Friday, October 30, 2009

Tricks and Treats

Since it is nearly Halloween, I thought the title was appropriate, although a little deceiving. Rather than being about ghoulish Halloween pranks and snacks, it is really about tips for making your sweet treats (in this case, cupcakes, but you probably already guessed that).

So let's get to it.

Tip #1: To achieve a more "cake"-like consistency, make sure to combine your ingredients with a whisk or electric mixer. This will keep the "grains" (usually nuts or seeds, with the exception of the reduced fat recipe, which contains oats) from becoming too stuck together. Also, be careful not to make the cupcake shapes too compact. Use a light touch when forming them.

Tip #2: The "cake" will also have a lighter texture if you use a mixture of both finely ground nuts and leftover pulp from making nutmilk (don't let this stuff go to waste). The pulp is less dense, while the freshly ground nuts just taste more flavorful and, as you would expect, ... "fresher."

Tip #3: To make life easier, plan in advance. Make sure to whip up enough date paste and icing to have on hand for your next couple days of cupcake projects. The icing should be made a day ahead to give it an opportunity to thicken, while extra icing keeps well in the freezer for future use.

Tip #4: Make small batches to keep from getting overwhelmed. It gives you more opportunities to experiment in the kitchen, especially when the cost of these ingredients can be deterring.

Tip #5: Have fun. There's no limit to what you can make raw, if you just put your mind to it. Don't be afraid to use your imagination and create your own combinations. Select your base "cake," and decorate it with your favorite frosting, whether it be a basic raw whipped icing (you can dye it with berry/beet juice, liquid chlorophyll, turmeric, cocoa powder, etc.), creamy chocolate pudding, agave and cocoa mixture, mock peanut butter spread, caramel/coconut icing, sweet and simple drizzle, or a raw fondant (I like to knead coconut butter, very finely ground coconut flakes and agave into a play dough-like texture similar to the fondant used in cake decorating; I formed these raw candy corn, pictured in this post, out of it). Then, sprinkle or garnish with the toppings you desire.

As we are almost to the end of another Vegan Mofo, I just wanted to remind everyone that there is a vegan substitute for just about anything you crave, and even if it is cupcakes, you can also satisfy your raw taste buds, too. If you didn't catch it in the post the first time, those candy corn are, in fact, raw vegan.