Chocolate Chip Mini Cupcakes

chocolate chip cupcakesIt seems that when I bake cupcakes they are always chocolate. It’s kind of the norm. So when I decided to make cupcakes this week, I went in search of a vanilla cupcake recipe. What I found was a recipe for cupcakes with chocolate chips and knew it would be perfect.

To adapt for high altitude I added milk and a little flour. I then reduced baking powder and oil. They were already vegan so that was simple, but I did add more chocolate chips and a drizzle so they wouldn’t seem too un-chocolatey. They weren’t the usual, but they were pretty good.

Chocolate Chip Mini Cupcakes adapted from Vegan Chocolate
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup + 2 tsp almond milk
1/2 cup + 1 TBS all purpose flour
1/2 cup + 1 TBS whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup + 1 tsp organic sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup less 1 tsp canola oil
1 TBS vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini vegan chocolate chips, divided
melted chocolate for decoration
Position a rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 350F. Line a mini cupcake tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and milk. Set aside for 10 minutes to clabber. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to strainer. Stir with a whisk to sift ingredients into bowl. (If any small bits remain in strainer, add them to bowl.) Whisk to aerate the mixture. Whisk oil and vanilla into clabbered milk. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk until batter is smooth. Stir half the chocolate chips into batter.
Divide batter evenly between cups, filling each halfway full. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top of batter, dividing evenly between cups. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Cool tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Lift cupcakes onto rack to cool completely. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Refrigerate cupcakes in a covered container for up to two days. Makes 28-30 mini cupcakes.

Until next time, happy baking!

Strawberry Champagne Celebration Cupcakes

strawberry champagne chocolate cupcakes

strawberry champagne chocolate cupcakes

For my New Year’s Eve Celebration I had to come up with something special. Something chocolate. And champagne. And strawberry. I saw pipette kits for infusing cupcakes with liquid and knew I had my solution. I just had to bring it all together.

My standby chocolate cupcake recipe was the base so I didn’t need to make adjustments there. I added powdered dried strawberries to the frosting to complement the champagne that would be imbued into the cupcakes. I now had a decadent dessert worthy of ringing in the New Year. Happy and Decadent 2017 to all!

Strawberry Champagne Celebration Cupcakes
cupcakes
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup organic sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Navitas Naturals cacao powder
generous 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
frosting
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
3 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 TBS powdered freeze dried strawberries (I used Just Strawberries)
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk
decorations
pipettes
champagne
For Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners. Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add sugar, oil, and vanilla to the milk mixture and beat until foamy.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat just until no large lumps remain. Pour evenly into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
For Frosting: Beat shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat for 3 more minutes. Add dried strawberries, vanilla and milk and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy.
For Decorating: Frost cooled cupcakes. Dip pipettes into champagne and draw some liquid up into the bulbs. Insert pipettes into cupcakes without squeezing; you will squeeze them just before eating.

Until next time, happy baking!

Dead Man’s Party or Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes

dead mans party

Mexican Chocolate Cupcake

The Day of the Dead is a time to honor your loved ones who have passed on, and to have delicious sweets. The sugar skull is an iconic symbol of this holiday, but I’m not an artist so I decorated cupcakes with pictures of sugar skulls. To add to the theme I chose the flavors of Mexican Hot Chocolate for a nod to the holiday’s roots in Mexico.

My standby favorite chocolate cupcake recipe was used here, but I modified the flavors. The frosting was adjusted to add sweet cinnamon. Also, I added chipotle powder for the spiciness. How much you add is up to you – this could be a treat or a trick!

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes
cupcakes
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup organic sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
generous 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 – 3/4 tsp chipotle powder
frosting
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
3 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk
For Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners. Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla to the milk mixture and beat until foamy.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and chipotle powder. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat just until no large lumps remain. Pour evenly into the liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
For Frosting: Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat for 3 more minutes. Add the cinnamon, vanilla and milk and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy.

Until next time, happy baking!

Chocolate-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

chocolate filled chocolate cupcakesToday is all about chocolate with my chocolate-filled chocolate cupcakes. I saw a recipe for chocolate lava cupcakes and figured that who could go wrong with chocolate and more chocolate. Let’s just say my chocoholic hubby was very excited.

The changes I made to the recipe I adapted were extensive because I felt the recipe would make too much batter. I down-sized the measurements and then reduced the baking powder more to account for high altitude. Then I added more liquids for the dryness at altitude. The last big alteration was to omit the frosting because they seemed a bit sugar-laden for my tastes. I saved some filling and used the extra ganache for a nice topping. Yep, hubby was glad to be a taster.

Chocolate-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes adapted from Vegan in the Freezer
For the Cupcake Filling
6 oz semi­sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 TBS powdered sugar
For the Cupcake Batter
1 cup + 1.25 tsp non-dairy milk
1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and then cooled
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1.25 cups + 1 TBS all ­purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1.25 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Melt chocolate for filling. Whisk in milk and powdered sugar. Set aside. In a bowl, start batter by adding milk and apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes to curdle, then add sugar, oil and vanilla. Whisk until well mixed. In another bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until mixed.
Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full with batter. Place a dollop of filling in center of each cupcake, with extra filling reserved for garnish. Do not let filling touch sides of liners. Use remaining batter to fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. Bake for 22-24 minutes. Let cool completely. Drizzle remaining filling over tops of cupcakes to garnish.

Until next time, happy baking!

Earth Day Cupcakes

earth day cupcake

Earth Day cupcake

I wanted to celebrate Earth Day in style, so a special cupcake had to be created. I’d seen cupcakes baked in terra cotta pots but that seemed too complicated. So I got a few small decorative pots at a craft store and decorated away.

To start I needed a firm cupcake to hold up to the decorations. I found a dense cupcake recipe and used the Neat egg as a sturdy egg replacer. (It also gave me a chance to try the Neat egg.) Then I added water and flour for high altitude. Next, I reduced baking soda for altitude and reduced sugar knowing the toppings would be extra sweet. The last step was to get creative with the decorations. I hope you like my homage to Mother Earth.

Earth Day Cupcakes adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking
cupcakes
1/2 cup Navitas unsweetened cacao powder
1 cup + 1/2 TBS boiling water
Neat egg substitute for 1 egg
1 cup + 7 TBS all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened
1 cup + 3 TBS organic sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
frosting
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
3 TBS chocolate almond milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
decorations
crushed chocolate cookies
basil sprigs
gummy worms
For Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners. In a small bowl combine cocoa and boiling water. Stir well and set aside to cool. In another small bowl prepare the Neat egg replacer according to package instructions. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the Neat egg and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes. With the mixer set on low, add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. After the last flour is mixed in, beat for 1 minute until smooth.
Divide the batter evenly among the 12 liners. Bake 22-24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
For Frosting: Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and beat for 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar, alternating with milk, and beat until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.For Decorations: Place a flat layer of chocolate frosting on a cupcake. Put the crushed chocolate cookies on a plate and dip the cupcake in until frosting is covered. Insert a basil sprig and a gummy worm into the cupcake and put in terra cotta pot.

Until next time, happy baking!

Valentine’s Day and Chocolate Musings

chocolate strawberries

Image courtesy of Lindsey Turner at flickr.com

Ah, Valentine’s Day and the smell of chocolate is in the air. A traditional holiday treat is truffles and I often make them this time of year. But they aren’t baked and this IS a blog about baking. Fortunately, most of my recipe posts contain chocolate so any would be fantastic for the Holiday of Love. Red Velvet Cupcakes are a winner, as well as Chocolate Mousse Pie, although I would take a simple chocolate strawberry. Both of these ingredients are considered aphrodisiacs so they are right on the mark.

My goal has been to try and find healthier recipes to bake this year. The chocolate covered strawberries alluded to above aren’t baked, but they can be eaten alongside a healthy cookie and still fall into the “healthier” category. They also have the all important ingredient of chocolate that my husband demands to be in all desserts. (He took last week’s healthy Tahini Oat Cookies and dipped the last few in chocolate just as an experiment.)

I would like to know if you, dear reader and baked treat lover, have any recipes you would like me to experiment with to make healthier. They don’t need to contain chocolate but if they do they will get eaten faster at my house. Is there a baked good that you want to see me adapt?

Reducing Fat for Healthier Baking

pureed fruit

Image courtesy of Tim Sackton at flickr.com

In keeping with my resolution to bake healthier, I have examined ways to reduce fat in recipes. Most eaters know that fat adds flavor, but it’s important to know what else fat does in baking in order to see how to reduce it.

Fats “main functions are to shorten or tenderise the product (and) to trap air during creaming and so … give good volume and texture. … It is important to add the correct amount of fat as too much … will make the baked product greasy … while too little fat will leave you with a product that lacks flavour and stales quickly.”

For a tender treat, you can sub pureed fruits or vegetables as many “contain pectin, which acts similarly to fat to ‘shorten’ or tenderize baked goods. Unsweetened applesauce, mashed bananas, pureed prunes, or canned pumpkin puree work best. … You can replace half of the fat in a recipe with an equal volume of pureed fruit or vegetable.” I find this trick works well in cupcakes, muffins and breads.

It seems that pureed fruits and vegetables are best used to make a tender crumb but not as a substitute in recipes that require volume added to the batter. For these instances I still rely on my vegan butter substitute. It’s great when a recipe calls for the fat to be creamed to trap air. However, a baked good can still be made with a reduced amount of fat by replacing half of the fat with pureed produce. For a successful reduced-fat recipe, try my Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.