It's November and even though MoFo is over, I'm finding more excuses to post. Currently, it's for Vegan Ventures, which is hosted by Tasty Palettes. In honor of November, which is the National Vegan Month for those living in the UK (and really, I'm there in my heart), Suganya is encouraging people to post vegan entries on their blog this month, and she's compiling a list of all the entries (I can't wait to see what else people come up with)! Here's to more vegan posting!
When I come home for the weekend, it always feels like the holidays. I wake up early and the first thing I do (after getting dressed, fixing a bowl of millet porridge, and brushing my teeth), is go to the grocery store with my mom. Around the holidays, grocery shopping is always a big event; in the past, we took the "divide and conquer" method: dividing the giant list between my mother, my sisters, and myself, each of us taking a cart and going separate directions throughout the store. But since we've moved farther out of town and our trips to the bigger grocery stores have become less frequent, we've started to spend more time in the store, walking slowly down each aisle, looking at all of the different produce and all the new products lining the shelf walls. Pomegranate and acai gumdrops? Don't mind if I do. Peppermint marshmallows? They look lovely. I'll be making a vegan version soon...
Our trips to the grocery store may have calmed down, but the kitchen is still full of an excited energy. I'm always thrilled about my purchases; I'm supposed to be making lunch, but I can't help myself from doing a little baking too. Angela is asking for something sweet, and she gives me a suggested ingredient list that would horrify any diabetic: chocolate, caramel, marshmallows, bananas, peanut butter...oh yes, and sugar. Lots of it, she said.
I didn't want to go dessert overload, so I decided to make something that would appease her sweet tooth, but not without some nutritional value. I decided on banana cupcakes with some healthier flours, using the sweetness of the bananas to really make the cake (that's a pun, dear). Not one to follow recipes well, I looked at these (1, 2, 3) recipes for inspiration, but then decided to throw caution to the wind and do my own thing. I topped them off with some deliciously rich peanut butter icing and a bit of shaved dark chocolate. The result: an Angela-approved dessert. Oh yes, and they're completely soy free.
If you aren't a sugar fiend like Angela, you may find that you prefer to reduce the sugar a bit. Especially since these cupcakes will be covered in the icing, they really don't need to be that sweet. They're also very banana-y, and even though I used half pastry flour, they're still a bit dense (not nearly as much as a banana bread, but perhaps more than a cupcake should be). They did however rise very nicely, as you can see from the picture, and for a banana-dessert, they're surprisingly light. The peanut butter icing adds a really nice touch to these cupcakes. I'm trying to not use as much vegan margarine, because it just makes more sense to products that are more natural and less processed. In this recipe, I used coconut oil, which becomes solid at room temperature, and tapioca flour to thicken it. As the icing sits, it will harden, so if you aren't using it right away, blend it again before using. If you are topping iced cupcakes with chocolate shavings or other toppings, top quickly after icing before the icing hardens.
4 ripe bananas
115 grams (1 cup) whole wheat flour
100 grams (1 cup) pastry flour
55 grams (1/2 cup) whole spelt flour
1/2 cup turbinado (raw sugar)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 F and line a cupcake tin with baking cups.
Mix together bananas, oil, sugar, and vinegar. Really cream these together well, as this step is one of the most important in creating air pockets that will help give your cake a light, airy texture. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined.
Divide the batter between the 12 cups. The cups should be almost full, but not quite. The cupcakes hold their peaks well and will rise nicely, so don't worry if the cups seem a little more full than usual.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from tin and allow to cool on a wire rack. Top with peanut butter icing (below) and fresh shavings of a good dark chocolate.
Peanut Butter Icing:
makes enough for 12 liberally-iced cupcakes
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup organic peanut butter, unsalted and unsweetened
1/4 cup nondairy milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil, brought to liquid form
1/2 tablespoon tapioca starch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Make sure coconut oil is at liquid form (place jar in a bowl of hot water) before beginning. With an electric mixer, blend everything together for a couple of minutes until completely smooth.