Pinstrosity in the Making

Idle hands and minds lead to unexpected results, no? (Which is precisely why I’m not blogging every day anymore… I’m suddenly busier.)

To start: we had a bake off at the studio on Friday. I wanted to explore my Pin Boards for something fun, but universally enjoyable by everyone. I opted to make the vegan red velvet cupcakes I made earlier last year, but wanted to switch them to a Blue Velvet cake instead. This is why.

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However, I also ended up with these by mistake/quick thinking.

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My downfall? I forgot how much red dye is actually needed to make red velvet cupcakes. I usually pour in a good tablespoon or three. For some reason, I thought that I needed less blue dye to make blue velvet.

Turns out that this:

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Plus this:

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Equals this ugliness on the left.

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Now, as you can see, I did end up with blue cakes. But that was some white cake box mix made with a cup of plain greek yogurt and a cup of water. (And then a lot of blue dye.) And then they were conveniently frosted electric blue canister frosting from Target. (Because I was just lazy at that point.)

But I had two dozen greenish brown cupcakes that were completely edible, but ewwww… gross.

So they became Grouches after some dairy-free frosting was made.

The recipe for the Mostly Vegan Cupcakes (dyed to your preference):

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar (I used organic cane… you can use vegan. Or Splenda. Or whatever.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (though, I probably would have preferred coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring (I didn’t go vegan on this. I’ve seen recipes put in as much as 2T of gel color or a bottle of dye.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, refined sugar, cocoa powder, sea salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, stir together the grape seed oil, milk, vanilla extract and food coloring. Stir the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients, then stir in the distilled white vinegar. Pour the batter into cupcake liners and bake for 18- 20 minutes or until cupcakes come out clean after a toothpick test.

For the frosting, I mixed one stick of Nucoa plus 2 cups+ of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of almond milk. Then dyed it. The problem with Nucoa is that it doesn’t really mix THAT well. But it doesn’t have soy additives either. If you can, use some other non-dairy spread like Earth Balance or whatever.

Taste verdicts:

The vegan cupcakes were really moist. I probably could have baked them a little longer and they would have been fine. The original recipe called for a 10 minute bake time and that was NOT enough. They also weren’t very sweet, which was nice.

The Greek Yogurt Box Mix wasn’t bad either. Just kind of had a chewy texture. It was a little bizarre honestly.

Frosting the cakes:

So – for the fuzzy Muppet-ness, I used a Wilton #233 tip (Grass) to frost the cakes. I used white chocolate candy melts for the eyes and then dotted them with some Wilton brown gel. I DID buy some edible writers which did NOT work on the white chocolate. (They are getting returned to the store.) If you have the patience to make and dye your own additional frosting, feel free. I didn’t. For Cookie Monster, shove half a Chips Ahoy cookie where the mouth should be and viola! A Muppet.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Melting Confidence

The hubs and I celebrated Valentine’s Day early because 1) crowds and prices are horrible on the 14th and 2) I’ve got another swing convention that starts up this Thursday.

Melting Pot is a chain of fondue restaurants. We ordered the four course meal, which included a cheese appetizer, a salad, meats for the entree, and of course, chocolate fondue. I’ve been running so well this week that I didn’t want to spoil it by eating a heavy meal. But we’ve been wanting to go back here on our own for a while so I figured what’s one night? I diligently avoided refined carbs until the final course. (So not a ton of bread, no potatoes, only fruits and veggies and meats.)

The waitress brings out the chocolate fondue menu. Conversation goes like this:

Her: “Here are the chocolate fondue selections. Let me know if you have any questions.”

Me, half joking: “I wish you had a sugar free version.”

Her: “Well that wouldn’t be any fun, now would it?”

Me: “………….”

To give her credit, she had no idea who she was dealing with. And if you walk into a fondue place that specializes in chocolate fondue, you should kind of expect that sort of response.

But she could have at least humored me a little bit, no?

Speaking of Valentine’s Day… have you donated to Spare a Rose yet?