“Rhymes with bacon, which we don’t eat. Because we’re vegan…” sang Rose, as we stood on the train platform, eager to begin our evening. We bristled with anticipation, and the warmth of a shared bottle of Prosecco–a welcome sensation in the brisk Berlin air that was chilling the train platform. Tonight was to be my formal introduction into the world of the famed Berlin nightclubs that Rose adores. Though it’s still not really my scene (despite my love of dancing), I was eager to traverse the dark corners of the nightclubs, as well as participate ever so slightly in the local drinking culture.
I feel like I’ve somehow managed to go overboard on the pumpkin this year, at least recipe-wise, which is funny since the pumpkin craze doesn’t really exist in Israel. All the sensory phenomena associated with pumpkin season in the US are absent here so far. It’s been almost continuously warm and sunny since my arrival in early October (much to my delight), so food cravings tend to be more for things that are light and fresh, rather than warm and comforting, rich with cinnamon, pumpkin, and other warming spices. Nevertheless, I had an idea for a second pumpkin themed cupcake that I was dying to try out. A cupcake spiked with a little bit of the ever popular pumpkin ale. I’m honestly not sure if pumpkin ales can be found here, but I had someone bring me back a bottle from the states for the sole purpose of making these cupcakes.
While these would definitely make an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table, I made these for a going away party for a friend who was moving back to Boston. They were a hit among all in attendance, which was more of a pleasant surprise not because I was worried about the combination of flavors, but because in making them in a borrowed kitchen, I lacked even such basic equipment as measuring cups. In the end, I guesstimated using a small disposable plastic cup (on which was writtenThis is 1 Cup), by assuming it was actually equivalent to about 6 oz, and measuring the ingredients from there. Luckily, ratios are really the most important part of baking, so despite my make-shift equipment, everything was in proportion.
Of course, I didn’t see any pumpkin puree in the grocery stores here, so for efficiency, I chose to use mashed sweet potato in the batter, which was equally nice. I also threw in some vegan white chocolate chips, mostly because we had them (and they’re so easy to find here!). The cupcake is topped with a salted maple buttercream and toasted pecans. I used pure maple syrup in the frosting since it was easier to request bottle of maple syrup from the US, rather than maple extract. The salt was added to counterbalance the sweetness of the maple and sugar combination. The pecans provide a buttery crunch that tops the cupcakes off perfectly. I would actually recommend choosing either the frosting or the white chocolate chips, since the chips made the batter a little bit more sweet than I would have liked.
Pumpkin Ale Cupcake:
- 1/2 c canned pumpkin puree (or mashed sweet potato)
- 3/4 c pumpkin ale
- 1/3 c oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 c all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 salt
- 1/2 c vegan white chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners
In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin, ale, sugar, oil, and and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir with a fork until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips if using.
Fill liners 2/3 full and baking for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick or thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
- 1 c vegan margarine ( or 1/2 margarine and 1/2 shortening)
- 1/3 c pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 c confectioners sugar
Put the maple syrup in a small saucepan of medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer 5-10 minutes until the syrup has reduced a bunch. You want it to be 1/4 c or less. Add a tablespoon or two of the margarine and let cool. Beat the margarine until fluffy, and add the sugar and salt. Beat until combined. Add the vanilla and the maple syrup. Beat til fluffy, then put in the fridge to set for about 15 minutes. Beat again before using.
Top cupcakes with maple frosting and toasted pecans.
- Better Than Buzzfeed’s Thanksgivikkuh Ideas (tipsyshades.wordpress.com)
I’ve gotten a lot of requests for a food blog in the last few years, and I figured the time was ripe to give in to peer pressure.
This is the “Irish Car Bomb” cupcake, named after the drink (I apologize if you find that drink offensive, but I didn’t make it up). I invented this recipe when I decided to enter the vegan bake-off last February. I think I applied too late (too late for another cupcake anyway), so I didn’t get to compete with it, but I did make it for fun several weeks later as a treat for my coworkers. I then improved on the recipe for my friends 21st birthday a few weeks after that.
This cake is all vegan, all the time. In fact, I considered calling this blog “The Olive Branch” because I feel like a plant based symbol of peace of was an appropriate description my cuisine. Alas, tea, booze and cupcakes have managed to take over, and this is the one that started it all.
This cupcake is a chocolate stout cake, with a Jameson chocolate truffle baked into the center, topped with a homemade “Bailey’s” (or I guess I could just say dairy free Irish creme) buttercream, and drizzled with a Jameson spiked dulce de leche. I know there’s no tea in these, but in order to get to tea time, I had to go through booze time.
I did adapt the cupcakes into a whole cake recently (yesterday) which made me realize that I’m not particularly fond of making whole cakes. From here on out, I will only be taking orders for cupcakes. And now, for the recipe. There are a lot of components, but most of them can be made well in advance.
A note on my cooking: when I cook, I generally tend not to have any kind of recipe, and to just dump things into a pot or pan and see what happens, but I can at least try to guesstimate proportions when I post stuff now. I do use actual recipes when I bake, so those are easier to provide, though they also still generally involve a fair bit of tweaking.
Dulce de (coco) leche (adapted from Alton Brown):
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
- Irish whiskey (I used Jameson)
Combine the coconut milks, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds into a size pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the baking soda (the mixture bubbled up quite violently when I did this, so I would definitely lower the heat first). Bring back to a gentle simmer, and cook for an hour, stirring occasionally. After an hour, remove the vanilla bean, and then continue to cook until it is a dark caramel color, about 2 hours. Turn off the heat and incorporate the whiskey. The thicker the mixture, the stronger you can make it (since you can use the whiskey to thin it out). Strain through a fine mesh sieve and allow to cool. Serve on cupcakes or ice cream (or on a spoon…or finger as was the case last night). Store in the fridge (I keep mine in a squeeze bottle).
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk
- 1 can of light coconut milk
- 1/2 cup of sugar (brown sugar works too!)
- 3/4 cup espresso or strong coffee (I used a heaping tablespoon of instant coffee dissolved into 3/4 cup hot water
- 1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
- Whiskey to taste (about 1 cup, but really, make it as strong as you want it)
Combine the sugar and coconut milks in a pot and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until just slightly reduced, and stir in the coffee mixture. Remove from heat and add the whiskey. Enjoy over ice, stirred into coffee, hot chocolate, soy milk! Store in the fridge.
Jameson chocolate truffles (adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen)
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk, with the cream stirred in
- 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet (or bittersweet) chocolate, either chips or chopped
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 shots worth of whiskey
Warm coconut milk in a sauce pan over medium heat, until barely boiling. Add chocolate and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla, salt and whiskey. Pour in a pie plate or loaf pan and chill until firm. Form into walnut sized balls, using a tablespoon and freeze until ready to use. If you want a stronger truffle, I would reduce the amount of coconut milk before adding more Jameson because we want the ganache to set up firm.
Cupcakes (adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsps all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder (I prefer Cocoa Rouge by Guittard. It has a really deep chocolatey flavor that is exceedingly smooth, rather than bitter)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup stout (I used Brooklyn Brewery chocolate stout. Most Guinness is not vegan in the US)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and fill a cupcake tin with liners.
Combine the milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and let stand (to curdle just a little) while you work on the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Combine the milk mixture with the stout, sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir together until foamy and well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing until well combined, about 2 minutes. Distribute the batter evenly among the cupcake tin, so each is about 3/4 of the way full. Place a frozen truffle on top of each cupcake, and bake about 18-22 minutes. The cake should spring back lightly at your touch. It will not be possible to use the toothpick test for doneness because of the truffle, which should have become encased in batter while baking. Let cool before frosting.
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance (I prefer sticks for frosting)
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp espresso powder
- 1 tbsp whiskey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup vegan Irish Cream
Beat together shortening and margarine until fluffy. Add sugar and cocoa pwder and beat a few minutes longer, until well combined. Then add the espresso powder, whiskey, vanilla and “Baileys” Beat together about 5 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
To assemble: either pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Drizzle with dulce de leche. Eat and repeat.
Here’s a picture of the full sized cake version. Making this was definitely a case of Murphy’s Law, as one thing after another tried to trip me up. Tweaks I made to convert this include adding more liquid as well as some Earth Balance into the ganache, so as to make it spreadable. Turned out, even though I loved the consistency, I think I over filled the layers, and ended up with ganache oozing out into the icing, so that’s where the chocolate shavings came in. The writing was dulce de leche mixed with confectioner’s sugar in order to stiffen it up a little bit. The birthday boy and friend thought it looked great (though I would have liked to make a cleaner presentation of it), and gave me ultimate praise for taste.
Whew! Well that was quite the recipe typing marathon. I promise I don’t always make stuff that is this complicated, but I can promise it will always be delicious!