A warm welcome to everyone coming along through the Virtual Vegan Potluck!
Cupcakes and Showtunes is a blog dedicated to sweet things, vegetarian and vegan delights, and all things food. Also, as I am currently studying in London, I have been doing travel updates recounting my adventures! Today I’m mixing it up a little, so if you’re looking for a little inspiration, keep reading after the food portion of the post :)
Major discovery, people. I’ve been searching for a fantastic chocolate cupcake recipe for ages. Many turned out to be too brownie-like. Who would have thought that the cupcake I was searching for would end up being vegan? I swear to you it took everything I had not to down about 5 of these at once. But, being a baker, one must practice constant vigilance, eh? With so many tempting treats in the kitchen, it can be rough maintaining one’s figure.
Trials and tribulations, my friend.
Anywho. I went through about 10 different recipe ideas for this post. The original plan involved Oreos. But to my utter astonishment, it turns out that Oreos have whey powder in them and therefore are NOT vegan. So upsetting.
So, plan B.
A rich vegan chocolate cupcake, filled with raspberry preserves, topped with vegan chocolate fudge, sprinkled with crushed pistachios, and garnished with a single raspberry.
Best Plan B EVER.
These cupcakes are moist, rich, fluffy, not too sweet, luscious, and brightened by the sweet-tart raspberry. The crunch and gorgeous color of the pistachios sends them over the top. And they’re insanely simple to make.
So enough with all the talking. Let’s get down to business.
Vegan Raspberry Pistachio Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Pastry Affair
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
2/3 cup strong brewed coffee
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup high-quality raspberry preserves
1 cup vegan chocolate sauce or vegan chocolate ganache
1/3 cup crushed pistachios
12 fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, oil, and water. Mix the batter until smooth.
Divide batter evenly between 12 baking cups (about 3/4 full). Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from baking pan and allow to cool to room temperature.
Using preferred filling method (piping, cupcake corer, cone method, etc.), fill each cupcake with about 1 tsp raspberry preserves. Heat chocolate sauce or vegan ganache until thick but easy to spread. Top each cupcake with a dollop of chocolate, spread to glaze, sprinkle with pistachios, and top with a raspberry.
Reading the recipe, you will notice that I used brewed coffee. The original recipe used espresso powder like many, many other recipes. I myself am not a huge fan of coffee powders, so I used french pressed coffee. It was even a little bit warm when I put it in the batter. I’m not sure if that affected the chemistry of the batter, but it still turned out so well. I will be using this batter again and again. Also, on another note, I’m in love with the green-brown contrast of these cupcakes in their silicone liners. Ohmahgahd.
My favorite method for filling is the cone method. I used to be super skeptical about it, as I was concerned that you would be able to tell that they had been cut into. However, after using the method on many a cupcake, I’ve discovered that you can’t tell that it’s there, and you can also fit more filling in than if you were to just pipe the filling directly into the center. And I LOVE filling. So much.
So, confession time. I was going to use this cheap seedless raspberry jam for these cupcakes. And then I saw the ingredient list (sugar, sugar, preservatives…and more sugar) and returned the jar. I was able to find a French jam made only with raspberries and fruit juice. So much tastier. Biting into that subtly sweet center was heaven. Absolute heaven.
Okay, confession number two. I am known for my rants on how little I like pistachios. This is not so much because I dislike pistachios as it is because I always get the disgusting bitter ones. So I just don’t eat them. But this is the second time in a month that I’ve had pistachios and LOVED them. See my previous post for the amazing white chocolate pistachio ice cream. Who am I?
Ta Da!! If you like what you’ve seen, share it, subscribe at the bottom of the page, continue on to the next vegan blogger (using the leafy links below), and indulge in some chocolatey creations of your own :)
TRAVEL AND REFLECTIONS
Today is going to be a little different.
I was going to do a post about my travels as usual, but I’m feeling a bit more contemplative today. So I’m just going to share with you something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.
Being a senior getting ready for graduation in May, I’ve been thinking a lot about my future and the journey that I’ve taken to get where I am. When I was in grade school, I think there was a certain expectation that I would go into one of those “smart people” lines of work. Not that I think I’m smarter than anyone else. I was just one of those people who gets good grades—I was deathly shy for most of my childhood/adolescence, so all of my energy went into my schoolwork. I didn’t like homework, and I didn’t care intimately about mastering my classes. It just sort of happened. But because I got good grades and displayed some common sense, people expected me to be a lawyer, doctor, teacher, whatever. And then I majored in theatre and sociology. And now my plan is to go to New York City, work in a bakery/café, blog, do theatre, and save up enough money to open my own café. And that’s actually messed with my head a lot. Because there are times when I feel like I’m disappointing some specter of adult expectation, wasting a few IQ points by not saving the world or building it or something to that effect. When I tell people what I want to do, it’s always with a bit of an apologetic or qualifying tone. And then I realize something. That it is my right, no, my duty, to do those things that will make me happy. They say that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I don’t want to be that person who sits in a cubicle and hates his or her job but makes lots of money in a little bubble of dissatisfaction. I want to be the girl who roughs it for a while, lives like a little bohemian to bake and act and sing and have grand adventures. I want to love passionately and read books and listen to people’s stories. I want to sit at a window with a cup of coffee and a view of a colorful city street, sighing with the knowledge that I love every single moment of my life, and wouldn’t change a thing. And if that means I have to sacrifice fulfilling someone else’s expectations of my future, that is okay. Because in these past 4 years I have known love, I have met some of the most amazing people, I have broken the shell of fear and timidity, I have had moments of pure gratitude and ecstasy. And I will not give that up. Now that I have tasted the sweetness of this life, I cannot abandon it. And if I can teach anything, I want it to be that—that there is nothing so precious in life as surrounding yourself with the people and things and occupations that make you happy. Everything else will follow. Happiness is infectious. And it is never too late to make yourself happy. It’s easier to find than you may think. I find it on the long walks home when a song makes me ache to dance on the street corner. Or in the smell of cologne as a young businessman rushes by. I find it in the graffiti splashed across brick walls, or in the funny awkward fidgets of a lecturing professor. There is joy in looking up for a moment instead of looking down, in watching the ribbons of cake batter whoosh around in the mixer. I could write books on all the wonderful things people miss because they’re in too much of a hurry pursuing happiness rather than stopping and finding it all around them. In Our Town, Thorton Wilder gave Emily the words to ask, “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?” and then she said, “Goodbye, goodbye, world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners… Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking… and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths…and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.” It’s funny, because no one really seems to like Our Town much—they say it’s boring. And yet it is trying to teach us lessons that we all need at times. Take a moment and realize how wonderful every moment is. Even the very smallest things can be the most precious. And of course, there are sad times and there are joyful times. How may we fully know the light without the dark? But don’t take the little things too seriously—it ruins their magic. Take care to appreciate every moment in its entirety, for all are lessons and integral parts of our journey—they are what make us who we are.
Now go do something that makes you happy. Today :)