Monday, July 02, 2007

vegan cupcakes take over the world!

gorgeous, yes?

yesterday i attended my first toddler birthday party, something me and my silver filled mouth would have avoided like the dentist during my pre-breeding days. however, after being marooned at home all day, every day, for the past four plus months with the one-way-street-known-as-baby, the thought of frolicking with those screeching little baboons and their harried, exhausted, anemic mothers, suddenly seemed like fun. that is how far i've fallen. it didn't hurt that the proud papa of the birthday baboon lured me over with promises of a virgin bottle of makers mark. a promise he made good on, i (and my throbbing head) might mention. i suspect that many a parent snuck into the liquor cabinet for a bit of courage to help them through that afternoon.

wailers, screechers, territorial pissers, chest-thumpers, nose-pickers, even a furtive masturbator were present. gazing out at the scene through my amber filled glass of bravado, i could not help but note that we truly do share much in common with our simian brethren. i also could not help but note that perhaps the worst is yet to come. you see, worm and i have entered into a honeymoon phase of sorts. she can hold her own head up, make eye contact, grasp things in her fat little fingers and make hideous pre-speech croakings in the scratchy voice of a wizened old drunken hooker. it doesn't hurt that i've also almost forgotten what life before was like, and that i'm resigned to the fact that i will never, ever, never again get a good, long, uninterrupted nights sleep. so i guess things are good. the neck cheese is being held in check with daily harvestings. and most importantly she can not yet locomote or talk back. ah the salad days.

so for the two-year old baboon's birthday i made cupcakes. 96. all vegan. i thought it a good opportunity to test out some recipes from vegan cupcakes take over the world without being obligated to eat more than a few dozen. pictured here are the banana split and mint chocolate cupcakes. i also made fauxstess cupcakes (with a mocha buttercream frosting in place of the ganache), a raspberry filled vanilla cupcake topped with buttercream frosting and a fresh raspberry (very pretty), and a plain chocolate batch.

everyone liked them. the parents of those with dairy and nut allergies appreciated the un-nutty vegan-ness of it all, the other adults were surprised that vegan could taste good, and the screeching baboons appreciated the mounds of frosting with which they painted their faces, sculpted their hair, and hid in their pockets (remind me to never buy toddler clothes with pockets - it's just asking for trouble).

my favorite was the chocolate mint cupcakes. chocolate and mint go so well together, and the green frosting is fun. however, i must admit that i used the fauxstess cupcake base to which i added mint extract instead of the chocolate cupcake recipe in the book. although the banana split cupcake was pretty, i found the cake itself to be quite dense, almost muffin-like, but this is often an issue with vegan baked goods. i also omitted the chocolate and preserves swirl opting instead for a more classic banana flavor.

if you're vegan and jonesing for cupcakes, i recommend picking up a copy of this book. there are some interesting flavors (chai or margarita cupcakes anyone?), excellent buttercream recipes, and lots of fun decorating ideas. also be on the lookout for isa and terry's next cookbook, veganomicon: the ultimate vegan cookbook.

chocolate mint cupcakes

the cupcake:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons black cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain rice or soymilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

preheat the oven to 350 and line a 12-muffin tin with paper cupcake liners. spray with the liners with canola spray to prevent sticking. sift together the flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda and salt. in another bowl combine the rice milk, oil, maple syrup, sugar, vinegar and vanilla. beat at medium speed for about two minues. add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat for about another minute to combine. fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full and bake for about 25-30 minutes. remove from oven and allow to fully cool.

mint icing:
1/4 cup non hydrogenated shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon soy creamer or soymilk
1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 drop green food coloring

cream the shortening for a few minutes until soft. this is easiest using a stand mixer but can be done with a handheld mixer (or a fork) as long as the shortening is at room temperature. add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and a few splashes of the soycreamer. mix to incorporate and continue to alternate until all the powdered sugar is used up and the frosting is at the desired consistency. add vanilla and mint.

ganache (you may want to halve or third this amount, depending on how much you want to use):
3 Tablespoons soycreamer or soymilk
1/3 semisweet chocolate chips

melt chocolate and soycreamer on top of a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth and runny; be careful not to burn or the chocolate will seize up and become bitter.

to assemble:
use a piping bag with a large star tip to frost cupcakes. place a dollop of ganach on top. you could alternately decorate with1/2 a newman mint-o cookie or even a sprig of fresh mint.

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