Thursday, January 17, 2008

Adventures in Veganomicon:Caramel-Apple-Spice Cupcakes

So, I love to bake. And for some reason, vegan baked goods turn out better than most (most of the time). I think it's that Vegan chefs put in a little more of an effort to make sure something tastes spectacular, since there isn't all that lovely butterfat to hold onto the flavor. Locally, Oh! Sweet Mama's is sort of the best thing ever. I admit that I have a small addiction to their pecan-chocolate chip cookies, as they are more buttery and perfect than any other cookie around. There, I said it.

Oh yes...only available in 6 locations but so...tasty...

It's well known fact that Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero are sort of the queens of Vegan cupcakes. Their book "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" was a NY Times Bestseller, and I sort of covet it, even though it's teeny tiny and still has a mighty 15 dollar price tag. (Yes, I'm cheap).

Click to purchase a copy.

I'm happy to say, however, that my mother bought me the "Veganomicon" for my birthday. Already adored by food/vegan bloggers all over the world, this book has tasty vegan recipes with easy to get ingredients and extremely easy to follow instructions. I'm not a vegan, but enjoy vegan cuisine quite a lot due to it's whole grain adornment, meat-free qualities, and generous amounts of fruits and vegetables, something people of all food-eating-groups should get into, as it's the best way to live till you're 110 (according to Andrew Weil).

Frannie Loves the V'con.

Enough intro though, let's get onto the not-so-healthy but still vegan sweet cuppin-cakes!
(I'll give credit where credit is due here, but if it's a Faux Pas to post a recipe, those gals can eat it [pun intended], I'm still mad at them for making fun of my celebrity husband, Anthony Bourdain). My notes are marked with an asterisk.

(from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, pg. 252-3)

Thank you to my lovely hand model. Author of The G'st.


-2 firm, tart cooking apples such as Granny Smith Or Northern Spy *(I used what every I had around, I think it was Fuji).
-2 tablespoons (tbsp) brown sugar
-1 tbsp. vegan margarine *(Earth Balance)
-1 cup soy milk *(I buy unsweetened, so that you can control the amount of sugar you use, though vanilla or 'plain' would work fine here)
-1/3 cup canola oil
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon (tsp) grated lemon zest
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour *(I use king Arthur unbleached white)
-1 1/2 tsp baking soda *(yellow box)
-1/2 tsp baking powder *(red can)
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp cinnamon*
-1 tsp ground nutmeg*

*for these last 2 ingredients I use a blend called 'apple pie spice' and use about 1 1/2 tsp total.

Caramel-Penuche Frosting:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. vegan margarine
1 Tbsp. molasses
1/3 cup soy creamer or soy milk
2 Tbsp plain or vanilla soy milk powder *(After much searching, I still have NO idea what this is, and did not find whatever it is, so omitted).
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups confectioners' (powdered) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped, roasted peanuts for sprinkling (optional)


-12-cup capacity muffin pan or two 6-cup capacity muffin pans
-Chef's knife
-Cutting board
-Saute' (frying) pan
-Large mixing bowl
-Rubber Spatula
-Heavy bottomed saucepan
-Small Mixing bowl
-Whisk or Electric Mixer
-Small spatula or butter knife.
-Measuring cups and spoons.

*These steps are not as originally written for the sake of brevity.

1.)Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.)Core and dice apples to about 1/4 cubes.

3.)Heat brown sugar and margarine in pan over medium heat, stirring, until bubbling. Add apples and stir to coat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until apples have lost almost all their liquid. (12 minutes). Allow to cool.

4.)In the large bowl, beat together the soy milk and lemon juice and allow to sit for a moment to curdle. Add the oil, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla and beat well, either by hand or with an electric mixer. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir only until ingredients are moistened. Fold in the apples along with any remaining juices.

5.) Now, here it says to line your pans with cupcake liners, but unless you are dealing with really delicate cupcakes (which you aren't here), I say they are an environmental waste. However, if you do not have a fancy shmancy muffin pan that's non-stick like mine, you may want to stick with the liners. So, do one of those, I didn't use liners and used cooking spray, and then fill those suckers up about 3/4 of the way. Bake in your 350 oven for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

6.) When they are done, cool them on wire racks. If you followed my environmentally sound advice, you may want to take the muffin tin(s) with both hands (protected by oven mitts or something) and give the bottom of it a good WHACK on the table to loosen your cupcakes.

7.) Frosting time:Combine the sugar, margarine, molasses, soy milk, and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, remove from heat.

8.) Cool mixture slightly, then add half the confectioners sugar and vanilla, and beat in, either by hand or with electric mixer, for about 3-5 minutes, until creamy. Add the rest of the confectioners sugar, and beat in, until frosting has a thick, fudge like consistency. At this point I found that my frosting was a little too thick, so I added soy milk until it was the consistency I wanted.

9.) Spread quickly onto cooled cupcakes! Let rest and the frosting will have a satiny finish! DONE.

Is my blurry photo tempting you?

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