Friday, January 27, 2012

"Rawified" Cupcake Wars bases


When you are in a Cupcake War, you've gotta have a base, and it this case, I'm giving you four.



If you caught my last two posts (a preview pic and video, followed by the prep work), you already know about my "rawified" versions of Sticky Fingers Bakery's winning cupcakes from a recent episode of "Cupcake Wars." Yesterday, I showed you how to make date paste, Raw "Butterdream" (with four variations for today's mostly raw cupcakes) and the garnishes, and today, we'll put all the elements together with recipes for the bases.

Just like on the show, we'll start with the Rolling Stones Brown Sugar Cupcake. I didn't use brown sugar, but I incorporated a hint of blackstrap molasses and maple syrup powder to mimic the flavor. I also found some maple sugar flakes to sprinkle around the outside rim of the frosting for added flavor and texture.

And, remember how I said I'd share a funny story about the frosting? Well, it is supposed to be a spiced rum frosting, which presented a dilemma: should I use rum (although I don't drink) or a rum extract (which contains alcohol anyway, as well as corn syrup and other yucky ingredients)? I went with the actual rum, since I'd only be using a little bit.

I was using such a small amount that I snagged some from my parent's house (they only have a bottle on hand for entertaining). No one was home when I stopped by, so I helped myself. Unfortunately, I didn't know what to put it in, so I grabbed a shot glass and drove it home in the "open container." Thank goodness I didn't get pulled over. How would I explain that to the officer? Do you think he'd believe me that I don't drink and that I was just taking some of my parent's rum to make a raw vegan cupcake? Ridiculous!

Anyway, here's the recipe:


"Rawified"
Brown Sugar Cupcake

*a mostly raw vegan version of Sticky Fingers Bakery's Rolling Stones Brown Sugar Cupcake
In a mini food processor or blender, grind the almonds into a flour-like consistency (you can also substitute some of the almonds for leftover nut pulp from making nutmilk to result in a lighter cake texture), and transfer the "flour" to a bowl.

Next, add the date paste, molasses, apple cider vinegar, maple powder, vanilla and sea salt. Whisk to combine (a whisk helps keep the "batter" fluffier). The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in a dehydrator (although you could if you desire).

Form the batter into a cupcake shape, leaving a melon ball size valley in the center and a small amount to the side to top it off. Fill the cupcake with raw "butterdream" and top it with the excess dough. Carefully blend in the seams.

Frost the cupcake with Spiced Rum "Butterdream" Icing. Then, sprinkle the edges with maple sugar flakes (optional) and top with a piece of Raw Brown Sugar Nut Brittle. Enjoy!

*****

Now, moving on to the next recipe, I "rawified" Sticky Fingers Bakery's Man in Black Johnny Cashew Cupcake. It's described in the episode as a black cocoa cupcake, topped with cashews, dark chocolate frosting, more cashews and a chocolate cowboy hat and boots. In the final round of the show, a caramel, turtle-like filling was added, so I reserved half of the Raw Brown Sugar Nut Brittle recipe (but mixed with cashews instead of pecans. I hate to waste anything) to use for the center of my mostly raw version.

I refer to these recipes as mostly raw as they do contain ingredients that are not technically raw, yet often used in raw vegan recipes. This one, in particular, also contains dutch-processed cocoa, which is not the most nutritious option. Yes, I could have used raw cacao powder, but I went with the dutch-processed to achieve a much more similar flavor to profile when compared to the baked original.

I also used the dutch-processed cocoa in the Raw Cowboy Boot Cookie. I decided to make a cookie, since I didn't have a chocolate mold in the shape of a cowboy boot (or a hat, which I opted to omit from the recipe). Here's how it turned out:



"Rawified" Dark Cocoa
& Cashew Cupcake

*a mostly raw vegan version of Sticky Fingers Bakery's Man in Black Johnny Cashew Cupcake
In a mini food processor or blender, grind the almonds and cashews with the cacao or cocoa powder into a flour-like consistency (you can also substitute some of the almonds for leftover nut pulp from making nutmilk to result in a lighter cake texture), and transfer the "flour" to a bowl.

Next, add the date paste, vanilla, maple syrup and sea salt. Whisk to combine (a whisk helps keep the "batter" fluffier). The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in a dehydrator (although you could if you desire).

Form the batter into a cupcake shape, leaving a melon ball size valley in the center and a small amount to the side to top it off. Fill the cupcake with the raw brown sugar cashew filling and top it with the excess dough. Carefully blend in the seams and submerge some cashews pieces into the top of the cupcake.

Frost the cupcake with Dark Chocolate "Butterdream" Icing. Then, sprinkle with more cashew pieces and top with a Chocolate Cookie Cowboy Boot. Yum!

*****

Sticky Fingers Bakery's Salt-N-Peppa-inspired Cupcake really brought back memories of my friends and I singing along with their raps/songs. Actually, I still have fun listening to them.

I also got a kick out of the chocolate fondant headphones (I made mine out of raw cookies), which make the cupcake look a little like Princess Leia. I'll have to remember that, if I ever make Raw Star Wars Cupcakes again.

Take a peek under those headphones, and you'll see why this is a Salt-N-Peppa-inspired Cupcake. There is a raw salted caramel (I just quickly mixed some date paste with pure maple syrup and sea salt) drizzled on a Vanilla Bean "Butterdream" that frosts the top of a chocolate smoked pepper cupcake. It's essentially a salt and pepper cupcake.

So, what did I do for the smoked pepper flavor?

Well, I have to admit that I saved one of my Punk Rawk Labs nutmilk cheeses in the freezer "for a rainy day," as they say. It wasn't raining when I made these, but it was nice to have it in a pinch. I literally pinched about 1 Tbsp. of the Punk Rawk Labs Macadamia Smoked Nutmilk Cheese off from the outside edge (that's where the smoked peppercorns can be found). It was exactly what I needed to give this chocolate cupcake some personality and an unexpected kick.

Speaking of kick, please don't forget about Alissa of Punk Rawk Labs Kickstarter campaign that will be ending soon. Check out her page to lend your support. Thanks!

Alissa's nutmilk cheese has also been a star ingredient in this Raw Chocolate Pomegranate Vampire Bite Cupcake I made around Halloween time. You'd be amazed how good it tastes.

Anyway, back to this cupcake, you can also substitute some "butterdream" for the nutmilk cheese, but you'll have to add in some fresh ground pepper and liquid smoke (or smoked peppercorns). Here's how it all comes together:

"Rawified" Salted Caramel
& Smoked Pepper Cupcake

*a mostly raw vegan version of Sticky Fingers Bakery's Salt-N-Peppa-inspired Cupcake
In a mini food processor or blender, grind the almonds with the cocoa powder into a flour-like consistency (you can also substitute some of the almonds for leftover nut pulp from making nutmilk to result in a lighter cake texture), and transfer the "flour" to a bowl.

Next, add the date paste, smoked nutmilk cheese, vanilla, maple syrup and sea salt. Whisk to combine (a whisk helps keep the "batter" fluffier). The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in a dehydrator (although you could if you desire).

Form the batter into a cupcake shape. Frost the cupcake with Vanilla Bean "Butterdream" Icing. Then, drizzle the top with raw salted caramel sauce and garnish with the Chocolate Cookie Headphone pieces. Mmmm!

*****

Okay, you made it to the fourth and final cupcake of the war, Sticky Fingers Bakery's Chuck Berry-inspired cupcake. It is described as being an orange cupcake (I used orange zest to flavor and color my raw cupcake) with blueberry cinnamon filling (orange and blueberry is SO GOOD together) and topped with raspberry frosting and fondant decorations, including a guitar and musical notes.

Hayden immediately suggested using freeze-dried strawberries (one of her favorite snacks) to turn our "butterdream" base into a scrumptious berry pink. I know it's not raspberry, but it looks the same and still compliments the flavor of the cake and filling.

Since we were already grinding the freeze-dried strawberries into a powder to color and flavor the icing, we also decided to use it in our fruity fondant (a combination of freeze-dried fruit, coconut flakes and coconut oil) to make our guitar garnish. We then substituted freeze-dried pineapple to make the musical notes (we also added a tiny bit of pineapple to the strawberry fondant to give the guitar some sparkle). Here's the result:


"Rawified" Orange, Blue
& Pink berry Cupcake

*a mostly raw vegan version of Sticky Fingers Bakery's Chuck Berry-inspired Cupcake
In a mini food processor or blender, grind the almonds, coconut flakes and orange zest into a flour-like consistency (you can also substitute some of the almonds for leftover nut pulp from making nutmilk to result in a lighter cake texture), and transfer the "flour" to a bowl.

Next, add the date paste, vanilla and sea salt. Whisk to combine (a whisk helps keep the "batter" fluffier). The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in a dehydrator (although you could if you desire).

Form the batter into a cupcake shape, leaving a melon ball size valley in the center and a small amount to the side to top it off. Fill the cupcake with Blueberry Cinnamon Filling and top it with the excess dough. Carefully blend in the seams.

Frost the cupcake with Strawberry "Butterdream" Icing. Then, decorate with Fruity Fondant Musical Notes and Guitar. Rawk on!

*****

Hope you made it through the Cupcake War okay, and that you have a lovely weekend. Don't forget to watch Blythe Raw Live today. I know I'll be watching :-)


Streaming video by Ustream
*****

BTW, congrats to Nina Cortes for reaching her Kickstarter goal. Thanks for all your support!

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