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Mimosa cupcakes

Cupcakes — flour + sugar + oil — make everything more fun.

It’s the cupcake property of mathematics: fun + cupcakes = more fun.

Mimosas — champagne + orange juice — also make life more fun.

Ipso facto, mimosa cupcakes — champagne icing + orange cake — make life doubly more fun.

I came across I am Baker’s Champagne buttercream in my RSS Reader over the weekend, and thought I needed to top something with it for the brunch I attended on Sunday. In different company, I might have brought actual champagne and orange juice, but baked goods seemed more appropriate with this crowd.

Of course, since three of the crowd were human beings of the wee sort, alcohol in any form was probably not the best choice, even in very small amount, suspended in fat and sugar.

It’s a very good thing I have cats and not kids. I would have belligerent children.

Mimosa cupcakes are easy enough to make: 1 recipe VCTOTW Golden Vanilla Cupcakes, with orange extract for the additional extract with a tsp or so of orange zest and a couple of drops of food coloring (optional), and about half a batch of Champagne buttercream, with Earth Balance instead of butter. I iced them with a pastry bag outfitted with a 352 tip and added some clear sprinkles — probably not vegan, but I have them in my pantry from before I knew about the whole sugar not being vegan thing.

As I am Baker mentions, this only takes 3 TBS of champagne, so use a champagne that you’re cool with finishing. While drunk baking is fun, if you don’t feel like downing a bottle of champagne, you can use a white wine, like The Vegan Vine’s sauvignon blanc. (That’s actually what I did.)

Cheers!

Chocolate chip cookie dough-filled chocolate cake

If you are looking for a decadent dessert idea, gaze no further than this chocolate chip cookie dough-filled chocolate cake topped with velvety ganache.

Yes, this is the most disgustingly indulgent recipe that Vegtastic has ever shared. You will probably get diabetes if you eat this daily.

The idea hit me after eating a chocolate-covered vegan cookie dough truffle at Whole Foods: why not fill a chocolate cake with a layer of cookie dough?

Unlike cookie dough made with raw eggs, vegan cookie dough won’t land you a cameo on Food Safety News. You could make your own vegan cookie dough, though I’m a fan of Eat Pastry’s pre-made stuff, also available at Whole Foods.

The chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World makes the richest 6″ cake I’ve tasted in recent memory, and 6″ of chocolate chip cookie dough-filled chocolate cake topped with ganache is really all you’ll need for a small army or hungry office.

Chocolate-chip cookie dough filled chocolate cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe chocolate cupcake batter from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
  • 1/2 cup cookie dough, like Eat Pastry’s, softened
  • 1 recipe chocolate ganache from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Instructions:

  1. Prepare cupcake batter according to instructions and pour into 2 greased 6″ pans. Bake at the temperature suggested by the recipe for 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  2. Cool layers on a wire rack. When cool, spread cookie dough onto one cake layer. Top with the other layer.
  3. Drizzle spread ganache over top of cake and allow to drizzle down sides.

Serve with a side of cold vanilla soy milk and an insulin shot.

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch cupcakes

These are Chloe Coscarelli’s Vegan Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes, minus the strawberries, because strawberries are not in season right now. Lisa shared the recipe after seeing it in Sunset, and I’ve been meaning to make it for months.

Instead of fresh fruit, I borrowed Ty at Cameraphone Vegan’s peppermint crunch cake idea and added 4 crushed candy canes. Yum.

The frosting in my bag ran out just before getting to the last cupcake, so I scraped the bits clinging to the bowl and piled that mess onto the lone unfrosted cuppie. See if you can pick out which one that is — maybe asking that is giving my piping skills too much credit, heh.

Rainbow unicorn cupcakes

Not so legal disclaimer: these cupcakes contain a lot of food coloring. I don’t typically use much food coloring because it is probably carcinogenic, but it was the perfect medium to fulfill this particular (though not especially unique) culinary — nay, artistic — vision.

A PPK forum says that Wilton food coloring is vegan, so I went ahead with baking them, though I read yesterday on Your Daily Vegan that food dyes are tested on animals; YDV gives coloring alternatives for those who don’t want the toxicity or cruelty of artificial colors.

The sparkling white sugar sprinkles I used are almost definitely not vegan, but I’ve had these sprinkles for years, and the folks I baked these cupcakes for don’t care or know the difference.

Okay, here’s the post. Conclude explanation of potential non-vegan-ness.

***

To say that my ultimate frisbee team has a losing streak is like saying factory farms are bad — definitely true, but also quite an understatement. They let me on the roster, after all.

The last game we won was against a team playing down a player — and even that was a close score.

During halftime of one such losing game, Anna, a spunky Brit with a quick, quirky sense of humor, stated that we were no longer Tsunami: we were the Unicorns. And unicorns don’t lose.

We still lost, but silly as the premise was, we definitely played better as unicorns than as Tsunami. [Maybe it's karma? (The team has had the name for years)]

To pump us up before our game this past weekend, I made unicorn cupcakes. They originally had fondant horns, but these soft frosting didn’t hold them upright, and then the fondant started to droop, and they just looked kinda, ummm, inappropriate. But the rainbow still makes them unicorny.

When I was a kid, my mom told me that food coloring would dye your insides. If there’s any truth to that, these cupcakes will turn your stomach lining the color of Capitol Hill during Pride.

Also, any kindergartener will tell you that my rainbow cupcakes aren’t truly ROY G BIV — there isn’t an orange layer. Or an indigo one. It’s best to keep it simple.

Start with the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes from VCTOTW (with lemon extract)

Divide into 5 bowls and add food coloring to each.

Red

Yellow

Green

Blue

Purple

Add VCTOTW’s fluffy buttercream (with coconut extract)

And… magic.


If you don’t want to tie-dye your insides quite as much (but still want all the unicorn magic), Kelly at Vegan Cookie Connoisseur made a rainbow unicorn cake with rootbeer-flavored layers!

Cupcake essentials

Back in the day, I started following Bing on Facebook because I had an interview for a social-media-related position with that team. I didn’t get the job, but still follow Bing’s page because the folks managing it actually share interesting stuff.

Yesterday, Bing posted a list of must-haves for perfect cupcakes.

Now, I bake a lot of cupcakes, and I don’t use half the crap on that list. I’m by no means a master baker, but I do win friends with my baked goods. Here are my essentials.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: other vegan baking books have cupcake recipes, and you can always look online or veganize something from Betty Crocker, but this book is really the vegan cupcake bible; if I ever have to swear some sort of vegan cupcake oath, I will place my hand on Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

A pastry bag and a few tips: Cupcake presentation is all in the frosting. The cupcakes of the bake sales and birthday parties of your youth may have been all about the spooned-on globs of frosting, someone’s mom trying to finish up a banal project as quickly as possible so that she could open a bottle of wine to forget about her wasted potential, but that won’t fly. Today it’s all about being Martha F*cking Stewart. You need a real pastry bag and a few nice tips, like a 1M for fluffy grocery-store style cones, a #1-3 for writing, a #104 and #190 for making roses, or other fancy options.

Also, you need to make your own frosting. The Pillsbury or whatever varieties are tasty enough (and many are actually vegan), but they’re full of all sorts of unhealthy stuff. I mean, cupcakes are technically “unhealthy,” but the crap in store-bought frosting is really bad for you. Transfats and preservatives– ick. So, you will want to whip up a batch from non-hydrogenated shortening and buttery sticks and the vegan powdered sugar you get at Whole Foods.

A couple of sturdy mixing bowls: I’ve heard people to say that you need a stand mixer to make light, fluffy frosting. Pshaw. My grandmother cooked for a living and never used anything other than elbow grease and a spoon. You think folks didn’t make cake before we had electricity? Nope — a sturdy bowl (glass or thick recycled plastic) and an ol’ fashioned work ethic is all it takes.

A whisk: Lumps in the batter? Yup, you’re gonna get ‘em, but you don’t want to over mix. A whisk is mighty handy when combining liquids and powder.

A large spoon: You’re going to be gripping it pretty tightly, so you want a spoon with a thick handle that won’t cut into your hands when beating frosting. Bamboo spoons work well for this purpose.

A sifter: Lumps in the batter are easy enough to get out, but lumps in frosting are a whole ‘nother animal. Sift your powdered sugar for smooth, decadent icing.

A cupcake tin: You don’t need anything fancy or flexible or teflon coated — search at Value Village or Goodwill before buying one at the grocery store. Use unbleached, eco-friendly liners when possible — cute and colorful liners are tacky anyhow.

A spatula: Essential for scraping the last bit of batter or frosting from the bowl and into the liners and/or your mouth.

A collapsible cupcake carrier: I did the “transporting cupcakes in a box” thing for a while, which failed because a) boxes are awkward to carry for long distances (it’s a 1.75 mile walk to my work) and b) I rarely have a good box lying around. A collapsible cupcake carrier like this one doubles as a cake carrier, has a handle for easy transportation, and collapses for apartment kitchen storage.

image by veganheathen via Creative Commons

Vegan cupcakes: lemon, coconut and gluten-free chocolate

I have two BBQs and a birthday party to attend today. [I'm not used to being this social.]

So, I baked cupcakes. All recipes are from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

One batch of the book’s Fluffy Buttercream Frosting produced enough to top 36 cupcakes (errr, 34 — David and I each ate one un-iced). I mixed up everything for a single batch except for the extract, then divided it into thirds and added extracts, food coloring, and additional ingredients accordingly. (Since the recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, it ends up being 1/2 tsp extract per 1/3 of the recipe).

Coconut

Start with the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes. Sub out 1 tsp of the vanilla for coconut extract. Adding some shredded coconut to the batter would probably be nice, but I didn’t do so. Sub out half of the vanilla extract in the 1/3 batch of frosting for coconut extract (1/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp) and add a couple tablespoons shredded coconut. Frost with a 1M tip.

Lemon

Start with the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes. Add a lemon zest (≈1/2 a lemon) to the batter and sub out 1 tsp of the vanilla for lemon extract. Sub out half of the vanilla extract in 1/3 batch of frosting for lemon extract (1/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp) and add the zest of the other half of the lemon and a couple drops of yellow food coloring. Frost with a #21 tip.

Gluten-free chocolate


The batter tastes strongly of flax, but baked these cupcakes turn out marvelously; not to be cliche or anything, but they are so moist and tender that I really can’t tell that they are gluten-free.

I needed to sub garbanzo bean flour for the quinoa flour Isa+Terry recommend, though the result is still delicious. Something to note: tapioca flour (as called for in the recipe) is the same as tapioca starch. I prepared the frosting following the directions 100% and added food coloring to get a green color, then striped my pastry bag with blue food coloring for the contrast. Frost with a 1 M tip.

Green and blue are my frisbee team’s colors (BBQ #2); since I’m terrible at frisbee, I wanted to show them that I’m at least good at something — baking.

Vegan chocolate raspberry petit fours

Three words: chocolate raspberry ganache. Make that four words: vegan chocolate raspberry ganache.

These make an incredibly rich and decadent dessert for a party or other special occasion– maybe a New Years’ Eve party? (more…)

The only turkey I will be eating today

Happy Thanksgiving!

With great power comes great responsibility.

The title is most notably a quote from the Spiderman movie, but it also applies to cake: the power to create something delicious with the responsibility not to eat it all in one sitting.

I’m taking some cake decorating classes at South Seattle Community College, and offered/begged to bake a cake for David’s nephew’s 6th birthday, with the above being the result. The kid is allergic to both eggs and dairy, making vegan baking not just a crazy indulgence for his future aunt but also a requirement for his health.

The cake itself is the chocolate cake from The Joy of Vegan Baking (essentially a wacky cake), doubled, with raspberry-apricot filling (i.e., jam) and a frosting made from 1 cup shortening, 2 sticks Earth Balance, some vanilla extract, 2 pounds of powdered sugar, and 1/4 water; I had quite a bit of frosting left over with this cake, but it’s a good all-purpose “buttercream.”

More cake posts certainly to come.

Cinnamon apple cake with maple frosting

May is the best month to bake apple cake.

This statement may sound odd considering that apple season peaks in September/October/November. In those months, you buy fresh apples from the farmers market or grocery store, rinse them off, and eat them straight– crisp and juicy at the end of summer, mealy and cloyingly sweet the closer you get to the new year.

By May, apples are long-forgotten reminders of autumn that appear out of nowhere in the refrigerator during spring cleaning. Like Betty White, these refrigerator apples are shriveled and old, yet some not-to-be-overlooked spark remains. You certainly wouldn’t want to eat them as is, yet you can’t bring yourself to toss them. So what do you do?

Bake an apple cake.

David’s birthday is in the middle of May, and having several of these Golden Girl apples on hand, I decided to bake him an apple cake with maple frosting– a winning combination, in a Vermont-y sort of way. Many apple cake recipes produce dense loaves of glorified bread, but I wanted a lighter, layered, birthday cake-type of cake. I found a basic recipe on Country Living, and modified it to fit the confection in my head. (more…)

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