Tag Archives: cupcake

roasted banana cupcakes (or: what to feed a zombie)

27 Apr

for the majority of my teens, sleeping was easily considered one of my top extracurricular activities. my study-abroad flatmates were actually selected based on the fact that we all filled out our questionnaires with the same sleeping preferences–go to bed early, wake up late–and during my high school days, my mother was forced to devise an elaborate (and frankly, inhumane) wake-up process that has caused lingering trauma.  (you try not suffering permanent damage after waking up every morning to someone flicking on your lights, and then with a speed usually reserved for vampires, simultaneously blasting the radio, ripping off your sheets, tickling your feet, all while bellowing your name.)

this being said, my decision to attend culinary school for a baking and pastry arts degree came as rather shocking news to those who were acquainted with my sleeping patterns. the ungodly hours of baking professionals are no secret. the school  recruiter asked me, as did almost everyone else i told, “are you an early-riser?” after a good laugh and recounting of my mother’s antics (see above), we determined that seeing as how there are few jobs that will lend to a sleep schedule to my liking, save mattress-tester or professional sleep-study subject, waking up at 4 a.m. doesn’t seem that much worse than 7 a.m.  (ok, it is… but i was trying to gain admittance.)

fast-forward four incredibly intense months of schooling on top of my 9 to 5 job, and you will find that it had been a very, very long time since i had truly engaged in my most favorite of pastimes.  essentially, i spent those 16 weeks as a member of the living dead.  my body was covered in bruises from bumping half-unconsciously into walls and filing cabinets, my stomach lining had a gaping hole from the vast quantities of coffee i had ingested, and i seemed to have developed permanent circles under my eyes to the point where i felt confident that if i joined a football team, i would not have had to bother with blacking out my cheeks.  there were moments when i worried that the overzealous might consider picking up one of the many “how to survive a zombie apocalypse” books flooding the shelves in order to protect themselves when i ambled by.  please note that moaning “brainzzz” is only funny to others when they aren’t half-sure you might be serious.

during these long months of sleep deprivation, i had often felt that i deserved luxuries that i normally (when fully functioning) wouldn’t allow myself.  (the starbucks barista who now refers to me as “her friend” can vouch for me on this one.)  therefore, i felt no moral compunction and needed very little self-convincing when i decided that these cupcakes were quite clearly more of an icing-topped muffin than an actual cupcake…breakfast, definitely not dessert…calorie-free as opposed to adding new dimension to my growing backside…the addition of bananas was all the justification that i needed.

this recipe comes from martha stewart’s cupcake cookbook and produces a cupcake so mind-blowingly delicious that i made some pretty inappropriate sounds when inhaling them.  because it calls for cake flour and there is more sifting than seems sane, the end product will be super fluffy and moist (and i am serious when i say moan-inducing…though you should be careful about this if people are already concerned you might be a member of the undead as you may just be reinforcing their convictions). the cupcake is then paired with a honey-cinnamon frosting that is truly sensational.

roasted banana cupcakes from martha stewart’s cupcakes

what you’ll need (for the cake):
3 ripe bananas (plus 1 or 2 more for garnish should you feel fancy)
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp.
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. preheat oven to 400 degrees f and line standard muffin tins with paper liners. place 3 whole unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and roast for 15 mins.

2. while these are roasting, sift together cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. (cake flour has a high starch content, so make sure you don’t skip the sifting. i know, i know, but it will be worth it.)

3. remove your now blackened, roasted bananas from the oven and let them cool before peeling. unless you enjoy burning your fingers or need to build up heat tolerance, in which case, knock yourself out. reduce the oven temp to 350.

4. cream the butter and sugar on med-high speed until it is pale and fluffy. add the three egg yolks, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. scrape down the sides as necessary.

add the peeled, roasted bananas and try not to gag. yeh, i think we can all agree on what this reminds us of…  alright, that being said, ahem, beat to combine.

4. add the flour mixture and sour cream, alternating back and forth. you will do three flour batches, alternating with two sour cream batches. beat until just combined after each addition. if you beat too long, your cake will lose its fluff. beat in vanilla.

5. in a separate bowl, whip your egg whites to soft peaks with a mixer on medium speed.

fold in 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten. this basically means that you will sacrifice some of your whites so that your dense batter won’t snuff it all out. gently fold in the remaining whites in two batches.

6. divide the batter evenly among the lined cups. they should be about 3/4 full. bake for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. make sure you rotate your tins once half way through. once baked, transfer the tins to a wire rack to cool.

the cupcakes can be stored in air-tight containers at room temp up to 3 days, or frozen up to 2 months.

now for the honey-cinnamon frosting:

what you’ll need:
2.5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1. on med speed, beat all ingredients until smooth.

2. wipe off your brow, whew, that was tough.

use immediately or refrigerate up to 5 days in an air-tight container. if you refrigerate, make sure you bring it back to room temp and beat it smooth before using.

they can also conveniently be made baby tiny size as a nice post-brain snack.

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vegan hazelnut cupcakes.

11 Nov

this post has only been about, eh, two months in the making…  but when you read about this cupcake you will realize it was definitely worth the wait.  you might be thinking, nice try kel, keep dreaming.  but really, sooo good.  takes about 6 years to actually make (kelley time = appx. 3 hours, although that could also be in part due to the copious amounts of wine that was aflowin’). 

as i am posting this, i find it is very depressing that i don’t remember too much about this day. no, not because of the wine.. but because it was two months ago and therefore a lot of the hilarity attached is lost in the confines of my memory.  i do remember that the reason my roommate j and i decided to make cupcakes was for the sole purpose of showing off this sweet cupcake stand.  she got it for me from crate and barrel for my bday, and im not going to lie, i feel kinda pretty just owning it.  a little peculiar that a cupcake stand is what gives me an ego boost, but hey, to each his (or her) own.

so let’s talk about this glorious decadance of a cupcake: hazelnut cake, chocolate ganache topping, toasted hazelnut garnish… and here is the kicker, a mocha hazelnut mousse filling.  can we please have a collective sigh?  dear vctotw, you have now ruined me for all other cupcakes. this one is so tasty/made me feel so gourmet that i’m not sure i can go back.

one problem, i found it nearly impossible to locate hazelnut extract.  j and i must have spent the entire morning running around town trying to find this suprisingly rare elixir.  after scrounging every whole foods within 10 miles (of which there are an unprecedented amount) and random market we could think of, we came across a little co-op.  i nearly took out a biker as i hastened to park my car.  im sorry biker, but noone gets between me and my hazelnut extract.  so after this near catastrophe, we ran in… our last hope.  low and behold… “laaaaa”… the extract!  cut to 10 seconds later… the aisle is full of curious onlookers as j and i find we are incapable of stopping our shreiking and hysterical jumping.  it was a beautiful moment.

on to the baking… 

vegan hazelnut cupcakes from vegan cupcakes take over the world

step 1: the mocha hazelnut mousse

mousse ingredients

what you’ll need: 6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu (this confused me. a lot. bc j and i thought silken meant not firm??  this was a conundrum, so we just went with the least squishy of the silken…), 2 tbsp plain soy milk, 1 tbsp pure maple syrup, 4 tsp instant espresso powder, 2 tsp hazelnut liqueur (i used extract instead… shhh.), 1 tsp vanilla extract, 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (or 2/3 cup chips)

1. crumble tofu into a blender.  add soy milk, maple syrup, espresso powder, hazelnut liqueur, and vanilla. puree until completely smooth. set aside.

hazcupcake71

2. melt chocolate in a double boiler or some sort of make shift contraption. once melted, let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. add chocolate to your tofu mixture and blend until combined.

4. transfer mousse to an airtight container or bowl covered in plastic wrap. let it chill for an hour to firm.  remove from the fridge 10 minutes before you are ready to use.

step 2: the hazelnut cake

hazcupcake1

what you’ll need: 1 cup & 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup hazelnut meal/flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt, 2/3 cup rice milk or nut milk (we choose hazelnut. might as well take it all the way.), 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds, 1/3 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 1/2 tsp hazelnut extract or 1 tbsp hazelnut liqueur.

1. line cupcake pan and preheat oven to 350 f. in a small bowl, whisk together flaxseed and rice milk.  in a large bowl, sift together the flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

2. add the maple syrup, sugar, canola oil, vanilla, and hazelnut liqueur to the rice milk mixture and beat well. add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until mostly smooth.

3. pour into liners, filling them 2/3 of the way.

hazcupcake10

(this method was not incredibly affective.. but it sure would have been cool if it was!)

4. bake for 22 to 24 min. give it the old toothpick test. cool completely on racks before filling.

step3: the chocolate ganache

hazcupcake3what you’ll need: 1/4 cup soy milk, 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1. bring soy milk to a gentle boil in a small sauce pan.  immediately remove from heat and add chocolate and maple syrup. mix chocolate until completely melted and smooth.

2. set aside at room temp until ready to use.

step 4: the assembly

1. use a finger to poke a hole into the top of each cupcake. hazcupcake12 

2. fill each cupcake with as much mousse as you can.  scrape off excess cream from tops of the cupcakes.

hazcupcake13 

3. spread the ganache onto the cupcakes. two layers can help make it look smoother.

hazcupcake15 

4. sprinkle with chopped toasted hazelnuts. place the cupcakes in the fridge to let the ganache to set.

the verdict: soo worth all of the many steps. if you like hazelnuts, please try this one asap.  even if you dont, try it. really.

hazcupcake17

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.”