Sunday, March 6, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes and an Icing Crisis

As promised, here are the photos of our vegan (and gluten-free and refined sugar-free) chocolate cupcakes!

Vegan icing attempt #2!! (Attempt #1 already thrown in the trash)
Okay seriously? What the heck, vegan icing! Soo much wasted time and money!
Both recipes called for a basis of coconut oil, which I believe was at the root of the problem. It's solid at room temperature, but not completely smooth unless melted, which accounts for the chunky texture.
Despite it's unique appearance, we ventured on. Voila! A vegan chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing! Please note the mysterious drip oozing out of the icing. Weird, right? As I mentioned previously, the chocolate cakes were delicious, but that dang icing... We tried two different recipes, and both times we ended up with an icing that resembled overly sweet cottage cheese. What is the secret to vegan icing? If you happen to know the answer to that question, please humor me and tell me what on earth we did wrong! Both icing attempts yielded extraordinarily unfortunate results. Boo!
So into the garbage went vegan icing #2. We didn't want to leave our little cakes undressed, so we did the only thing we knew how, which was to make a coconut cream cheese icing instead - an icing that is so filled with un-vegan things that you know it has to be good. Finally an icing that looked white! and smooth! and creamy! All of the things our vegan icing wasn't. Ky said that the chocolate cake and cream cheese icing pairing could have been better. I think he was hoping for a billowy white vanilla frosting, which I agree would have been ideal. However, I feel like I could eat cream cheese icing out of a cereal bowl for breakfast and be set for life, so I thought the combo was sweet (so to speak).
To finish, just for fun, we sprinkled the freshly iced cakes with Bob's Organic Unsweetened Coconut flakes. Oh yes!
This project was certainly a learning experience. Come to think of it, I'm not sure why for a first real attempt at baking gluten-free and vegan, I decided to combine the two experiences into one. I like a good challenge or something (this a cliche, and a bit of a lie, I'm just trying I think of a reason for my decision). You know, for now, I'm going to stick with my familiar friends in the kitchen (butter! sugar! flour! oh my!). They're much better.

Photo's by Kyran Yeomans

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (Gluten- and refined sugar- free)
Adapted from Babycakes by Erin McKenna

These cupcakes were super yummy. Unfortunately, your on your own in terms of icing these guys. I do NOT recommend the vegan icing in the Babycakes cookbook (see above, and previous post!), or that icing that comes from a can (come on, these cakes deserve better, and so does your body!). See what you can come up. You're industrious young people!

1 3/4 cups garbanzo - fava bean flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup arrowroot
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup coconut oil
1 1/3 cup agave nectar
3/4 cup homemade applesauce (or store bought unsweetened)
3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup hot water or coffee

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the four, potato starch, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water to the dry ingredients. Stir until the batter is smooth.
Pour 1/3 cup batter into each prepared cup, almost filling it. Bake the cupcakes on the center rack for 22 minutes, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 15 minutes. The finished cupcakes will bounce back when pressure is applied gently to the center
Let the cupcakes stand in the tins for 20 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread with your favorite icing.

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Note: Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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