It's the night before my boyfriend's birthday and i've procrastinated. I've bought him a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine and ordered a Guided By Voices record for him through Amazon (because i've been to busy or lazy to go shopping). It's pretty bad i admit, and the gifts are pretty impersonal. It's especially shameful since i really would like to show him my appreciation for the fact that he was brought into existence. So here it is 8:30pm on a warm friday night and i'm left with only my kitchen skills to try to impress the man. Hopefully the old adage 'a way to a man's heart is through his stomach' is still valid. AND HOPEFULLY this meat eating, dairy loving, wheat monger will be inpressed with a vegan, gluten free version of what's supposed to be his birthday cake...or rather cupcakes.
The good news is that they turned out pretty darn tastey (mind you i sampled it warm out of the oven, and really anything warm out of the oven is beyond fabulous especially when it involves chocolate.) Here's what i'm thinking....the boy likes to drink. So if i slip him a birthday cocktail BEFORE his cake, he might not think to ask me what the shreds of veggies inside are...or if its 'vegan' or 'gluten free': all words that don't necessarily mean no flavor, but rather an implication that it could not possibly be as good as if it had come from lard and refined wheat. I tried my hand at these cupcakes earlier in the week for my girlfriend's birthday, and of course i asked everyone if they were blog worthy. The reviews were mixed from 'Awesome - i'm taking one for the road' to 'they're good, but i think they need something else...nuts?'. I agree that the texture did have a bit of a sponge like dough quality...but even so the boyfriend (who got the last few scraps of cupcake) approved of them. So this go around i put the 'something else' in: carrots, zuchinis, walnuts, and coconut (See...they are good for you, or at least less bad for you than a cupcake without vegetables) and i must admit, now they are blog worthy.
|this is the first batch with just pumpkin and chocolate (no veggies)|
|deliciously melted and goey from the chocolate chunks right out of oven|
Oh and PS - i'm not the best baker. I'm better at putting together raw food, or cooking veggies, or whipping up gourmet style salads. My mom's no betty crocker either (probably where i get my lack of baking skills - it's genetic right?), and while she did bake, it was often from a box. The times it was from scratch it might have included crisco or an enormous amount of butter or heavy oil....all things i wouldn't even conceive of adding to my baked goods. So as you can imagine, when i'm going to bake something, i often opt for a prepackaged item, and then try to doctor it up to limit the fats and make it more healthy (if that's even possible). This is exactly the program i used for these cupcakes. Here is a list of the ingredients:
1 package of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix
3/4 of a 15oz can of organic pumpkin puree
a few dashes of cinnamin and a couple dashes of garam masala
1 carrot and 1 zucchini shredded (it was about 1 and 1/4 cup of each)
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 a bag of ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate morsels
Now...you don't really need icing - these are great as is. However, since it's for my boyfriend's birthday i decided to try my hand at a little topping.
for the icing/topping:
part of a box of Dr Oetker's boxed organic icing mix (basically all sugar)
Virgin Coconut Oil (softened, but not liquified)
a pinch of rice milk
chunks from a dark chocolate bar
Let's get the cupcakes going:
Set your oven at 325 degrees. Place the vanilla cake mix in a big mixing bowl and add the spices and pumpkin puree. Stir well to combine. Add the vegetables and coconut and stir well into cake mix. Gently fold in the walnuts and chocolate morsels. Line a cupcake sheet with foil liners and mist lightly with oil. Fill the cupcake tins up to the top, bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
|this is boyfriend's birthday batch with carrot, zuch, coconut, walnut, and chocolate|
For the icing, i simply mixed the ingredients listed in a bowl and stirred well. It's not incredibly smooth, but i'm only using a little and it'll do the trick. You could easily leave the icing off...they are already tastey treats.
When the cupcakes are done let them cool completely before you ice, or the icing will melt off of the cupcake. Dab a little scoop of icing over top each one and top with a chocolate bar chunk and dusting of coconut shreds.
One last note. Since this blog was originally composed, both my boyfriend, his parents, and myself have had the cupcakes and all of us are impressed. I personally am having a hard time keeping away from his birthday treat because they are so unbelievably delicious. Even the non vegan boyfriend who was a bit skeptical of a gluten free, vegan cake this year has raved about them and said "these really are amazing!" :)
*You could omit the chocolate if you wanted a less sweet, less fat option.