudgy, holds together really well, and slices perfectly. It wasn’t too heavy (although it was certainly dense), and even just a few bites satisfied all chocolate-lovers involved. The consensus as I interpreted it was that this cake was delicious, a great wedding cake option, but perhaps needs to be a little lighter (not as dense and fudgy), and would be great with a white chocolate frosting on the outside – that’s what I had originally thought, and this taste-test confirmed. It is now on my list to be my next wedding cake experiment! First, to find vegan white chocolate…

Raspberry Blackout Cake Ingredients***:
Adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 (10 oz.) jar raspberry preserves (reserve 1/2 cup for the batter)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
Fresh raspberries for decorating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round springform cake pans with cooking spray. If you don’t have springform then use parchment paper rounds on the bottom of two ordinary 8-inch round cake pans to prevent sticking.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine the rice milk, oil, 1/2 cup of the preserves, the vanilla, and the sugar in a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer or strong fork. The jam should be mostly dissolved with the rest of the ingredients; some small clumps are okay. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches and mix until everything is incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pans.

When the cakes have cooled fully, spread one layer of cake with a thin layer of the preserved raspberry preserves (give the preserves a quick mix with a strong fork to get a spreadable consistency); spread or drizzle a layer of chocolate frosting on top of the preserves. Place the other layer of cake on top and spread its top with preserves. Carefully spread the chocolate frosting over the top, then ice the sides. I like to put a circle of fresh raspberries around the circumference of the top. If you happen to have a decorating bag and tips around, you can alternate a rosebud or star flourish with a raspberry, and a few raspberries in the center will finish it off. Makes 12 servings.

***Make 1 1/2 times the recipe above if you want to make a three-layer cake as I did.

Chocolate Ganache-y Frosting Ingredients:
3/4 cup almond milk
6 Tblsp. Earth Balance margarine
10 oz semisweet chocolate chips

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the almond milk to a low boil. Add the Earth Balance and melt, turn off the heat, and stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Let sit for at least 1 hour. It should still have a pourable consistency at this point. If you want a spreadable consistency then refrigerate for an hour (If you refrigerate it for more than a few hours, it sets too much to spread easily, so you will need to reheat it, then let it sit at room temperature before using.)

Pretty In Pink, and a Lesson

Becky’s birthday party on Saturday was themed Hot Pink/1920’s so I had to come up with something to help me with my lack of costume (I don’t own any hot pink clothes! How is this possible? I’m shocked at myself). I figured that everyone would forgive me for not dressing up if I had a batch of delicious vegan cupcakes in tow, and so when I woke up in the wee hours of the morning I whipped some up.

Inspired by these gorgeous cupcakes, I adapted Lindsay’s recipe only slightly by adding a teaspoon of almond extract to the cake batter and another teaspoon to the frosting (making them a little more like these cupcakes). I also added about a teaspoon of Raspberry Jam piped into the center of each cupcake to give it a little more pink and a little more flair. To do this step, wait till your cupcakes are completely cooled, and then fill a pastry bag with the Raspberry Jam (or other filling). Use a round tip to pipe a small amount of the filling into the center of each cupcake. Use a spoon to smooth the filling down into the cupcake, if necessary. Once the cupcakes are filled, fill another pastry bag with the Almond Icing, fitting the bag with a large star tip. Pipe the icing onto the tops of the cupcakes, concealing the Raspberry filling.

I did learn a valuable lesson in patience while baking these rosy pink cakes. When I took them out of the oven, I immediately unwrapped one and tried to take a bite – However, this is when I thought disaster had struck! The cupcake was stuck to the wrapper. I’m not talking about a little bit of crumb sticking to the paper, I’m talking full-blown cupcake-attachment. The cupcake itself split in half, chewy middle crumbling about while the sides were glued to the pink paper liner. It was impossible to eat, extremely messy, and I was truly upset about this. I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong (I followed the recipe exactly, except for adding almond extract, and I baked them at the right temperature, and I trust Lindsay’s recipes). I was sad about it, but I decided to let these cupcake babies cool and I would frost them anyway; I didn’t have time to bake a whole new batch for the party the same night. After filling and frosting, the cupcakes looked really nice, but I was hesitant about how they would be when people tried to eat them. I brought them to Becky’s house, worried I was going to cover all her guests and their fabulous 1920’s/Hot Pink attire in frosting and cupcake messes. However, when they began consuming the cupcakes, the wrappers peeled off perfectly! I was so relieved.

After a little internet-research, I’m realizing this was a silly mistake and I should have known better about it. I’m trying to excuse myself from this freak-out and tell myself I was simply acting so hasty because I was tired (I had woken up at 6am after staying up late the night before…) but really I think I was just rushing around too much and being quite impatient to try the cupcakes! They smelled so good coming out of the oven! So, here’s a new lesson to remember: Let cupcakes cool (at least partially) after taking them out of the oven before unwrapping them. This will give them time to settle and solidify in their final baked state, and they will come out of their wrappers much more easily. And, this rule can apply to other parts of life besides baking: Just a little patience will do you a lot of good!

Double-The-Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

Inspired by a recent post of mine, my mom made these intense dark chocolate mocha cupcakes, and topped them with a chocolate buttercream frosting. The recipe for the cake was exactly the same as what I posted before, and the frosting is the same as what’s on that post but with cocoa powder added to it (the cake is super chocolatey and dense, so it’s up to you to add however much cocoa you want to the frosting depending on your flavor preferences). I piped the frosting on the top for her in an elegant, but simple, design. If this cake doesn’t make your mouth start watering just from the pictures, description, and recipe, then you should probably make it anyway because it’s just that good. Yum.

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August 2022

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. Photos, Original Recipes & Text ©cookiesandcandids 2008-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. If you repost any material from this blog, please give credit by including a link back to me. Thank you!