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.