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Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

7 Sep

Since you’ve already seen that I am not a vegan (via macarons), you’re probably wondering why I bother trying so hard to replace “normal” baking recipes with vegan ones.

Well, I am a new vegetarian. It wasn’t an extremely difficult transition… I never ate much meat, and so far I don’t miss it at all. Part of this vegetarian adoption was due to a lot of reading and research, but an equally important part was spending so much time around other vegetarians. No, don’t worry, I’m not a preacher, so you don’t have to skip the next few lines… but it was interesting to see how these people so easily adapted their lives to their (healthy) diets and beliefs. Now… vegetarian doesn’t mean vegan. Vegetarian = no meat, Vegan = no animal products at all (dairy, eggs, etc.).

This is where a pretty boy comes into the story. I bake for boys. It’s kind of my thing. My friends hate it, because they insist that silly boys don’t deserve my baking. But, it is my way of showing someone that I’m interested in my affection. This also extends to my friends and family… but I make the extra effort when a pretty and nice boy is involved.  And, yes, this boy was vegan. Sigh. He will never taste my macarons.

Well, I failed at my first… five? vegan desserts. So bleak. I typically make delicious treats, and all this boy was getting were burnt black bean brownie bites. Very sexy? Probably. Anyway, I like a challenge, HATE failing, and I realized that a lot of vegans out there want fun and tasty ideas for desserts! Thus, my new mission was to find, adapt, and create vegan sweets.

My first big “win” in the vegan baking department was something I created out of about a dozen vegan birthday cake recipes. I made it for my birthday, and subsequently made it for my friend’s birthday as well! Thus, the ultimate vegan birthday cake recipe was born. This time I made cupcakes for a friend’s housewarming party… so below I will make sure you get the baking times for both!

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes – What you need:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup apple sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar

Vegan Birthday Cake – What you do:

Preheat the oven to 180c. Line a cupcake tray. (If you’re making a cake, grease a cake pan with vegan margarine and dust with flour.)

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder). Combine all of the wet ingredients in another large bowl (applesauce, water, vanilla, vinegar, and oil).

Combine the dry mixture into the wet mixture in three additions, stirring well after each time.

Fill up the cupcake tins halfway. Bake at 180c for 25 to 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (If making a cake, 20 to 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.)

This makes 12 cupcakes!

Vegan vanilla coconut frosting – what you need:

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup (vegan) margarine, softened
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut milk

Vegan vanilla coconut frosting – what you do:

With an electric mixer (or extremely strong arm) beat the margarine until light and fluffy. Slowly add the confectioners sugar to the margarine, while beating consistently. It will become harder and harder to mix the sugar and margarine together around the second cup of confectioners sugar. At this time, slowly add in the coconut milk. You may need a touch more coconut milk, depending on the desired consistency. In this recipe I used two tablespoons. Blend well until thick and smooth.

As I mentioned previously, I also made this cake for a friend’s birthday. He’s a rad dude, totally obsessed with autobots (roll out!). He works for Fry’s Vegetarian Foods… and this is his blog, with a special mention to my cake! http://thefrysguy.com/?p=891

Shameless promotion: Fry’s food is ABSOLUTELY delicious, so if you’re lucky enough to live in a country where they sell it (WHY FRANCE, why?!)… check it out. Also on the blog and Fry’s website are recipe ideas. Mmm mmm good. Happy browsing : D.

Baking soundtrack: Tunes to inspire your inner baker.

Of Monsters and Men – Mountain Sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT3HrrrHzII

The XX (Matthew Dear Remix) – VCR: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9ECW-Dabn0

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Vegan Zucchini Brownies

4 Sep

When I was doing my bachelors in Economics, I was a slightly stressed person. Ok, very stressed. It was not atypical to find me huddled in the corner of my room locked in the fetal position after a calculus class. (Yes, I still have nightmares.)

Magically, I survived. I’m fairly certain I owe this feat to my excessive baking of muffins. Baking muffins = stress relief. Eating muffins = happiness. It’s a two-step process to becoming a “normal” person. I try.

So, back in the day I baked a lot of muffins. Since I was eating up to five muffins a day during this phase, I decided to make them healthy…err, at least healthier than the average muffin. I replaced a lot of the sugar with (homemade!) applesauce, and the oil and butter with yogurt. Most importantly, I devised this love for adding weird things into my muffins to eat more fruits and veggies! I tried everything: avocado-cornbread (amazing with a tart red jam on top), mango-cranberry-coconut, zucchini-apple, and carrot-raisin… I could go on, but instead I’ll get to the point: I LOVE VEGGIES IN CAKES! Surprising! But, fantastic. Plus, it’s totally healthy if some raw green veggie goes into your batter before baking it. Am I right, or am I right?

Thus, we come to the topic of the day: Zucchini Brownies (vegan, too!). I really wanted to adapt this recipe a bit, but I decided to make these fellows on the spur of the moment, thus didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand. However, they were delicious. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. … Meaning that I will make them again. Also, I used a cake pan. Not because they should be done in a cake pan, but because my oven can’t fit a normal baking pan… They turned out more cake-y, than brownie-y, but I’m fairly certain it’s because they were so thick. Luckily, I’m not one to complain about a delectable thick brownie.

Zucchini Brownies – What you need:

(adapted very slightly from http://www.lickthebowlgood.blogspot.fr/2012/06/special-brownies-because-im-getting-old.html.)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (I used unrefined)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups packed grated zucchini

Zucchini Brownies – What you do:

Preheat your oven to 180 C. Grease a baking pan (err, I used a cake pan, for I lack a proper baking pan… But any standard ((US sizing)) 9×13 inch baking pan should work well) with vegan margarine spread.

Mix together the dry ingredients. Stir in all of the wet ingredients. Mix well. The consistency will be VERY dry, but it’s fine because the zucchini will make the batter moist. Add the zucchini and stir until combined. (See? Moisture!)

Spread evenly into your pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack, then cut into brownie squares. (Or, if you’re lacking equipment like me, nifty geometrical brownie shapes!)

Since I’m new to this baking blog idea, I hope you will forgive me about the lack of prep pictures for these brownies. I was too busy licking the spoon and/or bowl to realize that I should be taking photos. Priorities, obviously.

 

Baking soundtrack: Tunes to inspire your inner baker.

Miike Snow – Animal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVWeqAPQUXc

The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN7HQrgakZU