Sunday, September 26, 2010

Capital Cupcake Camp 2.0! (Vegan Mint Chocolate Cupcakes)

Today was Capital Cupcake Camp 2.0 at Ottawa's City Hall in benefit of Women Alive and The Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa. The event was a huge success, raising over $6,000.  There were over 100 amateur and professional bakers there offering up tasty, unique, and beautiful cupcakes.  It was a very fun event and I definitely plan to participate again next year in Cupcake Camp 3.0!

I entered as an amateur baker and decided to try to make Vegan cupcakes as a challenge to myself.  Today was my very first attempt at any type of Vegan baking.  The inspiration was this recipe (non-Vegan) and I adapted it based on some research into Vegan baking techniques. I admit that I was quite surprised by the results, and how moist the cake was despite having no eggs. The frosting turned out well too and the overall result was quite delicious!

Vegan category

Being interviewed by China Doll


Vegan Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
Yields 2 Dozen


2 cups sugar
1 ¾ cups flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup soy milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
½ cup boiling water

Chocolate Ganache

6 oz. dark chocolate chips (dairy free)
1 cup soya cooking cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Mint Icing

½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup Earth Balance buttery spread
3 ¾ cup confectioners sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. mint extract
3 oz. soya cooking cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

FOR THE BATTER: In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the soy milk, oil, vanilla and vinegar, mix for 2 min. Stir in the boiling water. Batter will be thin. Pour into cupcake liners (about 3/4 full). Bake for 12-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.

FOR THE GANACHE: Chop chocolate and transfer into a heat proof bowl.  Heat  soya cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour soya cream over the chocolate.  Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.  Add vanilla and salt. Stir until combined.   Let cool until at spreading consistency.

FOR THE FROSTING: To make the frosting, mix together the shortening and Earth Balance spread, until smooth. Add powder sugar, mix well. Add salt, vanilla, mint extract and soya cream and blend on low speed until moistened. You can add more powder sugar for a firmer frosting. Beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy.  Using a pastry bag, pipe the frosting on top of the ganache (if you don’t have a pastry bag, fill a Ziploc and cut a tip).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spicy Lime Fajitas

Two nights in a row this weekend, N and I made fajitas. The first night we made beef fajitas and cheated, using an Old El Paso fajita mix. The second night we decided that since we had all the ingredients still, we would try to make our own chicken fajitas. The marinade was a bit of an invention and the result was spicy, lime-y goodness. This is a really, really easy and fast meal and very tasty as well. 

Spicy Lime Chicken Fajitas

2 chicken breasts, sliced
1 bell pepper
(You could use onions too)
Soft tortillas

2 whole limes, juiced (so excited that I got to use my "new" old fashioned juicer)
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. sugar

Mix ingredients together and pour over sliced chicken strips in a plastic bag. Let marinate in the fridge for 20 minutes (or more). 

Cook chicken in a frying pan or skillet on medium/med-high heat. Once chicken is almost fully cooked, turn down heat a little and add sliced peppers (and onions if using). While the chicken is cooking, heat tortillas in the oven on 400.

Assemble fajitas with your choice of toppings:
Hot Sauce
Sour Cream

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

My mom (the other K... who is slacking in her posting!) was talking about making stuffed zucchini the other day for dinner while we were on the phone. I knew that I had a recipe somewhere in my collection for turkey stuffed zucchini, so I promised her that I'd send it on to her. In the process, I got to thinking that I'd really like to have stuffed zucchini for dinner that evening as well, so decided I'd duplicate the recipe on my side of the continent. The results were better than expected and thanks to my sous-chef Mr. King (have to get the K in there), the stuffed zucchini turned out to be a lovely dinner (and lots of leftovers for lunch!).

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

2 large zucchini (we used the normal kind, the original recipe used round zucchini)
1+ lb. lean ground turkey
1/3 lb. ground Italian sausage
2-3 tbsp. tomato paste (get the good stuff, I always have this on hand for soups anyways)

Add to taste:
Fresh basil
Red chili pepper flakes (for spiciness)

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Slice the zucchini length-wise and scoop out the insides with a spoon (be sure to leave the shells sturdy enough for filling later). Set aside zucchini "guts" and chop into smaller chunks for later.

Place the zucchini open side up on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes (continue to check though).

While the zucchini is baking, brown turkey and sausage in a frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add water to keep from sticking to the pan, but don't add any cooking oils. After the meat is browned, add the remaining zucchini and seasonings (peppers) and cook on medium. Add the tomato paste last to thicken the juices.

Remove shells from the oven and fill with meat mixture. Serve.
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