It’s late, and I just lost my entire blog for today due to a technical error of some sort (and I’m admittedly pretty upset about that), so please forgive me; this re-do will be very brief.
Before talking about vegan baked goods, I want to share with you a couple of photos from today’s lunch:
Zander loves his Spinach & Cannellini Bean Dip so much that he even puts it on satsuma orange segments before eating them! How ridiculous is that? And yes, he did actually eat these, he wasn’t just playing with his food (although he does a lot of that, too).
Now on to other matters. Our Family Resource Center (FRC) is partnering with a local church to host the annual children’s clothing and toy exchange, as well as a bake sale to support the fabulous programs at the FRC. This will all take place tomorrow. After taking Zander outside to play with his buddy Jake for a couple of hours this morning, I spent much of the day baking and then volunteering for the exchange (sorting and organizing clothing in piles according to size, etc.). I also created some space in our home by getting rid of three boxes full of things that Zander has outgrown, which I’ve been saving for months. There is some really incredible stuff at the exchange, and I’m so excited about tomorrow! I especially can’t wait to look through all of the books and puzzles.
Anyhow, I view food as a form of activism, and I love opportunities like this to show people that veganism can (and should) taste delicious. So I decided to bake two desserts for the sale: (1) Vegan Cranberry Rugelach Bliss Bars, and (2) Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes with little Christmas trees made of Fluffy Buttercream Frosting. Here’s a photo of the cranberry bars from above:
And here’s what they look like once you’ve cut them open, revealing three mouth-watering layers of flavor:
Unfortunately, I am not able to share this recipe with you, because I won it at an auction many years ago and signed an agreement swearing to keep it confidential. That said, it seems unfair to taunt you with the photos without at least telling you that the base is a cream cheese pastry smothered in a cranberry filling, and it’s capped with a delicious streuselly topping full of crunchy sliced almonds. Oh no, wait, maybe that was worse. OK, I’ll stop now…
The good news is that I can share with you the recipe for the cupcakes, which I will do below. But first, a photo:
RED VELVET CUPCAKES
1 cup soymilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1¼ cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup canola oil
2 Tbsp red food coloring (liquid)
2½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cupcake tin.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the soymilk and vinegar and set aside to curdle. (This is to imitate buttermilk. It is an important step, because the vinegar gives the baking soda something with which it can react.)
In another bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Add the oil, food coloring, and extracts to the curdled soy milk and whisk well to combine. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ones, and fold to combine, mixing just until large lumps disappear.
Pour into liners (fill two-thirds of the way full) and bake for 18-20 minutes.
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.
FLUFFY BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
½ cup nonhydrogenated shortening (I use Earth Balance shortening sticks)
½ cup nonhydrogenated margarine (I use Earth Balance buttery sticks)
3½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup plain soymilk (or soy creamer)
*I added a few drops of green food coloring to make the frosting look like Christmas trees, and I sprinkled on some tiny edible silver stars.
Beat the shortening and margarine together (using a hand-held mixer) until well combined and fluffy.
Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.
Add the vanilla and soymilk and beat for another 5-7 minutes, or until fluffy.
Wait until the cupcakes have completely cooled before frosting them. A trick I sometimes use is to put the frosting into a ziploc bag and then snip off one of the corners with a pair of scissors and squeeze the frosting out onto the cupcakes. But it tastes just as good if you just spread it on with a knife or spatula.
CREDIT: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Before signing off, I thought I’d leave you with some photos of the cupcakes I made for Zander’s Halloween party earlier this year (before this blog existed). These were so much fun to make!
(1) Chocolate cupcakes with mint buttercream frosting and marzipan pumpkins:
(2) Vanilla cupcakes with rich chocolate ganache and fluffy buttercream frosting ghosts:
Even though Zander isn’t allowed to eat more than a mouthful or two of things like this (lest he fall into a permanent sugar coma), I love having an excuse to bake such fun treats!!