Tuesday, May 22, 2012

blue velvet cupcakes (vegan)

I’m not vegan, however I think it is a good idea to have at least one vegan recipe on hand for a vegan guest or hostess. I attended my hubby’s friend’s birthday “surf-n-turf” bash, along with my family, over the weekend and wished I had brought these cupcakes along. His friend’s house is a newly built Green Home in Malibu. It’s certainly dramatic with a tranquil Zen ambiance and gardens. 

We arrived early and the appetizers were still being put out onto the table. I was surprised to see the table being filled with jars of hemp seeds, organic oats and hummus, and a bunch of other unrecognizable super healthy items. I had no idea my hubby’s friend’s wife had turned her family organically vegan. Next time we visit my hubby’s friend, I will be bringing these cupcakes along…they maybe the only thing that I end up eating. 

I have always assumed that vegan desserts were dry and tasteless, until I tried these cupcakes. They are so flavorful and moist!  My hubby took one bite and said “I've been converted to vegan cupcakes only from now on”.

Fresh blueberries are pureed into a juice.  This juice provides a deep rich color, no need to use chemical induced food coloring.  Vegan "cream cheese" is used in making the frosting.

These cupcakes have a hint of fruit flavor from the blueberries and are super moist and very chocolaty.

Morgan, my daughter Gigi's friend
As a stepmother, I try to encourage my two teenage daughter’s decisions to eat healthier.  I do my best to shop for organic foods for our home.

Gigi, my daughter

A couple of years ago, inspired by a classmate, my oldest stepdaughter, Melia (not pictured), decided to turn vegan (Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products) for two weeks. I wasn’t sure what the vegan diet consisted of and was very unprepared to provide her with vegan meals. Poor Melia, she habitually ate steamed rice and vegan ice cream for those two weeks. Now, if my youngest stepdaughter, Gigi, ever decides to try out veganism, I will be better prepared.

Gigi and her friend Morgan were my beautiful models and cupcake tasters. They both had no idea how amazing these vegan cupcakes were going to taste. I could tell that they were very eager to try the cupcakes, because really, who doesn’t love a cupcake, but were a bit cautious due to the “organic and vegan” factor. Once they took their first bites, they didn’t come up for air until their cupcakes disappeared.

I plan on adding additional organic and vegan recipes to my blog. You don’t have to eat organic or vegan all the time, but it does help to slowly incorporate some of these healthy items to your diet. I refuse to go as far as to serve hemp seeds as appetizers, but I will keep encouraging my family to eat healthier.

Blue velvet cupcakes (vegan)

Adapted from Vegan Desserts, by Hannah Kaminsky
Makes 12 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
12 ounces blueberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3-cup canola oil
1-cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
1-teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1-teaspoon apple cider vinegar

For the frosting:
1 8-ounce package Vegan "cream cheese"
¼ cup non-dairy margarine
1-cup powder sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
12 raspberries, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake papers.

Rinse and dry the blueberries. Toss them all into a food processor and let the machine run until the berries are completely pureed. Using a spatula, press the pulp through a fine-meshed strainer to remove all of the seeds, extract as much of the liquid as you can. You should end up with approximately 1 cup of blueberries juice. If your measurement is a bit scant, add water until you reach 1 cup.

In a mixer or large bowl, combine the blueberry puree, sugar, and oil. Stir vigorously to emulsify and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda, and salt. Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing until combined. Add the vanilla and then the vinegar last, mixing briefly and then quickly spooning out the batter into the prepared cups.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, you can make the frosting by simply beating together the cream cheese and margarine until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla then whip on high speed for a minute or two, until light and creamy. Apply frosting to cupcakes as desired and top each with a raspberry.

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