Friday, September 2 was my birthday. I celebrated by taking the day off work, shopping, and baking myself cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.
The first batch I made was Dulce Sin Leche. I'd been wanting to try these caramel-inspired cupcakes but was uncertain how a vegan caramel would turn out. I should know better! They were nothing short of sublime. When I tried these, I declared them my favorite cupcake from the book.
The caramel Dulce Sin Leche that's used both as a topping and to mix into the batter before baking is a mixture of soy milk, soy milk powder, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and arrowroot to thicken. It's very caramel-y, and I liked eating it right off the spoon. The leftovers will be awesome over coconut milk ice cream.
The cupcake batter varies from the other cupcakes I've made from this book. The additions of brown sugar, coconut milk, and lemon zest bring a coconuty/caramely taste to the cupcake (I didn't taste the lemon though). Unfortunately, I underbaked them! So the cake sticks to the wrapper.
I'm not sure whether the Dulce Sin Leche topping should have been thicker, but it poured down the sides of the cupcake wrappers. The result is that these little cakes are extremely messy to eat; I had to use a fork. But they taste amazing: Moist, flavorful, and drenched in vegan caramel goodness.
The second batch I made was supposed to be Cappuccino Cupcakes with Espresso Creme.
First I made the Espresso Creme, which involves about 15 minutes of constantly stirring agar powder and arrowroot with soy milk until you have an extremely thick, sticky paste. Then you puree that in a blender with silken tofu, sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla extract. The result tastes like a really good coffee-flavored pudding.
When I went to make the Cappuccino Cupcakes, I realized I'd accidentally bought regular vanilla yogurt instead of vanilla soy yogurt. Oops! Good thing I checked (but bad that I supported the dairy industry :-( ). So instead, I made the Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes, which use the basic chocolate batter with espresso powder and coffee extract mixed in. The baked cupcakes had a very light mocha taste, so next time I may add more powder and extract, but the espresso powder made them extremely moist and really delicious.
I piped the Espresso Creme into the Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes.My kitty Orla supervised. Next I made the Coffee Buttercream Frosting that I'd made once before to go with Toasted Coconut Cupcakes. As with all the buttercreams from this book, it's delicious but so sweet it hurts my teeth and full of margarine and shortening that hurts my belly if I eat too much of it. I pipe big mounds of it for others but like mine best with a small dollop.When I tried one of the final Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes filled with Espresso Creme and topped with Coffee Buttercream Frosting, I declared these my favorite from the book! The cake was moist to begin with, but the Espresso Creme filling made it even more moist. And with Coffee Buttercream on top, they were sinfully amazing. In addition to these amazing cupcakes, I had some delicious birthday meals too. On my birthday my husband and I went to Abay, the Ethiopian restaurant in East Liberty. Abay continues to be one of my favorite restaurants in the city. We shared a platter of Inguday Wat (mushrooms and lentils in a spicy berbere sauce), Misir Wat (split red lentils in a berbere sauce), Tikil Gomen (lightly spiced cabbage, carrots, onions and tomatoes stewed in a mild sauce), and Ye' Abesha Gomen (kale, peppers, ginger, garlic and onions slow-cooked in a mild sauce). YUM!
On Saturday night, we ordered pizza from Spak Brothers. I don't usually eat fake cheese or meat (unless I make them myself) because I try to avoid such highly processed foods, so this was a real treat for me. To start, I got the Seitan Wings with Vegan Buffalo Sauce and Vegan Ranch Dressing. MMMMM! Even my carnivore husband liked them. Next I had Pizza with Soy Cheese and Veggie Pepperoni. Also delicious!
It's been a delicious birthday weekend, full of indulgent splurges. I enjoyed them, but I'm a little indulged-out and ready to get back to eating big bowls of steamed kale, sliced tomatoes, and watermelon!