Tag Archives: cupcakes

Drinks and dresses

7 May

Let me tell you how this post was supposed to go today.

I was going to start off by saying how great it is that it’s spring, and how some of my favorite things about spring (and summer, for that matter) are being able to drink frappuccinos instead of lattes and wear sundresses and capris instead of jeans and sweat pants.

But then it rained today.  And I’m not talking about those wimpy little warm sprinklings you sometimes see in May.

It rained big time.

It rained like May was having an identity crisis and thought it was March.

And now I’m wearing sweat pants.

So, I’m not sure what these are supposed to be now.  Maybe they’re caramel frappuccino cupcakes (which is what they’re called on the brainstorm sticky note on my laptop) if where you are it’s actually spring-ing right now, or maybe they’re warm, cozy caramel macchiato cupcakes if you’re here in the great Pacific Northwest, or you’re just feeling cloudy today.

Either way, they’re delicious.  They have coffee in them.  Lots of coffee.  And no stupid chocolate to mask that coffee flavor, or any superfluous frosting to dampen the amazing caffeinated zing that comes from the cake.

Just coffee cupcakes filled with caramel.

COFFEE CUPCAKES
(Please forgive me for using a previously posted recipe.  It’s worth repeating, trust me.)

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of instant coffee

 Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare your cupcake tin for lift-off.  Mix together the dry ingredients, then add in the wet.  Scoop into the cupcake tin and bake for about 20 – 22 minutes.  Once they’re cool, carve out a little well in the middle of the cupcake and fill it with caramel sauce.  You can (and should) make your own, but mine failed pretty spectacularly, which is why I’m not giving you a recipe.

Enjoy with good friends, a good book, and hopefully the good weather will follow.

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!!

Cookies n’ Cream Cupcakes

21 Feb

WARNING:  This post is video-tastic

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

This is what my voice sounds like today.

 

This is what my voice usually sounds like.

 

Okay, fine.  It doesn’t sound exactly like that.

But that gives you an idea of how terribly my throat hurts this weekend.

This is a list of the movies I watched on Saturday and Sunday:

Toy Story 3

Julie & Julia

How to Train Your Dragon

Anastasia

Benny & Joon

Hairspray

Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood

The Princess and the Frog

 

This is my mind being blown by finding out today that Anastasia is not a Disney movie.

 

And now…

This is my weekend in numbers:

0:  number of hours I spent doing homework

1:  number of hours I spent working on my drawing before feeling light-headed and woozy

2:  number of times I had ramen noodles for breakfast

3:  number of unrestful nights of sleep

4:  number of pints of orange juice I’ve consumed

5:  number of pints of tea I’ve consumed

6:  number of ice cream cones I was able to use up with this recipe

7:  my favorite number

8:  number of movies I watched this weekend

9:  my other favorite number

10:  number of toes on my feet

11:  number of minutes it took for these cupcakes to disappear

12:  number of hours I spent doing something other than sleeping or watching movies

13:  an unlucky number

14:  approximate number of cupcakes this recipe makes

15:  number of pictures I took of these cupcakes

16:  number of hours I spent watching movies

17:  my other favorite number

18:  number of times I thought about baking, but felt to crappy to actually get up and do it

19:  how old I am

20:  number of hours I spent sleeping

1,000,000,000,000:  level of awesomeness of these cupcakes

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

COOKIES AND CREAM CUPCAKES

  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 7 OREO’s, finely ground
  • 12 – 16 whole OREO’s
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. soy milk
  • t tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. oil

Preheat oven 350°F.  Line your cupcake pan with paper liners, and place one whole OREO on the bottom of each liner.  Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another.  Then mix together until just combined.  Scoop into pan and bake for about 25 minutes.

COOKIES AND CREAM BUTTERCREAM

  • plain old buttercream frosting
  • 3 – 4 OREO’s finely ground

Mix the OREO’s into the buttercream, and tada!

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for… Cupcakes?

12 Feb

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

First of all, I would like to say “happy birthday” to my mamacita.  I’m so bummed that I can’t be in Portland today to celebrate her birthday and play on her brand new Wii, but I thought that I would dedicate this post to her.  So, happy birthday, mama.  Te quiero hasta la luna y de vuelta otra vez…

And now…

(Drumroll please…)

Welcome to the month of chocolate.  That’s right.  A whole month.  Why?  Because I was trying to come up with an idea for the Mystery Box Challenge for this month, and I had too many.  So I’m making them all.

Get excited.

These are cupcakes based on an ice cream flavor that I have never really been fond of:  spumoni.  Which is odd, considering that I love chocolate, I love cherries, and I love pistachio.  So why I have never  tried this flavor combo before is beyond me.

But I’m trying it now.

These cupcakes pack a whole lot of awesome into just a few bites.  Chocolate cake, pistachio filling, and cherry frosting.  Can you say “holy wow”?

These cupcakes are labor-intensive, but are totally worth the wait.  Trust me.  I can tell you (and so can half of the people on my floor) that these cupcakes are worth tasting.  I believe my RA’s exact words were, “oh my gosh… yum… oh yum… mmmmmm….. yummmm… OH MY GOSH THESE ARE SO GOOD….. yummm…. uhmmm… mmmmm….”

I think you get the picture.

You will have to forgive me for using this chocolate cupcake recipe over and over and over and over again in my blog, but it is sooo yummy and so easy to adapt to add in other flavors.  So you’ll just have to suck it up, because I’m using it again.

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES (adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking)

  • 1 1/2 c. AP flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 – 3 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1/3 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c. ground pistachios (food processor works great for this)
  • 1/3 c. vegetable/canola oil
  • 1 c. non dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare your cupcake tin.  In a large bowl, combine your flour, sugar, cocoa powder, coffee, baking soda, and salt.  In a smaller bowl, combine your wet ingredients.  Add the wet to the dry, and mix just until combined.  Scoop into your cupcake tin and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes (trust me, it really does need that much time).

PISTACHIO FILLING

  • 2/3 – 1 c. ground pistachios
  • 6 tbsp. non dairy margarine
  • 2/3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Beat all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth.

CHERRY SYRUP

  • 12 oz. frozen cherries
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 3 tbsp. sugar

Pulse the cherries in your food processor.  Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until it thickens up.  I kept some of the cherry chunks in my frosting, because it gives it flavor, and it’s a lot easier than having to strain them out.

CHERRY BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

  • 1 1/2 sticks non dairy margarine
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Enough cherry syrup to bring the frosting together

Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer.  Add the vanilla and cherry syrup just until the frosting turns pink and you can taste the cherry in the frosting.

BUILDING THE CUPCAKE

Using a cupcake corer or spoon or a knife, make a hole in the middle of your cupcake.  Scoop in your pistachio filling (I used my handy-dandy mini cookie scoop that I always rave about).  Top off with the cherry frosting.  You can also bake your cupcakes in ice cream cones (like I did) and serve them that way.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – – — – – – – – – — – – – – – – — – – – – – – — – – – – – – –

PS, this is my entry for Mystery Box Cupcake.

Here’s the rules.  And the sponsors…

Vote for me starting on the 21st here.

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

Thank you to all our prize sponsors!

 

Apple Spice Cupcakes

17 Jan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hi.  It’s me.  Remember me?  I haven’t posted in over a month…

But I’m back now.  With recipes.  And pictures.

This weekend was just about the most unproductive weekend of my life.  I’m taking ceramics this month, and have about fifteen mugs I have to paint and put handles on.  This was the dialogue with myself on Saturday:

Me:  6:00 am.  Time to head over to the art building and work.  Wahoo!!

Myself:  9:00 am.  I’m getting hungry, but still have  a lot to do here.  I’ll keep working.

Me:  11:00 am.  Okay, lunch time.

Myself:  12:00 pm.  Maybe I should head back over and finish my ceramics pieces.

Me:  Nah… I’ll just stay here and watch ‘Friends’ curled up under my covers because our heat is currently not working.

Myself:  Sure, yeah.  Okay, that sounds like fun.

Six hours later…

Me:  Okay, you really do need to go back to the art building and finish your stuff.

Myself:  DINNER!

 

So, basically didn’t get anything done.  I was going to bake yesterday, but it sounded like too much work.  Seriously?  Me?  Baking is work?  What’s wrong with me?

But I did bake today, so be happy.

APPLE CUPCAKES

  • 2 1/2 c. AP flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (I’m not a huge fan of nutmeg, so I did 1/4 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. non dairy margarine
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 eggs-worth of egg replacer
  • 1/2 c. soy milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. shredded apples (I used Granny Smith from our dining hall)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Cream margarine and sugar.  Add the egg replacer and vanilla.  Then add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk.

Scoop into your muffin cups and bake.*

Take out and let cool, then top with frosting and caramel below.

*These took for forever and a day to bake – probably somewhere around 30 minutes for me.  Always start with 18 minutes, though, and go from there.  You can always let them bake for longer, but you can’t unburn cupcakes!!

 

BROWN SUGAR FROSTING

  • 1 c. + 3 tbsp. non dairy margarine (I just had the three tablespoons sitting around, that’s why I used them)
  • 1 c. sifted brown sugar
  • 3 c. white sugar

Cream it all up in a bowl with your electric mixer.

Note on this frosting:  I made up this recipe because I realized I didn’t have any powdered sugar.  I tried making my own by blending it up in a food processor, but that didn’t work either. This frosting is just like that magical time when you’re baking cookies when it’s just the butter and sugar together – YUM.

 

CARAMEL SAUCE

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. non dairy margarine
  • soy milk (don’t ask me how much – I eyeballed it)

Put the sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir with a whisk or wooden spoon every 10-15 seconds, for about a minute, until sugar starts to melt. Stir, nonstop, for about 2 – 3 minutes. The sugar will be very hot by now, which is good, but it will probably pop and splatter, so be careful!  (Ahem, I didn’t burn my toe when the sugar popped out of the pan!  What are you talking about?)  Add vanilla. When the sugar starts to turn just a little darker, add margarine and stir nonstop until it melts. Let boil on medium heat for 2 to3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.  Add non-dairy milk, a little at a time.

Note on this recipe:  Ok, I totally winged this one.  My margarine and sugar amounts were correct, but my sugar flipped out and just curdled up into little hard sugar balls.  So really, my caramel sauce turned into ‘epic fail sauce.’  So I strained out the little lumpies with my whisk and it turned out okay.

Enjoy!   : )

 

Gingerbread Cupcakes

15 Dec

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s finals week.  And I got roped into making cupcakes for two classes.  Two.  Plus, I needed gifts for people.  So somehow, yesterday morning, I found myself in the lounge for five hours making four dozen gingerbread cupcakes.

I have never liked gingerbread.  I make it every year, because I know how much everyone else loves it; plus it’s  a Christmas classic and the little men are super fun to decorate.  But I never actually ate it myself.  However, I had a bit of a coming around this year.

I made gingerbread cookie dough on Sunday and stuck it in my fridge for this week.  And the dough tasted pretty good – for gingerbread.  So then I though since I had the dough, I might as well make cupcakes and use the cookies as little toppers.

And the cupcakes were good too.  I brought them to dinner at my writing prof’s house last night, and someone asked me, “are you sure you’re not lying to me?  like, these are actually vegan?”

Yes they are.

GINGERBREAD CUPCAKES (from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

  • 1 1/4 c. AP flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tsp. ground ginger (I happen to not like ginger that much, so I did about half of this and you could still really taste it in the cupcakes)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves (I left these out and the cupcakes still tasted great)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 c. light molasses
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. soy milk
  • 2 tbsp soy yogurt (I couldn’t get my hands on any soy yogurt, so I just used “sour milk”:  add a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of soy milk and let it sit for a few minutes.  The important thing about using the  yogurt is the enzymes in the yogurt, and the vinegar/lemon juice will do the same thing)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake tin with liners.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a bowl.  Whisk the oil, molasses, maple syrup, soy milk, and yogurt in a separate bowl.  Add the wet to the dry and mix just until combined.  Scoop into your cupcake liners and bake for about 19 minutes.  Top off with cream cheese frosting and a gingerbread cookie (see recipe below).

 

GINGERBREAD COOKIES

  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 1/4 c. soy milk
  • 2 c. AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. each ground nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon (again, I didn’t have any cloves but they still tasted great)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Keep your oven at 350°F from your cupcakes.  Whisk together the oil and sugar for about 3 minutes.  Add the molasses and soy milk.  Sift in the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing in between.  Wrap up the dough and stick it in the fridge for a few hours (up to three days in advance).  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thick and cut out shapes.  Place on baking sheets and bake for about 8  minutes.

 

**Note:  You might want to make your dough beforehand, either a day before or just before you start making your cupcakes so that it can chill before you bake it.

“Egg” Nog Latte Cupcakes

23 Nov

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It snowed here on Sunday.  On my way to the University Center to get breakfast on Sunday morning, it started snowing.  I was wearing flip-flops.  And then, I got to the market and they were playing Christmas songs.  And they had written their holiday specials up on the board:  egg nog latte, peppermint mocha, etc.  And there was egg nog in the fridge.

VEGAN egg nog.

So I decided I needed to make Christmas-y cupcakes.

Don’t shoot me – I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and it’s ridiculous how stores put out Christmas decorations the day after Halloween, but I just couldn’t help myself.

Plus, today is the first Snow Day of the year, and I’m trying to put off packing to go home, cleaning my dorm room, and writing my two papers that are due today and tomorrow.

 

EGG NOG CUPCAKES

  • 1 1/4 c. Silk eggnog
  • ¼ c. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 1/3 c. AP flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Mix the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls, then pour the wet into the dry and stir just until combined.  Scoop into mini cupcake tins and bake for about 10 minutes.

EGG NOG COFFEE BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 c. non-dairy margarine
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. Silk egg nog
  • A couple tablespoons instant coffee
  • Vanilla extract

Mix the instant coffee with the egg nog.  Prepare just like a normal buttercream, substituting the Silk egg nog for milk.  Top off your cupcakes, and enjoy!