Wednesday, March 3, 2010

vegan carob cupcake with coconut and hawaiian sea salt

I'm continuing on my poor girl's culinary journey of trying out new dishes with random ingredients that I've had sitting in my cupboard in need of attention. It really forces you to be more creative in this hard economic time. ( I'm in the process of making my own mustard and mayonnaise-so easy and cheap-which I'll write more about later) It's also so therapeutic creating a tangible item and clearing space in the kitchen.

I adapted this recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Instead of using cocoa powder, I used carob. Carob tends to give baked goods more of an earthy flavor that can be a bit on the dry side. Therefore, I  made a vanilla bean cake soak that adds moisture to the cupcake and gives it an awesome vanilla/sugary kick without being too over-the-top-frosting sweet. Using an actual vanilla bean makes all the difference. They're a bit pricey, but way worth it when you wanna make something special. Adding the sea salt plays well with the sweetness. (I had some leftover from when I went to Maui, but any coarse sea salt will do) Who doesn't love sweet and salty combined?! Think of a more refined chocolate-covered pretzel!

Carob Cupcakes: 

1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vinegar ( I used apple cider, don't use balsamic!)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup carob flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Or use ceramic ramekins and simply oil with a bit of canola oil. Whisk soy milk and vinegar and let sit in a small bowl for about 10 minutes to curdle and get a bit thick. Meanwhile, sift flour, carob, baking soda and powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add thickened soymilk and sugar, canola oil and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly until all large lumps are gone and spoon into paper muffin liners until 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick is inserted in center and comes out clean, or about 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack for a bit. 

Vanilla Soak: 
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 vanilla bean

Put 1/2 cup water, the sugar, and the oil in a small pot. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use a small sharp knife to scrape the seeds into the pot. Add the pod as well. Cook at a slow bubble, whisking mixture frequently, until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature, then remove and discard the pod. 

Pour the soak over the individual cupcakes and let sit for an hour. 

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