|Birthday Cupcake Test|
However, when I was looking for recipes, we thought she was allergic to both dairy and soy, so I found this simple recipe for Vegan Chocolate Cake. It works really well as cupcakes, and I added a teaspoon of cinnamon just to make it interesting.
I've made them twice now, and they come out great each time. The fascinating thing is that they don't have any dairy or eggs - they just use baking soda and vinegar for leavening.
Personally, I don't care for frosting. I like plain cake donuts, and I've asked frou-frou cupcake joints to give me unfrosted cupcakes. But some people think it's heresy to have an unfrosted cupcake so I figured I should research frosting recipes since other people besides BabyT and me are going to eat these birthday cupcakes.
Dairy-free frosting recipes are harder to find. A lot of them use Crisco, which is just gross, or lots of eggs. BabyT is ok with eggs so far, but I didn't want to overload her with a ton of egg whites since they're pretty allergenic. We haven't yet given her a whole egg, though she's definitely had things with egg in them.
So I was quite pleased to find this Vegan Chocolate Frosting recipe. BabyT and I made a trip to Whole Foods to buy the good dark chocolate (Scharffenberger) and grapeseed oil.
I can't recall if I've ever made frosting before. If I needed some, I used that nasty shelf-stable Betty Crocker stuff in a tub (shudder) or just made a simple powdered sugar glaze. The stuff I made today was *serious* frosting.
I melted the chocolate into the oil in the microwave instead of a saucepan, so that I could use the same glass bowl for freezing and whipping the mixture.
It turns out that I shouldn't have bought unsweetened chocolate, because it took a ton of the agave nectar plus some additional powdered sugar to make the frosting mix sweet enough (and I prefer things to be not that sweet!). Next time, I'll try the bittersweet or maybe even the semi-sweet.
I had a small hiccup at the whipping stage - when I froze the mix for 15 minutes and then used my hand mixer to beat it, it turned all gross and oily. I was very depressed (that was some expensive chocolate!) but figured I'd stick it back into the freezer for a while as per some of the comments on the recipe post.
Bingo! With about 40 minutes in the freezer, the mixture hardened, and then when I beat it, it turned into a gorgeous, fluffy light brown frosting. It was an amazing transformation.
I frosted some using a spatula, and those looked fine, too, so that's probably what I'll do for BabyT's birthday cupcakes. At Whole Foods, I bought some pink nonpareils, which are colored with beet juice. I don't really get the idea behind "natural" junk food. I mean, you're decorating a cake, which isn't exactly health food, so who cares if the tiny sprinkles are made from all natural ingredients or not?
So I think we have a winner here, both with the cupcakes and the frosting. We're having two parties for her - one with her baby friends here in Seattle, and the family party in Tucson, so I'll get to make these cupcakes twice more.
Any tips on using the pastry bag? I was trying to get an elegant swirly cone of frosting on top of the cupcakes but I'm not sure how to do that. Mamas out there, what did you make for your baby's first birthday?