Please go vote for the Solaris Cupcake at Conunundrum Cupcakery!!

IronCupcake Coffee voting is open! Please vote for my tasty Solaris cupcakelisted under Conundrum Cupcakery! Voting is on the right side bar behind this link. You may vote for up to three cupcakes, but why bother? Just vote for the best: Solaris!

You can read the original Solaris: the Cosmic Coffee Cupcake Post here or read the brief synopsis below!

The Solaris Cupcake is best eaten before 10 AM,but delicious at any time of the day!Many beautiful cupcakes are guilty of being either overbearingly sweet or deathly bland. The rich ganache and the tender cake of the Solaris are instead tempered by the bittersweet flavor of the candied orange and complimented by the cinnamon spice and orange extract. The resulting flavor of the Solaris neither overwhelms nor bores, but rather each bite of this delectable cupcake gently awakens and satisfies your senses. The cupcake is truly cosmic and absolutely perfect alone or with a rich cup of fresh coffee.

P.s. More on Conundrum coming soon

VeganDads Creamy Mac and Cheeze

Earier this week I came across a blog that really caught both my eye and my tastebuds! On Tuesday I was looking to make use of tofu, quinoa and sweet potatoes (In the name of Foodwaste Reduction), so I tossed the ingredients into Google and came up with this recipe for Cajun Quinoa.  Last night I made the Mac and Cheeze. Now over the years I have tried several mac and cheese recipes sans cheese and never found one that Id willingly make again. This time around I am super happy to have leftovers and this meal will definitely earn a place in our meal rotation!

I did make a few adjustments to the recipe as I used oat milk instead of soy (we try to only eat minimally processed soy products: tofu, miso, etc.) and no sunflower seeds, because we think Baby Green Me is mildly allergic to them. I also baked the recipe with some bread crumbs and vegan rella on top, as Vegan Dad said he thought this might be good, but hed not yet tried it baked. I love baked mac and cheese and had never myself baked any variety before and it was a definite winner.

What makes it a winner? Creamy rich flavor and both Daddy and Baby Green Me chowed down (both the quinoa and the Mac and Cheeze). I even used some of the Cheeze sauce for a veggie dip to hold Baby Green Me at bay while I was making dinner. I also love the variety of nutrients from proteins to good fats found in this Mac and Cheeze compared to your average mac and cheese recipe. To round out our meal we also had some ancient shitake mushrooms from the fridge (rehydrate in a cup of almost boiling water for about 20 minutes) sauteed with baby bok choy and a nice cool(and local) Dales Pale Ale from our storage room/beer/wine cellar.

On a side note, I think one of the things I love about Vegan Dads recipes is that he seems to put paprika in everything, which is something I never do, but that my grandmother has always claimed is her trick to delicious food. Whenever someone asks her why a particular meal is so good, her standard reply is oh, I tossed some paprika in!

I think that the next recipe I am going to try is the one for Ruben Sandwiches. I absolutely adore a good ruben and about ten or twelve years ago there used to be a vegetarian restaurant in Boulder that made a delectable one, but I havent had another since then!

Any who, I have added VeganDad to my RSS feed and if you are looking for lots and lots fo wonderful green and or vegan eating ideas you should too!

Moist, chewy and vegan Corn Bread

One of my favorite meals growing up was chili and corn bread. This was a meal often prepared by my father. My mom did most of the cooking, so I think his foray into the kitchen made it extra special. To make a perfect cornbread my Dad always used the recipe on the side of the Quaker Yellow Cornmeal can. The bread always turned out golden, a little bit chewy and slightly moist.

Despite the fact that my mom is the expert chef in my parents household, the only food that she did not make better than my dad was corn bread. My moms corn bread just never tasted as good. In high school I discovered that the secret was sugar. My dad put in 1/4 cup (according to the recipe on the can). My mom omits the sugar in the name of good health (and because she doesnt think that cornbread needs to be sweet).

In principle I agree with my mom, but in actuality I agree with my dad. I prefer my cornbread lightly sweet. And now, I have a healthy solution! This morning I put a pot of chili on the stove to cook, while also cooking down some old apples into apple sauce. While trying to decide what to do with my apple sauce I decided to make cornbread, at which time I realized that we are again short on eggs. Id just got back from an errand run and had already been to the store. Bummer? Not exactly!

I decided to try a vegan cornbread and the results are just about perfect. My only complaint is that the bread is light brown rather than a golden yellow, but when it comes to taste it is just right! Since I didn’t have a can of Dads corn meal on hand, I consulted the Joy of Cooking for my recipe guidelines. And, thanks to JOC I learned that my Dad makes Northern cornbread, which calls for 1 to 4 tablespoons of sugar, while my mom makes Southern Corn Bread, which says 1 tablespoon sugar (optional).

I like to be in the middle, so I still used 1 tablespoon of sugar, but most of the sweetness and moisture in my bread likely comes from the cornbread!

Preheat oven to 400F & grease a round (or square) 9 inch pan.

Sift together the dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix in a separate bowl:

  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir well, but not too much. Poor thick batter into pan even out the batter and bake for about 25 minutes. If you wish to try this recipe you could use a milk substitute instead of water, but do not eliminate the flax meal as that is what holds it all together and takes the place of the eggs!

Now I am off to enjoy a warm piece of cornbread with some Earth Balance Spread and a little Colorado Honey. Yum Yum!

Recipe Collection for Moms Go Green

Last week I was invited to talk with our local Moms Go Green group about Eco-Cooking. I took a holistic approach to the discussion comparing the human body to an ecosystem. An analogy I find quite relevant when discussing why it is important to eat plenty of fruits and veggies in addition to eating organic, reducing our consumption of meat and dairy, while also trying to eat more foods made from scratch (read fewer boxes & cans, fewer processed foods). After the discussion I promised the moms that I would post a collection of my favorite, but different and healthy recipes on my blog. The below link is to a PDF of about 20 recipes. Please feel free to use these for personal use, but if for any reason you decide to reproduce them, please contact me first!

Healthy Recipe Collection

Iron Cupcake_007: Solaris – The Cosmic Coffee Cupcake

Here here! Solaris is my first entry into the IronCupcake: Earth Challenge. This out of the world cupcake takes its name from the one and only solar roasted Solaris Blend Coffee made here in Colorado. From the flour to the chocolate the ingredients are fresh, organic, and in a few cases, locally made all factors which add to the delicious nature of the Solaris cupcake. As its name implies, the delicate yet moist chocolate coffee cake is made with a double shot of Solaris Espresso, in addition to real orange extract and a hint of cinnamon spice. The cupcake is then finished with a chocolate Ganache icing and both are spiked with coffee liquor. The cake is then topped with a handmade candied orange.

The Solaris Cupcake is best eaten before 10 AM,
but delicious at any time of the day!

Many beautiful cupcakes are guilty of being either overbearingly sweet or deathly bland. The rich ganache and the tender cake of the Solaris are instead tempered by the bittersweet flavor of the candied orange and complimented by the cinnamon spice and orange extract. The resulting flavor of the Solaris neither overwhelms nor bores, but rather each bite of this delectable cupcake gently awakens and satisfies your senses. The cupcake is truly cosmic and absolutely perfect alone or with a rich cup of fresh coffee.

This was my first time in several years making a Ganache, so I followed the recipe found on page 143 of the best cupcake book on the planet, exchanging the maple syrup for agave and adding orange extract, coffee liquor and cinnamon. Id already planned to use orange extract in my recipe, but discovered after reading this Valentine post that the Solaris would not be complete without the flavor and elegance of a candied orange on top! As the VeganYumYum recipe is for an entire fruit I used this recipe from Food & Wine to candy my organic valenica oranges.

From start to finish you can see the process in the below collage (click on image to view full size). You’ll note that the cake has a hint of red, similar to what you might see in a Devils food cake. Interestingly enough, just a few hours after completing the Solaris, I read in The Science of Good Food that the addition of baking soda, which increases the alkalinity of cocoa to a PH 7.5 and turns the cocoa pigments dark red. I used only baking soda in this recipe (no baking powder) and cocoa powder, which likely adds to the color of my cake!

 

Ready for a dirty little secret? In addition to being cosmic the Solaris Cupcake is both organic and vegan! For the past few months I’ve been playing with my vegan baking recipes and I am finding that the addition of a small amount of finely ground flax seed and agave to a recipe tends to increase the moisture content of the cake, while adding to its springiness. I like springy moist cake, which is often difficult to achieve with a vegan recipe! I also like that adding some flax boosts the nutritional content of the cake and in combination with the agave, the flax allows me to cut back on the oil or butter without compromising flavor or moisture. I originally made this discovery when also trying to bake gluten free, but the trick works just as well with my everyday wheat flour!

My husband who is one of the most discerning food critics I know had this to say The cupcake was very, very good.  Moist.  The frosting was like a Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange.