24 December 2008

ICE: chocolate with a twist (vegan)

vegan chocolate almond poblano cupcakes

This month's Iron Cupcake: Earth challenge was "chocolate with a twist," so I'm taking this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, as they say. I'm finally posting my chocolate poblano almond cupcake recipe (although a new, and I think improved version), and I'm trying my luck again at ICE.

Poblano peppers naturally have a rich, earthy, and somewhat sweet flavor that is really brought out when they are roasted; I've heard some describe the flavor with hints of cherry, licorice, and tobacco. To roast the peppers, you can use the flame of your gas oven (if you're lucky enough to have one), or, if you're like me, you can use the broiler inside your electric oven. Roast each side of the peppers for several minutes until they are charred. Cover them with a lid (or put them in a plastic bag and seal) for a couple of minutes immediately after roasting to allow for easy removal of the skin.

roasted poblano peppers (with skins)

After roasting the peppers, I tasted one and decided that they would go perfectly with the flavors of chocolate and almond. I based my recipe off the VCTOTW chocolate cupcakes recipe, which can be found here. However, I added two roasted (and peeled) poblano peppers to the soy milk in my blender before combining it with the other ingredients. The cupcakes were amazing, the poblano taste was a little subtle and perfect with the almond, and there was just a bit of heat. (Whenever it becomes this cold outside, I welcome a bit of heat in everything!) For the frosting, I used 1 roasted (peeled, this time seeded) poblano pepper along with the other ingredients. I used a different icing recipe than the last time I made these; I wanted something fudgier (is that a word?), something rich. The final result was delicious--so good, that I think I may make adding poblano peppers to my chocolate a regular thing. I hope you enjoy!

Vegan Chocolate Almond Poblano Cupcakes:
makes 12 cupcakes
2 poblano peppers, roasted and peeled (reserve seeds)
1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
3/4 cups evaporated cane juice (granulated vegan sugar)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan.

Combine the soy milk, vinegar, and poblano peppers (and seeds) in your blender; blend until smooth and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and blend until foamy.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches the wet ingredients to the dry and beat until no large lumps remain.

Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Vegan Chocolate Poblano Fudgy Frosting:
enough frosting for 12 cupcakes
1 roasted, peeled, seeded poblano pepper
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice (granulated vegan sugar)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup nondairy milk
3 tablespoon refined coconut oil (refined will not give a coconut flavor)
pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup of vegan powdered sugar*

In a blender, combine soymilk and poblano and blend until smooth. If you would like to make two colors of icing, as I did with the green and cocoa, work in two (half-sized) batches, first making the icing without the cocoa, then making the icing with only 1/8 cup cocoa.

Mix granulated sugar, cocoa, nondairy milk (with blended poblano), coconut oil, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove mixture from hear and allow to cool completely.

After mixture is cool, stir in almond extract. Beat in the powdered vegan sugar a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.

* Vegan powdered sugar can be quite expensive, so I make my own. Grind one cup of evaporated cane juice in a coffee grinder and add 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (or arrowroot starch or cornstarch). Easy, and much more economical.

Voting will begin no later than Monday, December 29 at 8 p.m. at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, and will be open through Friday, January 2 at 12 noon.

Iron Cupcake Earth is a monthly challenge where bakers all over the world compete, creating cupcakes using the same special ingredient. It wouldn't be possible without a lot of people who donate items for prizes and the sponsors for the event. So, special thanks to:

BETTY TURBO, who is offering this original piece of art http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5002976

LOTS OF SPRINKLES, who made these cupcake earrings http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6057281

CAKESPY, who will be doing a piece each month for the winner

As an added bonus for December there is a limited edition cupcake pincushions by Moda Home, complements of SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY, http://www.acupcakery.com/index.html.

Also, thank you to the corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com, JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com; the CUPCAKE COURIER http://www.cupcakecourier.com; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com.


VeggieGirl said...

SO stunning and innovative!!

MommaBlogger said...

These look so good! I don't know if I can find much of the vegan ingredients though, are there some substitutions I can make?

beauty and bread said...

Hey MommaBlogger,

Thanks for commenting on my blog!

Of course you can substitute the vegan ingredients (afterall, pretty much all of the vegan baked-good recipes are alterations of the non-vegan ones). I used to live in Abilene, TX, so I understand the difficulty of finding some of the ingredients. But sometimes they are just labeled differently, so here are some tips if you would like to try to bake them vegan (which I recommend, because it's better for you, your family, the animals, and the earth):
-the sugar: regular white granulated sugar has been filtered through charred animal bones to bleach it. The vegan sugar is evaporated cane juice that hasn't been bleached; it's the same except not as white. A lot of times, you'll find this sugar, although it may not be specifically labeled as vegan. Usually if it is organic, it is vegan. Look for things that say "evaporated cane juice" or "unbleached sugar." You can also use turbinado, or raw cane sugar (the larger, brown crystals that you can get at some coffee shops in the "sugar in the raw" packages)
-the soymilk: my guess is that you can probably find this in your grocery store, but if you can't, any non-dairy milk would do, and there are tons of recipes on the internet for making your own almond milk and rice milk. I say give it a try, because non-dairy milk is much easier for our bodies to digest!
-the coconut oil: this is probably the only one you'll have trouble with finding. coconut oil is different from most other vegetable oils because it's actually solid at room temperature, hence why it works well in the icing. There are a lot of other vegan recipes that use shortening, which is made from vegetable oil. The only problem with this is that a lot of shortenings contain hydrogenated fats, which are super bad for us. Even the Crisco that says "0 grams trans fat" contains "partially hydrogenated" oil, apparently it just isn't enough for them to have to count it for the nutrition label. There are some shortenings that I know are good, for example, Spectrum's Organic Shortening that is made from palm kernel oil, and has not hyrdogenated fats. However, that may be as difficult to find as the coconut oil. If you really are having trouble, there are other chocolate icing recipes you could use, such as this one: http://www.grouprecipes.com/1834/vegan-chocolate-frosting.html

I hope that helps!

aredcardigan said...

hi...thanks for your comment!

great another baker!lol.(envious non-baker here)

love your pics too. u are making me hungry for sweets!interesting use of the pepper.

MommaBlogger said...

I managed to find pretty much everything, though the evaporated cane sugar was a little tricky. Our grocery store actually had the coconut oil, which I've never used before. I ended up buying an organic sugar, which while not the evaporated sugar, will hopefully work just as well.

I had a little confusion on the soy milk and the non-dairy milk, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to look for different things or if they were the same. Then I reread your recipe, and it looks like they're the same thing.

I can't wait to get started :D I will try to make them either tonight or tomorrow night, and we'll see how they turn out :)

Thanks for all the information :)

beauty and bread said...

I'm glad you were able to find everything and I bet that organic sugar is the same thing. I hope your cupcakes turn out; let me know how you like them!

MommaBlogger said...

I made them last night, and my tongue is still burning! :) They tasted good, and the peppers smelled really good while they were roasting, I'm just not up to the heat ;) If I try them again, I might reduce a lot of the heat if I can.

Great recipe ;)

Anonymous said...

What a creative twist to a normal chocolate cupcake!

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