Earth Day, sort of…

10 Apr

Hi.  Remember me?

That’s okay, I’m not sure I remember me either.  In fact, I’ve been gone so long, WordPress kicked me off their “keep me signed in” thing.  I actually had to remember what my password was.  Seriously?

I have been away from my blog for exactly 1 month and 21 days.  Would you like to hear what’s happened in my life in that 1 month and 21 days?  Doesn’t matter, I’m going to tell you anyway.  That’s why we call this a blog.

I went to the Glass Museum in Tacoma.  Wow.

I took an Anthropology midterm and got a 90%.

I began attending the knitting club on campus regularly and am now teaching my club-mates how to make socks.

My dear laptop, Agamemnon, crashed and then came back to life.  His name is now Jesús.

I spent a week almost living in the library due to said computer crash.

I read Charles Dickens’ Hard Times and wrote an essay on it.

I wrote another essay in Spanish about Gabriela Mistral’s poetry.

I also read Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven.  If you have not yet read it, go read it.  Now.  Right now.  As in, stop reading this blog post and go read it.  It’ll only take you about two hours.

I made about $300 working at the bakery over spring break and another $250 babysitting.  Cha-ching!

I spoke Spanish almost all day long at work this past week with my old friends at the bakery.

I tried a new bubble tea spot in Northwest Portland called the Fat Straw.  I had the honeydew milk tea, and it was amazing.  It was like sucking on a freakin’ melon.  Yum.

I went to my favorite baking/decorating store in Portland, The Decorette Shop, and the lady helping me looked at me like I was crazy when I asked her if the circle cookie cutter I was looking at would fit inside a cupcake.

I had a great idea for the March Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge and missed it

And that’s where this story begins.  Mystery Box Cupcakes.  More like, Mystery Frickin’ Beastly Amazing Box Cupcakes.  Yeah, you heard me.

The idea for these cupcakes came from an entremet I made with one of my dearest friends, Carina, which was composed of hazelnut cake, fresh strawberries, and chocolate mousse.

Well, the cake part did.  But the actual cupcake part of the cupcake came from something I saw online around Valentine’s Day, and I applied it to Earth Day Cupcakes.

Oh.  That’s the theme this year.  Earth Day.  I didn’t just decide to celebrate it a week and a half early.

Now, here’s all the stuff I have to put in my blog to qualify for the challenge this month:

These are the official rules.  And these are the sponsors and prizes.  Yay!

The winner of April’s Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge will receive prizes from:

Thank you to all our prize sponsors!

But before we get to the cupcakes, I need to share some Earth Day comics with you.  My personal favorite comic strip artist is Dan Piraro.  He’s amazing.  And witty.  And funny.  I love his style and one of the things I miss about home is seeing his little one-square strips in the paper everyday.  So we’ll start with some from him.

I’ve had this comic sitting in my room for about two years waiting for a chance to use it.  And now I have one.

Oh, the irony…

Alright.  Now the cupcakes.  Are you ready?  You might want to not look directly at them, or their awesomeness could blind you.

Just FYI.  Drum roll please….

That’s right.  ♪♫♬ He’s got the whole world, in his cupcake, he’s got the whole world, in his cupcake! ♪♫♪

More pictures.  Because that’s how proud I am of these cupcakes.

Because when you’re vegan, every day is Earth Day!  Seriously.   Go hug one.  Right now.

Okay.  Now a recipe.

These are hazelnut cupcakes with coffee buttercream.  And super, duper rich.  But totally worth it.

HAZELNUT CUPCAKES

(adapted from my peanut butter cupcakes)

  • 1 c. soy milk
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 1/4 c. AP flour
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. hazelnut butter
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

PAUSE.  DON’T DO ANYTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE READ THIS BAKER’S NOTE THAT I AM WRITING IN ALL CAPS.  HALVE THIS RECIPE AND BAKE IT UP IN AN 8×8 PAN FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTES OR UNTIL IT’S BAKED THROUGH.  LET IT COOL COMPLETELY AND THEN CUT OUT SMALL CIRCLES (MAKE SURE THEY WILL FIT INSIDE YOUR CUPCAKE TIN) AND SET THEM ASIDE.  THEN MAKE A FULL BATCH OF THIS RECIPE.

Keep your oven at 350°F, line your cupcake tin with liners.  Whisk the soy milk and vinegar together in a cup and set aside for a few minutes.  Mix the dry ingredients (except sugar) in a bowl.

In a larger bowl, cream the hazelnut butter and sugar until fluffy (don’t beat past two minutes).  Add in the vanilla.  Then, alternate beating in the flour mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Take your half batch of batter and split it in half.  Color one half green and one half blue, and then marble them in your 8×8 pan.  Bake off your 8×8 cake, cut out your circles, and set aside.  Then, mix up a full batch.  Get your cupcake liners in your tin.  Put a little scoop of batter in the bottom, and then stand up the circle vertically in the cup part of the tin (if that makes sense).  Then, pour a little more batter around the circle and on top of the circle.  PAUSE AGAIN.  MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHICH WAY THE CIRCLES ARE FACING.  PUT THEM ALL FACING THE SAME WAY.  YOU HAVE TO SLICE THE CIRCLE THE RIGHT WAY TO SEE THE CIRCLE ON THE INSIDE. (If you don’t understand what I mean, go back up to the Valentine’s Day link in this post and read that.  It’ll make more sense).  Seriously.  Listen to me. If you cut the circle the wrong way, you’ll just see a rectangle.  There’s nothing very Earth Day about that.

Top off with coffee buttercream.  Here’s how you do it.  Use my buttercream frosting, but mix in about 1 1/2 tbsp. of instant coffee into the 2 -3 tbsp. of soy milk before adding it into the frosting.  (PS, I actually used 1/2 c. shortening and 1/2 c. margarine, because I was low on margarine).

Once they’re frosted, and you know which way they’re supposed to face, slice them open and see the magic!  Happy Early Earth Day!!

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10 Responses to “Earth Day, sort of…”

  1. Jamieanne April 10, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Wow, these are seriously awesome!! 😀

  2. michelle April 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    wow they are great!! love the pics!

  3. Jayson April 16, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Great looking cuppies but I’m wondering how the texture of the green circles might be since they’re baked twice? At least thats the way I’m understanding the instuctions.

    1. Bake the green batter, then cut out circles from fully baked green cake..
    2. Add a bit of fresh batter to liners, insert baked green circle cut out on its side, fill the liners with more batter and bake. So thats double baking the green circles, right?

    • bakerbarth April 16, 2011 at 9:00 am #

      Yep, that’s exactly how you do it. I was skeptical too, at first, but the texture is great – they blend right into the cupcake just like they were baked once. I think because the outside usually bakes first in the oven (and in this case that’s the only thing that needs to be baked), you take them out before the circles become “twice-baked”. The raw batter acts as a kind of shield between the heat of the oven and the circles.

  4. Hilary @ Cupcake Avenger April 16, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Um, these are freaking amazing. What a great idea, thanks for sharing!

  5. michelle April 27, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    i think you should have won the mystery contest! really great job on these 🙂

    • bakerbarth April 27, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

      Aw, shucks. That means a lot. I really wish she ran her challenges more like Cupcake Hero, where they take the top two in the voting and actually make them and taste them, that way it’s based on quality rather than chance. But oh, well. I’m just happy to have a monthly challenge to participate in. There’s always next month. 😉

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Happy Earth Day! | The Skinny Vegan - April 14, 2011

    […] I wish I was responsible for these brilliant Earth Day vegan cupcakes, but I am not. Baking blog, Pastelitos, is and they are genius!  Click below to find out how you can make your own Earth Day cupcakes to […]

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