Monday, October 10, 2011

"The Monster Mash"-up


As I was making the raw vegan cupcakes in this post, I was amazed at how they "mashed up," making me think of my youngest sister. This may sound a bit weird, but it might make sense by the time you finish reading this post (or it least it makes sense to me).

It all started when I saw this yummy vegan cupcake post on Girlie Girl Army (you know it is one of my favorite sites). It was a recipe for Dracula's Bite Halloween Cupcakes from Lily Vanilli's "A Zombie Ate My Cupcake!" book. Inspired by its pomegranate vampire bite decoration, I decided to make a raw version with a unique twist.

Lily Vanilli's cupcake is a traditional red velvet with vegan cream cheese frosting and cherry sauce oozing out of the pomegranate bite marks. Obviously, that vampire had a true sweet tooth.

My vampire, on the other hand, got a taste of something unexpected. I combined the basic raw whipped icing with some of Alissa's Punk Rawk Labs Herb Nut Milk Cheese (on sale Nov. 1; until then, learn how to make your own by watching her demo, but be sure to order some already made for you - or a friend, as it would be a lovely hostess gift - during the busy holiday season) to add a savory note. It tastes surprisingly good atop a basic raw chocolate cupcake filled with date sweetened pomegranate seeds.

When I say surprisingly, it's because my youngest sister April discovered garlic isn't the most welcome flavor in pomegranate juice (maybe it's because she's a vampire; just kidding ... although she does like to stay up all night and sleep during the day sometimes).

A while back, she was hooked on pomegranates (Hayden likes to call them "Pom Poms;" so cute, but back to the story). She decided to make some fresh juice out of the seeds and, in a pinch, used a garlic press to do so. I still recall the look on her face when she took her first sip. She has no plans of doing that again, but I can't think about or see pomegranates without recalling that story.

The vampire cupcake is much tastier than her garlicky pomegranate juice. I wonder if she would think the same. She is deserving of a cupcake after what she did the other day.

After hearing the tale myself, I ran to pass it along to my hubby. "Did you know April has superhuman strength?," I asked him.

Matthew replied, "yes, she lifted a car off of someone."

"How did you know?," I responded.

"Lucky guess, because that's what people usually mean when they say someone has superhuman strength."

Now, you probably want to know the details, but I'll give you the summary instead. My sister's friend offered to teach her how to change the oil in her car. She wasn't feeling well that day, so she just watched him do it.

While her friend was under her car, it (the car) suddenly fell on him. She was shocked and horrified, as she saw her friend trapped and screaming for her help to get him out.

She screamed for help, too, as she tried to get him, but no one seemed to notice ... until after the unthinkable occurred. Between him pushing beneath the car and her attempting the lift the corner of it, they actually raised it enough for him to escape, all covered with blood and in pain.

That's when my sister's neighbors came to assist and call 911. Her friend was taken to shock trauma and various tests were run. Lucky for him, he only required some stitches (although he is still experiencing some pain, especially when he laughs). The doctor came out to shake my sister's hand, telling her that he (her friend) probably wouldn't have been so lucky if she wasn't there to help get the car off of him so fast (the pressure of the vehicle couldn't have injured him far worse or even killed him).

Sounds like my sister is a hero with the strength of a loving Frankenstein (I like to think he was a very caring monster). That's why this Franken-Chai Cupcake also reminds me of her (except she's not a monster, unless you count the fact that she's a Lady Gaga fan, a.k.a. "Little Monster").

Inspired by the Yoda cupcake in my last post, it is also chai-flavored with some Vega Vanilla Chai Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer and filled with a candy bar-like filling (perfect for Halloween, don't you think?). Then, there is that familiar green friendly monster face.

Speaking of faces (but not monster ones), my sister April looks a little like Alyson Hannigan, especially when her hair was dyed red. I was always a big "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fan, which brings us back to the vampire cupcake. Here's the recipe, followed by the recipe for the Franken-Chai Cupcake.

Chocolate Pomegranate Vampire Bite Cupcake
Inspired by Lily Vanilli's Dracula's Bite Halloween Cupcakes
  • 1/4 cup almonds, finely ground into a "flour"
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts (or more almonds), finely ground into a "flour"
  • 1-2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. date paste
  • 1/2 Tbsp. raw whipped icing (like I used in this recipe)
  • touch of vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
  • *for filling/garnish: pomegranate seeds mixed with more date paste, to taste (make sure to mash some of the seeds to release their juices)
  • *raw whipped icing mixed with herb nut milk cheese, to taste (I like Punk Rawk Labs Herb Nut Milk Cheese, which goes on sale Nov. 1; until then, check out Alissa's raw cheese demo to learn how to make your own)
In a small bowl, combine the almond and hazelnut flours, cocoa powder and sea salt. Stir with a whisk.

Next, add 1 Tbsp. date paste, 1/2 Tbsp. raw whipped icing, and a touch of vanilla. Whisk to combine. The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in the dehydrator (although you could if you desire).

Form the "batter" into a cupcake shape, using a reusable silicone cupcake liner or small ramekin. Scoop out the center of the "cake" and set it aside.

Fill the center with a combination of date paste and pomegranate seeds (make sure to mash some of the seeds to release the juices into the date paste). Form the aside "cake" into a disk and adhere it to the top of the cupcake to hide the filling.

Frost the top of the cupcake with a combination of herb nut milk cheese mixed with basic raw whipped icing to taste. Garnish with a drizzle of date paste mixed with pomegranate juice and two pomegranate seed "bite marks."


Rawdorable
Franken-Chai Cupcake

In a small bowl, combine the almond, pistachio and pumpkin seed flours, Vega powder and sea salt. Stir with a whisk.

Next, add 1 Tbsp. date paste and a touch of vanilla. Whisk to combine. The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in the dehydrator (although you could if you desire).

Form the "batter" into a cupcake shape, using a reusable silicone cupcake liner or small ramekin. Scoop out the center of the "cake" and set it aside.

Fill the center with a combination of date paste, nut butter, pure maple syrup and chopped pecans. Form the aside "cake" into a disk and adhere it to the top of the cupcake to hide the filling.

Frost the top of the cupcake with a combination basic raw whipped icing mixed with more of the Vega powder, to taste. Decorate it to look like a Frankenstein face using basic raw whipped icing, more of the icing mixed with the Vega powder, and a quick chocolate icing (pure maple syrup mixed with cocoa powder).

For Samantha's son
My blogging friend Samantha has a son who is allergic to a lot of things, especially dairy and nuts. I'm not sure if he can have seeds, but if he can, his mom could easily make the Franken-Chai Cupcake for him (as well as the Yoda cupcake from my Raw Star Wars Cupcakes post). All she has to do is substitute the almonds and pistachios for more pumpkin seeds, and maybe another seed, too (hemp seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds would do).

The pumpkin and hemp seeds would provide the green color, and wouldn't require the addition of the Vega powder, as long as chai spices, like cloves, ginger, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon, are added.

A seed butter, rather than a nut butter, could be used in the filling without the chopped pecans, or it could just be date paste made out of good quality "caramel"-tasting dates.

As for the frosting, a quick nut-free green version can be made out of an avocado blended until smooth with a couple dates, some vanilla and the same chai spices. For those of you whole are also nut-free, give this version a try and let me know how it turns out for you :-)

On another note
Just wanted to say Happy Vegan Mofo to all you Mofo-ers out there. I participated a couple years ago, but didn't think I would be able to keep up that kind of pace this year. Don't forget to check out those who have made the time to blog about all things vegan this month.
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