Monday, December 21, 2009

Karina makes Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes!

I have a friend who works at a certain well-known clothing store on Haight St. While visiting the other day, I overheard her and her manager discuss how they still needed to buy a vegan dessert for their much anticipated, invitation- only, sale-in-store party. I took it as my duty to chime in and offer myself up for the job, and luckily was immediately hired!

I was planning on doing a cake, but we all decided it would be much cleaner and easier to do a whole lot of cupcakes. I wanted to do something festive so I chose chocolate, mint and orange...

This is the basic recipe I started with and I'll take you through my changes:

Vegan Chocolate Batter Base

1 cup organic, unbleached flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tbl black cocoa powder (I couldn't find this so I left it out)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup soy milk ( I used vanilla almond milk)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup ( I used Trader Joe's organic maple/agave blend)
1/4 cup organic sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
mint extract-see below

The first batch I did, I added some of the mint extract I bought for the frosting recipe because I wanted the cupcakes to be minty as well. Unfortunately, the bottle was knocked on the floor, spilt everywhere and no other stores around me carried more. I should have actually said fortunately, because this forced me to be creative and I made my own "mint extract" which was WAY better and tasted more natural. I took a bunch of the fresh mint I bought to garnish with, and first put it in the blender with some fresh orange segments and honey. This worked ok, but I tried it again with my morter and pestle and was able to grind up the mint leafs much finer. I drained the juice, saved some of the mint greens and kept it all for the second batter and frosting.

To the batter I added cinnamon, fresh squeezed orange juice,and a bit more cocoa until the batter was completely delicious. I of course made 4 times as much batter as that original recipe, so I experimented with a little more flour or oil here and there to make enough and have it be the right consistency. I lined the cupcake pans with cupcake liners, coated them with a mist of oil and filled them up about 3/4 of the way.

I baked the cupcakes in batches at 350* for 20-25 minutes each until they were perfectly cooked through but not too hard. I let them cool over night and went on to the frosting.

Vegan Mint Orange Frosting
1/4 cup non-dairy shortening (Earth Balance of course!)
3 cups organic powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp mint extract ( or a whole bunch of my own mint-orange mixture!)
1/2 tsp vanilla
This is such a great base for vegan frostings- you can add whatever flavors you want and the earth balance and powdered sugar make it thick, creamy and so yummy!

To prepare for garnishing, I washed and dried some fresh mint and crushed a bunch of starlight mints in my morter. I soaked cranberries in sugar and orange juice overnight so they would be sweet enough to eat.

Then I did my thing...

I had a co-worker's party the same night so I just busted out an extra cake out of the mix and killed two birds with one stone. Yum!

The crumbled peppermints ontop gave it a really great crunch in the otherwise smooth texture.

It was as easy as that!

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