a healthy cupcake

20 May

i can’t even begin to explain the heartbreaking realities of a corrupted memory card.  half of my healthy cupcake shoot is trapped in that wirey bit of plastic doom.  lovely photos of happy little cupcakes perched on my roommate’s hand. gone. gone forever. off to that abyss where corrupted memory card photos dwell and taunt the bereaved photographer.

if i did have the photos, you would be gazing upon one of the above cupcakes with a nice little chocolate frosting hat.  since obviously a hat is the only proper concise way to describe frosting spread about on top of a cupcake.

now, different train of thought… i might have mentioned before that it is tricky baking for my roommates due to their many dietary concerns.  one roommate is vegan, one is diabetic, one is gluten-free, and one is lactose intolerant.  (yes, i am aware that i have a ridiculous amount of roommates)  it is my own beginner baker nightmare.  how does one who is pretty much just winging it anyways accommodate all of these conditions??  the solution… the healthy cupcake!  (which unfortunately tastes a bit more “healthy” than i would have liked.)  i took a cue from vegan cupcakes take over the world and adapted their simple vanilla and agave nectar cupcake  so that it is gluten-free and paired it with the thick chocolate fudgy frostin’ recipe also listed in the book.  the nice thing about this cupcake is that 1. it is vegan (check one roommate), 2. it is therefore lactose free (check two roommates), 3. it uses agave nectar rather than sugar (check three roommates), and 4. by subbing in a gluten-free flour it is miraculously also gluten-free (check four roommates!).  kinda fantastic.

on to the cupcake

what you’ll need: 2/3 cup soy milk, 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 2/3 cup light agave nectar, 1/3 cup canola oil, 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 1 1/3 cup gluten-free baking flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. line muffin pan with cupcake liners and preheat oven to 325 degrees f.

2. mix the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl…

let it sit for a few minutes so that it can curdle.

3. beat in the agave nectar, oil, vanilla, and almond extract.

(when pouring ingredients together it made fun bubbly things. i thought it important to document.)

4. sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

now let’s quickly discuss this flour a bit, shall we?  to make it gluten-free, i had to cut out the regular all-purpose flour that the original recipe called for.  i got this handy precombined magic gluten-free baking & pancake mix by pamela’s products. it uses brown rice flour, white rice flour. almond meal, and a bunch of other fun stuff. i was a bit frightened that it would come out more pancakey than bakey, but you can rest assured that it didn’t turn into a pancake cupcake at all.

beat until smooth.

(i decided to hand beat the batter.  it makes me feel like i have worked off some of the calories i will be ultimately consuming. come on, can’t a girl pretend?)

the little specks are from the almond meal in the flour blend. i think they are cute. i’ll keep ’em.

5. now fill the liners two-thirds full. i always over guesstimate… and the result was a few muffiny cupcakes. but if you like your cupcakes to have muffin tops… heck.. fill away.

6. bake for 20-22 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

allow the cupcakes to cool for at least an hour before adding the frosting.  this will let the flavors and texture develop properly.

next is the frosting

what you’ll need: 1/2 cup margarine (room temp), 1/2 cup dark agave nectar (light is pictured.. but i ended up switching to dark bc i thought it would go better with the chocolate. you can use either), 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/3 cup cocoa powder (sifted), 1/2 cup soy milk powder

(this is where my memory card gets switched and ultimately corrupts.  it only works if bribed now, but i refuse to give in to its devious ways… so no more photographic play-by-plays.  extreme sadface.)

1. beat margarine and agave nectar with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. whisk in vanilla, then slowly fold in cocoa powder (be careful or it will poof in your face, which is not entirely pleasant). slowly beat in soy milk powder at low speed.

2. pop the frosting into the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so until firm enough to spread. 

the verdict: as i said before, this cupcake tasted “healthy.”  if you are in to that sort of thing, i say go for it. i think my problem is that i was expecting a cupcake cupcake. as in a sugary delight… which this definitely isn’t.  but if you are a diabetic gluten-free vegan, i would again say to go for it.  the cupcake itself was pretty good.  although, contrary to the recipe book title, i don’t think this cupcake will be taking over the world. 

the frosting… was kind of a failure.  perhaps that is why my memory card decided to die. it was too frightened by the frosting.  because i am chronicling both my successes and my failures, i still wanted to post the recipe.  maybe i messed something up?  the book said it would be velvety.. but it came out a bit sandy… if that makes any sense.  perhaps i bought the wrong soy milk powder?  if anyone out there has any ideas, please let me know.  but, point of this story… i would skip this particular frosting recipe… unless you know how to fix whatever i did wrong… i think with a different frosting, the cupcake would have been much better.

but, don’t let any of this talk fool you… i still ate pretty much over half of these cupcakes.  so they couldn’t have been that bad.  ooooor i just have no self-control…

in other news, my testers were very diplomatic…

tester m: “it tastes… healthy.  i bet my mom would like it.”  tester m’s fam is all about the organic, healthy, buy-in-bulk life style.

tester a: “its… not bad. its… interesting.” 

8 Responses to “a healthy cupcake”

  1. michiko280 May 20, 2008 at 7:13 pm #

    Mmm looks delicious! And yes, memory cards doo suck. So do computers…

  2. Rachel May 21, 2008 at 8:45 am #

    I was a recipe tester for that cookbook! I didn’t have a problem with the frosting recipe. I did use a different brand of soy milk powder, and I don’t recognize your brand so I can’t say if that was it. Maybe it was just not beaten long enough to get it to encorporate well enough? Do you think the sandy-ness was from the soy milk powder?

    not positive… but both seem extremely plausible. ill have to experiment in the near future to figure it out…

  3. Slagging June 18, 2008 at 10:11 pm #

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Slagging.

  4. Keith August 7, 2008 at 3:22 pm #

    It could actually be the Soya Powder, which is for baked goods, instead of “soy milk powder” a powder that you could reconstitute into soy milk. I was confused about that very thing, but then I found this link…this is all theory, though, because I haven’t tried it myself, yet. I will report back when I do!

  5. happylittlecupcakes May 31, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    these look so yummy! I love cooking with agave nectar too!

  6. Abby September 4, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

    So I tried the cupcake & frosting recipes you posted.
    Cupcakes ~ amazing!!! I used regular organic low fat milk (cuz it’s what I had). They were so good! I’m looking forward to playing around with the recipe!

    Frosting ~ no bueno! I tried it several times trying to convince my brain & taste buds that it was good. No go. I used powdered goats milk (again it’s what I had) instead of the powdered soy milk. If someone ends up doing something to make it good, please comment!

    • Abby September 5, 2010 at 12:00 am #

      Forgot to add that the consistency of the frosting was great! It was just the taste I couldn’t get past. Maybe it was the goats’ milk …


  1. happy birthday america « my achy bakey heart - July 8, 2008

    […] first successful frosting experience.  (let’s try and forget the horror that was the vegan chocolate frosting of grainy […]

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