We tried it. Being vegan. We could not do it. While I could probably give up meat, it was impossible to give up cheese and eggs. I love both way too much, and the fake vegan version of cheese just does not compare. I am my father’s daughter. My dad was all about cheese (even if he probably at the time was not “cultured” in his cheese knowledge — no pun intended). With that all in mind, I love finding recipes, especially desserts that have the core of the ingredients inclusive of coconut milk and creme because it is so much better for you. This recipe is vegan and almost gluten-free, (if you can find a substitute for the flour). Maybe I will try to recreate into a gluten-free version. These cupcakes were good, and super moist (ugh I hate that word, but it is true). The frosting was not that sweet which is just the way I like it.
Cupcakes: 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted (we used dark chocolate cocoa powder)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces coconut cream, chilled overnight*
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, and coconut oil until incorporated. It you are making it in the summer you might need to slightly warm the coconut oil (depending on where you live). Since it is warm here, no need to do so as my coconut oil is not solid right now. Stir in vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour the coconut milk mixture in the middle of the dry ingredients. Stir until dry ingredients are just incorporated (do not overmix).
Spoon into liners, filling each with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
For whipped coconut cream, spoon solid coconut out of can, discarding any remaining liquid in the bottom (or reserve for another use). Place in a chilled mixing bowl (keeping it cold is key here!) and beat on high-speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth and holds soft peaks. It won’t firm up quite like whipped cream. Return to refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up slightly.
Frost cupcakes with a thin layer of coconut cream. It’s pretty lose, so it won’t hold huge swirls like buttercream. Dollop a bit of frosting on top of the cupcake, then dip top in a bowl of shredded coconut. The coconut will help hold the frosting in place.
Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days.
Note: We did not read early enough that the coconut cream needs to be chilled overnight. So we made the cupcakes at night and finished the frosting the next morning. Breakfast anyone?
*You can also use full fat coconut milk but will need twice as much. Refrigerate at least 24 hours until thoroughly chilled. When you open the can, spoon off the solid layer of coconut at the top; this is what you will use to make the frosting. Any liquid at the bottom of the can can be discarded or reserved for another use. Note that if you use full-fat coconut milk instead of coconut cream, you may need 2 cans to get enough cream for the frosting.
I have been stressed out lately. Lots happening at work. Lots happening at home. Last week I think I hit my limit and decided it was time to shift priorities and re-focus a bit. Then I found this quote, “Stressed Spelled Backwards is Desserts.”
It got me thinking in a deeper way, maybe feeling stressed is not always a bad thing. So often we try to cram every possible moment of our day full of doing things. Accomplish, accomplish, accomplish. Get it done. I know I often do. A full day of work, a good run, a blog post, more work, oh and somewhere in there is a bit of eating (or a lot depending on the day). That does not sound like too much, and yet some days it is exhausting. Last week I had one of those days. I came home and was wiped out. No run and no work was happening for me. I changed into comfy pajamas and curled up on the couch in front of the plethora of television shows I am behind on for some mind numbing entertainment. My dessert after feeling stressed.
My hope is that each time we are stressed out, it gives us pause to slow down. To look again at our priorities and find out how they can be shifted, changed, and balanced. How can we turn our life from feeling stressed to pampering and taking care of ourselves? Is stress really a way for our bodies and minds to tell us that we have had enough? That it is time for a much-needed break? Or that it is time to pull out the desserts, put our feet up and relax a little?
About 10 years ago, Chris and I had just begun our first stint at sharing a living space. We had a lot figured out in terms of keeping things clean and organized, sharing responsibilities, and roles in our home. One area that was not as clear was the kitchen. Chris loved to cook and had always been adventurous to try to recreate amazing food that he had experienced in restaurants in New York, and other cities he had traveled to around the country. Let’s just say he wowed me with what he could do in the kitchen.
Since I am a bit competitive (okay very competitive), I wanted to show him I could cook too. I decided to make pasta with pesto for dinner one night. For those that read my blog recently, I spent many summers learning how to bake (and follow a recipe). I was not a complete cooking novice, but some of you may agree with me, that following a recipe for cooking can be different from following a recipe to bake something. I made a mistake that altered my future forever. Although some may say it was a good mistake, it has meant I no longer make the main courses for meals in our home. I am the sous chef or the baker and dessert maker.
My mistake: adding an entire head of garlic to the pesto I was making rather than one CLOVE of garlic. Chris was an angel. Maybe it was because he was balancing the boundaries and newness of the beginnings of a relationship, or maybe he just is truly an angel. HE ATE THE PESTO…and, smelled like garlic for days. I did not want to be near him. I wanted to create something for him in the kitchen, made a mistake in the ingredient, and lived to smell it for days.
What it did to us? He started doing all the cooking. I learned to just let him alone in the kitchen. If I try to talk to him while he is cooking, and I bring up our conversation later, he will have no recollection or remembrance that the conversation ever took place. So. We altered life. He cooks. I go into my writing world while he cooks. It all works out. The way I balance this wonderful gift in my life is to occasionally bake breads and yummy desserts. I would do it more often, but while the sugar goodness tends to do nothing to Chris, it tends to add wobbly bits to my body. He will have to be okay with occasionally.