Archive for the 'Cupcakes' Category



Veggie Garden Cupcakes

I was making these cupcakes for the Vegan Bakesale happening this afternoon, and since it is a benefit for the Laurel Elementary School gardening program, I decided a garden theme would be appropriate. The cupcake base is a Carrot-Zucchini Muffin (from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking), and is certainly moderately healthy (it has veggies in it!!). I threw together the frosting (sorry I don’t have a recipe to share, I didn’t measure this time!) with Earth Balance and Tofutti Cream Cheese as the creamy base, with vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder whipped in. I sifted regular cocoa powder on top of each cupcake, along with a sprinkling of Black Cocoa Powder to make the top look like rich dark soil. We then plunked our Marzipan veggies on top and called it a day. Hopefully they’ll be a big hit at the bakesale!

The vegetables are made from Marzipan! They are fully edible, although perhaps too cute to really eat. It took a loooooong time, but Julie, Sari, and I made 20 tiny vegetables (and an apple…) out of Marzipan that we dyed with food coloring. It was like making little sculptures out of modeling clay, except you get to eat them afterwords. It was really fun to make them, and we got quite carried away making different shapes. We made peas in a pod, carrots, string beans, tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, purple cabbage, eggplants, apples, and my favorite which was the stalk of brussels sprouts!

Pumpkin Mummy-Cakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Halloween is quickly approaching – and if you weren’t aware of it, I can help you out. I can tell it’s Halloween time for a few reasons:

1. The weather has gotten crisper and windier, and the red and gold leaves are blowing off the trees into huge piles in my backyard.

2. There are pumpkins everywhere; carved and whole. There are ghosts hanging from trees, and goblins and spiderwebs peeking from behind windows and creeping out on front lawns.

3. I am student teaching in a Kindergarten classroom and the students are excited about Halloween, to say the least. In preparation, we’ve made black paper bats that hang from the windows and pumpkin-shaped paper-chain calendars to countdown till the very day, we’ve measured pumpkins up and down and weighed them and even got to make predictions about what might be inside a pumpkin — and then the kids got to stand on the picnic tables outside and smash them onto the ground to find out! We’ve also been reading Halloween books for weeks. Books about counting and math, about the alphabet, about helping friends, about trick-or-treating, about being kind to each other, about making mistakes, and about making good choices. Besides these good-community-oriented and academic themes, the books involve witches and scarecrows and ghosts and bats and monsters, which captures every student’s attention. We even read a book about a witch who baked her grumpy day into a cake! It went right along with my lesson plan theme, which was to cook pumpkin pancakes! I’ve been teaching small groups of four, five, and six year olds how to make these delicious pancakes all week, and finally the cinnamon smells got the best of me.

The Fall weather, the Halloween spirit, and the pumpkin pancake cooking ingredients all came together to form these cute little cupcake critters. As soon as I saw Lindsay’s post about her creations, I knew I had to decorate some cupcakes just like she did! I used her recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes, and added a ton of cinnamon to a basic vanilla buttercream frosting to top mine off. Aren’t they perfect?

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Mango Cupcakes

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For many many months, my friend Julie has been making different requests for her birthday dessert. Last year I made her Apple-Cinnamon Muffins with Mead Frosting and a Honey-Swirl on top, and at one point she told me she wanted to have the exact same thing this year. And then she wanted a variety of other desserts – a list of which I honestly can’t remember at the moment (oops. Bad friend…). But that’s not important, because when she came up with the idea of Mango Cupcakes, she changed her mind completely and settled on that as her most favorite choice. Mango is her favorite fruit, and perhaps one of her favorite foods. Since then, I did a lot of research about making mango cupcakes, and never found much interesting material to work with; there are lots of recipes for mango muffins and cupcakes with chunks of mango in them, but neither of those sounded appealing. This felt like a great challenge that I was totally up for, so I was pretty thrilled that Julie selected mango as her birthday dessert wish flavor.

I wanted the cupcakes to taste fresh and tropical, and to let the mango flavor really shine. I wanted to try to replicate the silky smooth, juicy texture of fresh mangoes, and I thought very hard about how to accomplish this. I decided on a mango-flavored cupcake (without chunks of mango mixed in), and to fill the cupcakes with a homemade Mango Jam that would give the effect of juicy mangoes when you bit into the cupcake. The jam would also serve as a super fresh mango blast with each bite. It took me a long time to settle on frosting flavor. I debated between a brown sugar glaze, a cream cheese frosting, or just slathering the top with more Mango Jam…I couldn’t figure it out though. None of those ideas really fit. But then I remembered the perfect ingredient that I happened to have sitting in my cupboard, waiting for just the right use! Fresh Vanilla Beans that I had found in the bulk section of my local health food store. A vanilla bean buttercream would be perfectly paired with the mango cupcakes, and not overpower the mango flavor. And then I remembered that Julie’s favorite type of frosting is cream cheese…What to do? How could I decide? Well, I decided to brave it and mix the two together – and suddenly, I had the *perfect* frosting. It would be delicious on ANY cake, anywhere, anytime. It may just become my fall-back frosting recipe (especially since I’ve found vanilla beans in bulk and they surprisingly aren’t that expensive). Here is the final product of The Mango Cupcake Experiment, which was received with screams – yes, literally screams of joy!

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Mango Cupcake Ingredients:
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 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup pureed mango
1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup 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. Add in the pureed mango and combine thoroughly. 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 Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Frosting (recipe below). When cupcakes are completely cool, cut a cone out of the center of each cake, and remove tops. This is where you will spoon in your Mango Jam, or if you choose not to make the Jam then you can also use this method and add extra Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Frosting into the center of the cupcake, replace the cake top, and pipe more frosting on top. Both methods are beautiful and extremely tasty.

Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Frosting Ingredients:
Vanilla Bean Frosting:
1/8 cup Earth Balance margarine, room temperature
1/8 cup Earth Balance vegan shortening, room temperature
1/4 cup tofutti cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
1 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the frosting, cream together the margarine, shortening, and cream cheese until just combined. Add the powdered sugar half a cup at a time, mixing in each addition until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds, and whip until fluffy and smooth. It is a thick frosting. Keep tightly covered and refrigerated until ready to use, then pipe onto fully cooled cupcakes.

Check out the beautiful vanilla bean flecks in the frosting:

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Cherry Tomato Cupcake Poppers

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It seems like everyone’s tomato plants are bursting with red ripe tomatoes of all sizes. I’ve been making lots of fresh tomato salads and sauces, and eating them plain right off the vine. What a glorious hot summer treat!

Last year, I made Tomato Cupcakes for a tomato party that I hosted at my apartment. This year, my friends Rachel, Dia, and Kelly hosted their own tomato party, but this time with a little twist; their garden was overflowing with cherry tomatoes, so it was really a Cherry Tomato Party! I’ve been super busy and didn’t feel like I had time to experiment with creating a completely new tomato-based dessert recipe, so I just adapted my Tomato Cupcake recipe from last year. Because of the cherry tomato theme, I baked these in mini cupcake tins, so they were small and cute like the tiny tomatoes that we were celebrating. I also made them gluten-free for one of the hosts.

I based my recipe on the Chocolate Gluten Freedom Cupcakes in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, but I adapted the recipe to add tomato into it so it would be similar to the tomato-chocolate cake recipe from one of my favorite children’s books Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. In this story, a young girl visits her grandmother’s farm and is frightened by the loud thunder that she hears at the beginning of an oncoming midwest thunderstorm. She hides under the bed in fear, until her grandmother coaxes her out by the promise of baking a delicious chocolate cake. She sends the child around the farm to collect all the ingredients, and she has to count the seconds between thunder and lightning to make sure she’ll get home before the storm really hits. They bake the cake and get to eat it just as the rain starts pouring down outside their cozy farmhouse. It is a very sweet story with a sweet ending – the recipe is included in the back of the book! The secret ingredient in this cake is the tomato puree that they put into it, and I used to make this cake when I was growing up all the time (along with the Lightnight Cake from Joy of Cooking). Last year, I simply veganized it, but this year wanted to make it gluten-free as well.

Unlike many gluten-free desserts, these came out light and fluffy and you couldn’t even tell they were gluten-free. I think this had a lot to do with the tapioca flour, which I’ll be using more since I liked the outcome so much! The cakes were decidedly chocolatey and you couldn’t really taste the tomato in the batter – next time I might work on this a little bit, to see if I can get the flavor to come out a little more. The tomato paste in the frosting has a stronger taste, but it’s sweet and combines with the cream cheese nicely (bagels with cream cheese and tomatoes on top are delicious, why not in frosting form?). The idea of tomato paste in the frosting seems to put everyone off from them before they taste it, but after the first bite they are addicted – I think everyone ate at least two of these little cupcake poppers!

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Tomato Cupcake Ingredients:
2 large ripe red tomatoes
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Tomato Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
3 oz. Tofutti cream cheese
1 Tblsp. Earth Balance margarine
3 Tblsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Cherry Tomatoes on Foodista

Preheat oven to 350*F and line muffin tray with cupcake liners, or grease the pan well.
Blend your tomatoes in a blender or food processor. You only need 1 cup of this tomato puree, so you can measure that out and set aside.
In a measuring cup, combine almond milk and vinegar. Set aside to curdle for a few minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of tomato puree, canola oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed to make sure the sugar is thoroughly combined. Add the almond milk/vinegar mixture and stir in.
In a medium bowl, combine all the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift this dry mix into your wet mix. Mix on medium-high for about 2 minutes. It’s important to mix really well and you don’t have to worry about over-mixing because there is no gluten.
Fill cupcake tins a little over three-quarters full. These won’t rise as much as traditional cupcakes so you can fill them a little more than usual.
If you use a regular muffin tin, then bake for 20-23 minutes. If you used a mini muffin pan, bake for 10-13 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted through the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and margarine together with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Add the tomato paste and continue beating. You can add more or less tomato paste, depending on your flavor preference. Add the confectioner’s sugar into the bowl a quarter cup at a time, beating well in between each addition. When smooth, you can spread the frosting onto the tops of your cupcakes. I topped mine with some cherry tomato stems.

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Rich Chocolate Almond Cupcakes

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I meant to post this recipe a few days ago, right after my visit with VegNews. Unfortunately, I got a 24-hour flu-type illness and was wiped out for a few days, and I couldn’t look at my computer screen for very long or even think about food (can you believe it? I couldn’t think about baking? Clearly, something was very wrong with me!). But never fear, I’m back on the health-track, and able to post this amazing dark chocolate recipe for you now. Sorry for the delay!

So, to get on with it, on Thursday, I had lunch with the VegNews staff, and I made them White Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes and these Rich Chocolate Almond Cupcakes. I know bringing two kinds of decadent and fancy flavored desserts was a little excessive, but I get so much pleasure from the process of baking and creating art through food, and I enjoy watching others get pleasure out of eating my creations, that really it was quite self-serving to bring them both sets of cupcakes. And I ate quite a lot of them myself throughout the process. On Friday I was jittery the whole day from so much sugar, and of course I decided to make ice cream to take to a friend’s house for dinner, so with all that added sweetness I was downright hyper and even shaky – and I realized that I’m going to have to figure out a way to limit my own dessert consumption from now on (or maybe my body decided for me, by getting sick on Saturday night??). But, I sure do love baking. And imagining beautiful cupcakes!

This one was quite a feat for the taste buds. It has a moist and fluffy Chocolate Almond Cake base, flecked with almond meal that gives the airy cake just a little bit of extra texture, then covered with a thin layer of Almond Marzipan, and finally topped with a heavy swirl of Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. And, I couldn’t resist plopping a Dark Chocolate Decoration into the top of each swirl, for extra flair. So simply put, I present to you perhaps the most rich and decadent cupcake I have made yet. I hope you find a real chocolate lover, and that they enjoy this recipe to the max!

Note: This makes a double recipe (24 regular sized cupcakes)

Ingredients:
2 cups almond milk
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup almond meal
4 Tblsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 tsp. almond extract
16 oz. Almond Marzipan, rolled evenly 1//8 inch thick, and cut into 24 circles the size of a cupcake-top (I used the rim of a wine glass)

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Rich Chocolate Almond Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2-3/4 cup cocoa powder, to taste
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup almond milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.
Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside a few minutes to get good and curdled.
Beat together the almond milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, almond meal, cocoa, 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. If you are planning to top the cupcakes with Marzipan, you would place the marzipan layer on top of each cupcake just after you take the cake out of the baking pan – you want to do it while the cakes are still slightly warm so that the marzipan can melt slightly onto it and stick.marzipan before&afterFor the frosting, cream together the shortening and margarine until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and cocoa powder, alternating with almond milk, and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the extracts and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy. This is a very thick and heavy frosting; If you want it to be a bit lighter, try adding a bit more almond milk, in 1/2 teaspoon increments. Pipe or spread on top of the marzipan layer (or plain cupcakes). Top with a Dark Chocolate Decoration (recipe below).Dark Chocolate DecorationsTo make the Dark Chocolate Decorations, finely chop a bar of your favorite chocolate. Place these pieces into the top section of a double boiler, and heat on the stove over a high flame. When the water is boiling, turn the burner off. Stir chocolate gently until it is completely melted and smooth. Have a piece of parchment or waxed paper prepared, sitting on top of a flat cookie sheet. Using a spoon, drizzle your melted chocolate over the paper in different directions, making sure to criss-cross your lines so that the chocolate will stick together*. It is okay to have different sized lines or globs even, and drips are fine too. This is not time to be a perfectionist! When you’ve exhausted your chocolate supply, stick your pan into the fridge for a few hours until chocolate is completely hardened. Take it out, peel away from the paper, and break into smaller pieces that you can decorate cupcakes or cakes with. These can be stored in your refrigerator in a tightly covered container for a few weeks, or re-melted down to create other shapes or serve other baking needs.

*If you are really brave, and up for a challenge, you can spoon your melted chocolate into a plastic ziploc bag and cut a tiny hole out of one of the bottom corners. Use this to pipe designs or patterns onto your paper so you end up with the exact shapes you want. This can be very elegant.

White Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes

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I made these cupcakes for my visit to the VegNews headquarters, and wanted to bring them something that I knew would work – that meant that I wanted it to be something I had made before, and something that was exciting and fun. I had a couple bars of vegan white chocolate that I brought back from my recent trip to Holland, and thought that I could introduce that into this recipe that I made before to make it a little more unusual. The white chocolate and champagne flavors worked very well together and this was definitely a winning combination that I’m going to have to replicate in the future.

This is a very celebratory cupcake flavor, and is delightfully light and fluffy, as well as being rich and intoxicating at the same time! The champagne gives the frosting a nice airy texture, which plays well with the idea of “bubbles” in the drink. I do believe that if you ate enough of the frosting, you could get a nice buzz going, but with the amount that you consume in a cupcake or two, I think it’s a non-issue. It would be easy to play around with this recipe and make a pink champagne cupcake (add some strawberries to the ganache filling? Use pink champagne in the frosting and get a nice pink tint?) and I made them once before with a dark chocolate ganache in the center of the cakes, which made them very elegant looking. I recommend this recipe for any type of celebratory event, or even if you just want to play around with new flavors. It’s very yummy, and I believe you’ll make lots of new friends if you give them these sweet cakes!

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Ingredients:
1 Tblsp. almond milk
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 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 Tblps. champagne (you can use any type of champagne, even pink champagne! I find that a heavier, drier champagne like Brute will convey it’s flavor better through baking, so that is what I used)

White Chocolate Ganache:
3 oz. bar of vegan white chocolate, chopped finely
1/4 cup almond milk

Champagne Frosting Ingredients:
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
6 Tblsp. champagne, any type
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tblsp. cornstarch

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup 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. Add the champagne and lightly to try to retain some of the fizzy bubbles. 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 Ganache and Frosting (recipes below). When cupcakes are completely cool, cut a cone out of the center of each cake, and remove tops. This is where you will spoon in your White Chocolate Ganache, or if you choose not to make the ganache then you can also use this method and pipe extra Champagne Frosting into the center of the cupcake, replace the cake top, and pipe more frosting on top. Both methods are beautiful and extremely tasty.

To make the White Chocolate Ganache, simply put your chopped white chocolate and almond milk into the top section of a double boiler and heat over the stove. When the water in the bottom is boiling, turn the temperature down and stir chocolate rapidly until it is completely melted and the ganache has a smooth consistency. Remove from heat and let cool (but not harden) before spooning into cupcakes. Put about 1 tsp. of ganache into each cupcake, and replace cupcake tops – some ganache may squeeze out, and this adds a pretty effect (if too much comes out, you can wipe it off with a clean finger or paper towel; it’s white so any smudges won’t show up!).

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For the Champagne Frosting, cream together the shortening and margarine until well combined and fluffy. Add in the sugar, alternating with champagne, and beat for about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cornstarch, and beat for another 30 seconds, or until fluffy. Pipe onto the tops of your already-filled cupcakes.

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Lunch with VegNews!

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Yesterday I got to do something out of the ordinary and very fun! A friend has a connection at VegNews, and he arranged for me to have lunch with them at their headquarters. In preparation for this adventure, I thought and thought about what kinds of cupcakes to bring them. To be honored with a lunch at VegNews called for something really special, and something I knew would come out well. After much deliberation, I decided to make both White Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes and Rich Chocolate Almond Cupcakes. It felt very celebratory. I will post the recipes and some more pictures of these sinfully delicious cupcakes soon.VegNews staff even wrote about my cupcakes on one of their blogs!

*Edit: I have now posted the recipe for the Champagne Cupcakes here, and the Rich Chocolate Almond Cupcake recipe here. Enjoy!*

On our way to San Francisco, Julie did a miraculous job keeping the cupcakes safe while I drove over the Bay Bridge. Those little cakes braved lots of roadbumps and traffic, but safe on Julie’s lap in the car they were fine by the time we got to our destination. Julie’s thighs were frozen from our need to blast the air conditioning during the whole ride to keep the chocolate on top of the cupcakes from melting, but I suppose there’s always some collateral damage, right?

Everyone we met at VegNews was very sweet and incredibly inviting into their workspace. It was very interesting to see where all the magic happens; although honestly I have to say the best part of seeing their headquarters was seeing that they have a fully-stocked kitchen in the back where they cook lunch for each other every day! They had spices galore and a full fridge and to see that much care taken of their staff was great. I think it’s so important that for a group of people whose jobs center around food and food-oriented living all the time, that cooking also plays a big role for them daily. The yellow curry that Charlotte cooked for us was really delicious and fresh-tasting, and the conversation around the table was lively and fun. It seems like it would be a really nice place to work, and it is definitely a welcoming and fun place to visit! I hope I can join them for lunch again, and judging from the reception of my cupcakes, I think I’d be welcomed back!

We were also joined for lunch there by Laura Beck, who had made an amazing Caramalized Banana Ice Cream, which was so creamy and rich that I was soon over my head in a sugar-induced coma. She is very experienced in making ice cream, and we bonded over this. In this case, she used MimicCreme as her ice cream base, which I’ve been very excited about because it is made from almonds and cashews and is totally soy-free! I need to go buy myself some to make ice cream with! Thanks for the tip, Laura!

Mint Chocolate Cupcake Heaven

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I’m a little behind on my posts! I baked these cupcakes last week with my friend Sonja’s darling niece, Ava, who is 4 years old. Her grandma, Linda, was taking care of her and her little brother Julian, and I got to go over and have a little fun with Ava while Linda and J had some down time. I knew Ava loves chocolate, so I originally suggested that we make Cookies ‘n Creme Cupcakes, which I thought would be a hit since she’d get to crush up cookies – and what’s better than cookies and cupcakes together? Well…Ava had other ideas! She was not thrilled with my idea but was dead set on a mint-chocolate combination. Good thing her “Auntie Sonie” loves mint and chocolate together too, and happened to have left some mint extract in the cupboard for us to use!

So we decided to make a chocolate cupcake base, with mint buttercream frosting on top, and then a dark chocolate ganache on top of that. And of course Ava requested that we add lots and lots of sprinkles on top! We used the Mint Chocolate Cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. We had such a great time together, measuring ingredients and pouring them in, mixing them together, and of course tasting the batter at every stage! It was pretty hilarious; about every 30 seconds, Ava would look slyly at the spoon I’d been mixing with, or the spatula, or the electic mixer attatchments, and say “Don’t you think it’s time to clean that now?” and then proceed to lick it clean! She’s spunky and cute as a button, and thus is very hard to resist. She probably consumed at least a cupcake’s worth of batter and frosting before they were even baked (clearly, we are kindred spirits).

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It was very difficult to wait while the cupcakes baked, and then cooled, because we were so excited to put frosting and sprinkles on, and then eat them! I piped the frosting on, and put a dollop of chocolate ganache on top, and then Ava decorated each one very carefully with many colors of sprinkles. It was interesting to watch Ava and her brother J eat their cupcakes. While Ava was happy as a clam, carefully peeling her wrapper off, licking the frosting off the top, and then eating the cake by itself, her brother was not as polite! J was thrilled about the idea of cupcakes; when he woke up from his nap and saw what we were decorating, he was beside himself with excitement. His little 2 year old body was literally shaking! He held his cupcake with one hand and very very very carefully and slowly ate the frosting off the top just using one finger. And as soon as he finished the frosting, he held the cake up and said “Want More Cupcake!”, and pointed to the rest of the cupcakes that I was finishing decorating on the other side of the counter. After we explained to him that he still had a cupcake in his hand, he continued to yell for more cupcakes and then smashed his cake onto the counter and smooshed it with his little hands! I’ve never had quite that reception to my baked goods before. Clearly, the frosting was quite a hit!

I found that, like all the other cupcakes I’ve made from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, these were fluffy and moist and delicious. The icing was great too; perfectly creamy and minty, without getting to that toothpaste-mint-stage. And the dark chocolate ganache on top certainly made this cupcake a bit more “adult” and balanced out the sweet frosting (but clearly was still popular with the children!). I would love to see how this recipe bakes as a larger cake some time.

Cupcakes & Cocktails: White Russian and Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes

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My friends had a slammin’ party last weekend, and requested some home-baked desserts. Of course I complied, and even took some flavor requests. First, Julie wanted White Russian Cupcakes. Sure, no problem! Then, we realized there would be a lot of people attending this party; more than would eat just one batch of cupcakes. And baking a double batch might get boring, so I wanted another cupcake flavor to make as well…We thought something still cocktail themed, yet different. It would have to be something fruity, lighter than a White Russian, so that each would stand out on it’s own. The Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcake was born.

I have to admit, both cupcakes were superb. The White Russian was creamy and nearly melted in your mouth. The cupcake itself had Kahlua baked into it, and we soaked the top with a mixture of Kahlua and vodka so it would have the intense flavor of both in each bite. Because of this soaking, the cupcake was incredibly moist – lending it’s texture to that of a drink, but not too soggy. The frosting had to be creamy and rich, so I made a thin cream cheese frosting that had both Kahlua and vodka in it as well. It tasted just like a White Russian, which was one of the drinks being served at the party (along with Blueberry White Russians, which were amazing! I was inspired by them – perhaps it will be my next cocktail cupcake flavor? I’ve been making lots of blueberry treats so it would fit perfectly).

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The Strawberry Daiquiri Cupake was made with a rum-flavored cake, with a cone cut out of the center of the top after baking. We filled this hole with sliced strawberries, topped them with a blend of Daiquiri ingredients (strawberries, lime, confectioner’s sugar, light rum) that I threw together, and then placed the cupcake cone-tops back on. A slice of strawberry on top of each “cone hat” was a cute decoration.

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To make the baking of these cupcakes easier, I cheated a little and used the same starting recipe for the cupcake batter itself, so I could bake them at the same time. The recipes are the same except each has a different alcohol in it for a liquid, and different extracts added to the batterat the end. Essentially I made a Kahlua Cupcake and a Rum Cupcake, and then the fillings and toppings for each made them into their unique cocktails.

White Russian Cupcake:

Kahlua Cupcake Ingredients:
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup Kahlua
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Topping:
1/3 cup Kahlua
1/8-1/4 cup vodka

Creamy White Russian Icing:
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1/2 cup Tofutti cream cheese
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 Tblsp. Kahlua
2 Tblsp. vodka

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the non-dairy milk of your choice and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled. Beat together the milk mixture, Kahlua, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full, and bake for 20-22 minutes. Let sit in the cupcake tin for 5 minutes so cakes can get firm and set. Then, take them out and set cupcakes on a cookie sheet or a cooling rack that has a paper below it to catch any drips from the topping.

To add the topping, combine the 1/3 cup of Kahlua and 1/8 cup of vodka in a small bowl. Prick the tops of the still-warm cupcakes with a fork. Make sure to prick them deeply. Carefully pour your Kahlua/vodka mixture on top of the cupcakes, so that it drips into the holes you made. Let sit till cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Cream Earth Balance and cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, half a cup at a time, until well-incorporated. Add Kahlua and vodka and mix until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Taste, and add more alcohol if you like. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcake:

Rum Cupcake Ingredients:
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup light rum
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. rum extract

Strawberry Daiquiri Filling Ingredients:
1/2 cup chopped ripe fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
2 Tblsp. light rum
2 Tblsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the non-dairy milk of your choice and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled. Beat together the milk mixture, rum, oil, sugar, lime juice, vanilla, and rum in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full, and bake for 20-22 minutes. Let sit in the cupcake tin for 5 minutes so cakes can get firm and set. Then, take them out and set cupcakes on a rack to cool completely before filling.

To make the filling, chop 1/2 cup fresh strawberries. Set aside. Combine the other cup of fresh or frozen strawberries, light rum, lime juice, and confectioner’s sugar in a blender. Blend till smooth. This is essentially a Strawberry Daiquiri…When cupcakes are completely cool, cut a cone out of the top of each one with a sharp knife. Take the tops off, and put a few slices of strawberry at the bottom of each one. Carefully spoon your Daiquiri ingredients into each cupcake, so that the holes are filled to the top. Gently press the cupcake top back onto the cupcake, and garnish with a slice of fresh strawberry.

Speculaas Cupcakes

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Speculaas is this amazing Dutch dessert…It’s actually 3 different products, or perhaps more, I don’t really know the extent of it’s amazingness. What I was introduced to though is first, the Speculaas cookie. It’s sort of like a graham cracker, in that it is not too sweet and it’s cinnamony. It is a bit more buttery (although you can find vegan ones in supermarkets easily!), is harder (like a thin, crunchy, shortbread cookie biscuit), and is stamped with ornate molds on the tops, so they are very pretty and always different depending where you get them.

They sell them prepackaged in stores or also you can get them at bakeries, in different small or very large sizes. Dutch people (and also Belgian, because I saw them in Brussels…Although in Belgium you call them Speculoos, not Speculaas) eat them with tea for breakfast. Yum. Apparently you can also get them in the States but they are called Dutch Windmill Cookies (and, I’m not sure that those are vegan).

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Speculaas have a very specific spice mix that adds to the flavor. It is a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, coriander, and sometimes white pepper. And the secret ingredient is orange rind! Yummy. They taste like Fall to me. You can buy this spice mix in the spice section of the grocery store here, if you wanted to bake your own Speculaas cookies…Or make cupcakes with it, as we did! I think I’ll have to create my own spice mix back in the States because it is really delicious and then I can eat Speculaas all the time!

Continue reading ‘Speculaas Cupcakes’


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