Sunday, July 25, 2010

Martian Velvet

Red velvet cake topped with "cream cheese" frosting and red sprinkles

I love Mars and all of the "bad" sci-fi inspired by it (Stranded, Mission to Mars, the list goes on). Named after the Roman god of war because of its blood like color, iron oxide on the surface is responsible for giving Mars its reddish appearance.

Its been a while since I've updated my blog because a lot has been going on recently... I went to Vegas to visit the family and my darling baby, Gizmo. I also moved into a new apartment which was the most annoying and stressful move. Paul & I moved into another apartment in the same building (actually directly next door), sounds easy enough right? Wrong!! We had to move out of our former apartment on the 15th and couldn't move into our new apartment til the 18th so we had to move everything into storage only to move it all back to the same location just a couple of days later. I tried to be very efficient about packing at first then towards the end of the day things got messy (our old couch ended up getting tossed over the balcony, by accident of course)... Well the dust has finally settled and the wi-fi is up and running again which means... Martian Velvet Cupcakes!

These cupcakes were de-lic-ious as well as vegan. I used Tofutti's Better Than Cream Cheese for the frosting. The cakes had a great consistency and were very moist. Best of all, nobody was able to tell that they were vegan!

Vegan Red Velvet Cake:
(makes about 22, slightly adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World)
2 c soy milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 c flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 c vegetable oil
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 ounces red food coloring

Better Than Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 c Earth Balance, room temperature
1/2 c Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 c powdered sugar

I love these cupcake liners that match the red velvet cakes and my new red kitchen :-)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
2. In a large bowl, mix together vinegar and soy milk, set aside.
3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
4. Add vegetable oil, food coloring, and vanilla to soy milk mixture.
5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and beat until smooth.
6. Evenly distribute batter among baking cups and bake for 20 minutes.
7. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely frost and add a sprinkling of red sprinkles.

Beat the Earth Balance, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and beat until fluffy.

Gizmo loves cupcakes

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

Sirius A & Sirius B like.... PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY!

Vanilla cake with a jelly interior topped with peanut butter frosting

Sirius, which is the brightest star in the night sky is part of binary star system (compromised of Sirius A and Sirius B). Most stars are actually part of a binary star system! A mutual gravitational bond causes the two stars to elliptically orbit around one another. Sirius A is a white main sequence star while its companion, Sirius B is a faint white dwarf. Early in their lifespans, Sirius A & B were two bright bluish stars with Sirius B being the more massive of the two causing the star to quickly exhaust its resources eventually collapsing to a white dwarf star (~120 million years ago). Due to its prominence in the constellation Canis Major (Big Dog) Sirius is known as the Dog Star and the Ancient Greeks believed the appearance of Sirius foretold upcoming summer conditions therefore the season following Sirius' appearance became known as the Dog Days of Summer.

Let me just start by saying that I absolutely love these cupcakes! Peanut butter and jelly is a classic flavor combination that just can't be beat. As an added bonus, these delightful cupcakes are vegan! I cut back on the amount of sugar I put into the batter and instead opted to use a little agave nectar and maple syrup giving these cakes a warm rich taste without being overly sweet. I recommend using a high quality jelly to make them extra special, I used Bonne Mamman Four Fruit Preserves from Whole Foods.

I made these cupcakes to commemorate the 4th of July, I mean what is more American than a classic PB&J sandwich? I had a wonderful 4th of July, my friend Nick & I went on a fun road trip to Sulfur Springs (which is absolutely beautiful) and lounged in the hot springs for the better part of the day. We got some great Indian food for dinner and I must say that I never would have imagined that Indian food would be so tasty and authentic in a small mountain town. Then we finished off the day with fireworks in Winterpark.

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes:
I also think these cupcakes would be fabulous with a swirl of honey. Makes about 1 dozen.

Vanilla Vegan Cake:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/2 tablespoon light maple syrup
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup Earth Balance (or any vegetable oil spread), room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 - 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons coconut milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl combine agave nectar, maple syrup, coconut milk, oil, and vanilla.
4. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth.
5. Evenly distribute batter amongst baking cups and bake for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Once the cupcakes have cooled cut a dome (about 1 inch in diameter) into the center of the cake using a very sharp knife; cut the tip of the cone off and set the top aside.
7. Fill each cake with about 1/2 - 1 tablespoon of jelly and replace the cone tops to the cupcake.

A picture I snapped of Venus from my balcony while the cupcakes were baking (I know, I am a complete amateur at astro-photography!)

The final product.... yum!!

Beat the peanut butter, Earth Balance, and vanilla together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add milk until desired frosting consistency. Top each with a small dollop of jelly.

Nick & I at Sulfur Springs