Carrot Cupcakes for Easter or Earth Day

Carrot Cupcakes for Easter or Earth Day

Carrot Cupcakes for Easter or Earth Day

Are you wondering if you stumbled on a gardening blog? Well, you haven’t, but I couldn’t resist tying my cupcakes in with Earth Day by potting them. I slipped them into little terra cotta pots and stuck carrot greens into the little cakes. It makes a wonderful presentation for both Easter and Earth Day, both of which are happening now. To serve them, just take them out of the pots, remove the greenery, and slather with frosting. Now, on to the recipe so we can get to eating these cute and tasty cakes.

Before I share the cupcake directions, I need to let you in on some of the changes that occurred before they could take shape. The original vegan recipe was for a cake, so I chose to go with regular whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour. Pastry flour will give the delicate crumb you look for in a cake, but I wanted more hand-held sturdiness for cupcakes. I also scaled back on both the baking soda and baking powder because the smaller size didn’t need that much oomph, especially in high altitude baking.

Normally I add moisture at high altitude, but this cake had loads more moisture than the other carrot cake recipes that I found. I knew that it would be great at high altitude, which is what led me to base my cupcake creations on the original recipe. Also, many recipes used carrot juice, which can be a difficult to obtain, but this one used orange juice which is readily available. And, I’m not one who likes raisins in her carrot cake so instead I used raw walnuts and lightly toasted them to bring out their nutty flavor. The combination was a winner. My taster and I polished off three cupcakes before I even had a chance to make the frosting!

Carrot Cupcakes for Easter or Earth Day inspired by 24 Karrot Cake

1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1.25 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup vanilla soymilk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 TBS orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups peeled, shredded carrots, loosely packed (optional: save carrot greens for decoration)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Lightly oil the top of a 12-muffin tin, then line with paper cups. Set aside. Spread the walnuts on a small baking sheet. When the oven is ready, lightly toast the walnuts until they become fragrant.

Meanwhile, sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, maple syrup, soymilk, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, and vanilla until well blended. Pour wet mixture into the dry and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth. Stir grated carrots into the batter with a rubber spatula.

carrots with their decorative greenery

carrots with their decorative greenery

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently run a thin knife between the cupcake tops and the pan. Remove cupcakes and cool completely. When cooled, drizzle with the frosting below.

Cream Cheese Frosting adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking

8 oz vegan cream cheese, cold
2 tsp vanilla extract
1.25 cups powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Keep chilled.

Until next time, happy baking!

Lucky St. Pat’s Cupcakes

Lucky St. Pat's Cupcakes

Lucky St. Pat’s Cupcakes

Today commemorates Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. In the U.S. that means we break out anything green. For a baker that means food coloring will play a role in what we create. I have shared very few vanilla cupcakes and wished to produce one, but I didn’t want a green cake. So, green frosting was a must.

The recipe I found in my cookbook collection was vegan. I added chocolate chips because hubby needs his chocolate fix. Another change was to remove the cornstarch due to allergies. The cornstarch was used in the recipe to help create a light texture, but I did fine with adding a bit more baking soda. For high altitude I added flour and water and reduced the baking powder. Now you can raise a cupcake and toast a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Lucky St. Pat’s Cupcakes adapted from Golden Vanilla Cupcakes in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

For the cupcakes:
1 cup + 1 TBS vanilla non-dairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 + 1 TBS cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
generous 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup organic sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
For the frosting:
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup vegan margarine
3 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1/4 – 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
3 TBS non-dairy milk
vegan food coloring (see Note below)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners. Whisk the milk and vinegar in a cup and set aside a few minutes to curdle. Whisk together the milk mixture, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until no large lumps remain. Blend in the chocolate chips. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 22 to 24 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely while you make the frosting.

Color Garden green food color

Color Garden green food color

For the frosting, beat shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, and beat for 3 more minutes. Add the peppermint extract, milk, and food coloring, and beat for another 5 minutes until fluffy. Frost the cooled cupcakes, adding chocolate coins for decoration and a bit o’ luck.

Note: I used Color Garden natural food coloring. Per their instructions, I used half a packet. Please check the instructions of the brand that you use.

Until next time, happy baking!

Cranberry-Studded Pumpkin Muffins

Cranberry Studded Pumpkin Muffins

Cranberry Studded Pumpkin Muffins

It’s a few days until American Thanksgiving, and I thought I would do an homage to some of the holiday’s traditional flavors. Pumpkin and cranberry are common tastes found at a Thanksgiving table, so I dug up a recipe combining the two. This muffin would make a wonderful pre-feast breakfast to get you in the mood.

I reduced the baking soda to account for high altitude concerns. Next, I made a chia egg (from chia and water) and swapped nonfat milk with almond milk to make it vegan. These not-to-sweet muffins offer lots to be thankful for with the burst of cranberries in every bite.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry-Studded Pumpkin Muffins adapted from Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
1 Tbs chia seeds
3 Tbs warm water
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup organic sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Combine chia seeds and water in a small bowl, and set aside to gel. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Combine pumpkin, chia gel, oil and almond milk in a medium bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in cranberries. Fill 12-14 muffin cups and bake for 24-26 minutes.

Until next time, happy baking!

In-The-Black Bottom Cupcakes

Black Bottom Cupcake

Black Bottom Cupcake

Today is the day that American income taxes are due. For those of us who have been struggling with numbers all weekend, I decided that a very indulgent treat was in order. Enter: In-The-Black Bottom Cupcakes.

The recipe I found was already vegan, thanks to master baker Fran Costigan. The changes I made were for high altitude. I reduced baking soda for altitude and added non-dairy milk for dryness. Then I reduced the oil because high altitude baked goods can get oily and the filling could make it heavy enough. These decadent cupcakes are just what my brain and tummy needed.

In-The-Black Bottom Cupcakes adapted from Black Bottom Cupcakes
Filling
1 1/2 tsp ground Navitas Chia Seeds
1 1/2 TBS water
8 oz nondairy cream cheese spread, straight from the refrigerator
9 TBS organic confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 oz chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
Cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup organic granulated sugar
1/4 cup organic whole cane sugar, ground in a blender until powdered
1/4 cup + 1 TBS Navitas Cacao Powder
scant 1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup + 1 TBS almond milk
5 TBS canola oil
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix chia and water and set aside for a couple of minutes. Mix with a fork until thoroughly combined. Repeat twice, 5 minutes apart. In a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Add chia gel and mix on medium for another 30 seconds until incorporated. Stir chocolate chips into the filling. Refrigerate in a covered container while you make the cupcakes. Position a rack on rung just above the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Lightly oil the top only of a 12-cup cupcake tin and line with paper liners.
Put a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add all-purpose flour, pastry flour, granulated sugar, cane sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt to the strainer. Stir with a whisk to sift ingredients into the bowl and whisk to aerate. (If very small bits remain in the strainer, add them to mixture in bowl.) In a small bowl, mix almond milk, oil, vinegar, and vanilla until thoroughly mixed. Immediately pour into dry ingredients. Whisk hard until batter is smooth.
Fill cups just over half full with batter. Scoop 2 tablespoons of filling into center of each cupcake. Bake for 25 to 27 minutes, or until edges are firm when lightly tapped and filling is set. Set tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes. The filling will collapse into cakes while they cool. Remove cupcakes from tin, and cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.

Until next time, happy baking!

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?