Monday, August 30, 2010

Back from the windy city

Hi there! Did I mention my birthday was last week? August 26th to be exact. I was very happy with the turnout of the day :D

I made the one thing in my Vegan with a Vengeance Book that I've always been intimidated by: The actual cupcake

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 3 T cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup rice/soy milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350'F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners, spray the liners with oil.

In a medium sized bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and powder, cocoa powder, and salt. In a larger mixing bowl combine the milk, oil, sugar, maple syrup, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat at a medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, add the dry ingredients into the wet in batches, mixing as you go. Beat for a minute longer.

Use wet ice cream scoops to fill the liners 3/4 full. Bake for about 25-28 minutes, Until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack, and make sure they are COMPLETELY cooled before applying any icing.

Fluffy White Icing

1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
3/4 cup superfine (or caster) sugar
2 T plain soymilk powder
pinch salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (get the highest quality you can, the kind that̢۪s thick and syrupy tastes best)

In a medium mixing bowl, beat together margarine and shortening with an electric beater on medium speed until well combined. Add the sugar and soy milk powder and beat for a good 10 minutes until very fluffy. Add vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, beat for another minute. You may want to do a little taste test and add a little more sugar if needed.

Chocolate Ganache Icing

1/3 cup soymilk
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
In a small sauce pan, scorch the milk (bring it to a boil) then lower the heat to a simmer and add the chocolate and syrup. Mix with a rubber spatula for about 30 seconds. Turn heat off, continue stirring until the chocolate is fully melted and the icing is smooth.

Royal Icing for the squiggle
2 cups powdered (icing, confectioners) sugar
2 tablespoons soy milk powder
2 tablespoons water
Sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the soymilk powder. Add one tablespoon of the water and stir, then add the other tablespoon of water, a little bit at a time until you reach a consistency slightly more solid than toothpaste. The icing should not be drippy at all, if it is at a little more sugar.
You will need two cake decorators bags. One fitted with a small hole tip (the kind you use for writing) and one fitted with a large star or circle shaped tip. Fill the large tip one with fluffy white icing, fill the writing one with royal icing. Poke a hole in the center of each cupcake using your pinky. Cram the fluffy white icing in the hole and squeeze to get as much into the center as you can, slowly lifting the bag, until the icing fills to the top. Wipe the excess icing off of the top of the cupcake with a napkin or (if your me) your finger.

Dip the top of each cupcake into the chocolate ganache icing. Tilt the pan to add more depth to the icing for easier cupcake coating. Place all the cupcake on a cutting board, make some room in your fridge and put the cupcakes in there to set the ganache, about 10 minutes.Use these 10 minutes to practice your squigglies for the tops. I use one my left hand to steady my writing hand by holding onto my right wrist. Practice a bit and see what works for you.Remove the cupcakes from the fridge and make your squiggles on the top. Return to the fridge to set, I like to keep them in there till I'm ready to serve them.

They were so freaking delicious. The creamy buttery frosting in the middle made it, and they were so realistic. They werent really THAT hard in my opinion.
We went out to one of my favorite restraunts, Jerusalem Garden, for my birthday dinner. I ordered the hummus appetizer with pita and veggies, plus the tabbouleh. I had a grape leaf, A falafel (!) and plenty of this tahini dressing on veggies and everything else I could get my hands on . We were outside so the lighting was hit or miss, unfortunatley. :(

A little while ago I made a "taco" with an ezekiel tortilla with hummus and veggies on the inside. I folded it over and toasted it, it (unexpetedly) created a shell!

Oh yeah! You're probably wondering about the title. Well, I went to chicago with my friend Daphne and my parents as a spontaneous birthday trip. YAY!
One hour into chicago, I found a grocery store.

Thanks Mom & Dad for taking us to Chicago! I had such a great time with Daphne, shout out to you if your reading. She got me rare John Mayer recordings that are uber-hard to find, and I feel soo special! We are die hard fans, if you didn't know/have already figured it out...Anyways. Thats all for now guys :D Hope you enjoyed this really long post...I wanted to blog in Chicago but I had forgotten my camera cord :/ Oh well!


  1. Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had a great trip. I love Chicago! I've only been there once, but it was a blast! :) Your cupcakes sound super yumdillyumptiuous too! ;)

  2. aww thanks :D The cupcakes were...yumdillyumptious (?)

  3. whoah those cupcakes look so delish! i saw a pic of them as i was browsing through the book at a local bookstore..something i would definitely want to make!
    looks like you had an awesome trip..chicago is for sure on my list of cities i would like to visit!