Spiced Cupcakes with Blood Orange Frosting

There’s been a tremendous amount of baking going on in my kitchen these past couple of weeks. I almost feel as those it has surpassed the chaos that was the winter holidays! Oh well, nothing a few green smoothies and extra trips to the gym can’t fix. 😉

This time, I needed to make some cupcakes for my friend Sarah’s going away party. She’s moving to Portland next week, myself and two others will be helping her! I can’t wait to eat tons of vegan food and check some places out, even though I’ll only be there for a couple of days. Back to the cupcakes, I was inspired by some blood oranges that I had picked up last week and was trying to find a purpose for them. I thought back to my standard chocolate/orange combo recipes but thought that I would try something just a tad different.

The cake part of these delightful treats is filled with just the right amount of spice so that it is aromatic, but not overbearing. It’s fluffy and light, with no oil in the batter, while the frosting is creamy and rich with a slight tang from the blood orange marmalade. You can use any orange marmalade that you prefer, I ended up making my own using this recipe.

Servings: 24 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Organic Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. White Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Ice Cold Water

——-

  • 2 1/2 Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • 2 Tbsp. Blood Orange Marmalade
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and get two cupcake sheets (2 dozen cupcakes) ready with liners. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl, stir together the applesauce, white vinegar, vanilla extract and water.
  2. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir together until combined. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full, place in the oven and bake for 19-22 minutes or until a toothpick draws clean.
  3. After the cupcakes are done baking, place them in the refrigerator to cool and move on to making the frosting.
  4. Whip the Earth Balance with a mixer on high-speed, and slowly add in the powdered sugar. Add in the marmalade, vanilla extract, and salt and continue to whip the frosting.
  5.  Add more powdered sugar if you’d like a stiffer frosting, and use 1.5-2 tbsp. of it per cupcake.

Now, here is the perfect dessert to get you excited for the spring with its light texture, but still stands as a reminder of winter with its subtle spices. I wish I could have gotten some better pictures, but I had to rush these straight to the party where they were wolfed down!

Chocolatelove: Chocolate Coconut Soft Serve

I’m going to try to keep this post a lil’ brief today. Not only because it’s my boyfriend and I’s 3rd anniversary (it’s been that long?!) and we are going ice skating tonight, but also because I just feel like I’m being rushed by my self because of all of the things I need to get done in the next couple of weeks! We also can’t forget that the #chocolatelove bloghop isn’t over yet! So, here’s to hoping this isn’t my last chocolate post just yet… 😉

While I know that a lot of you are still stuck in some cooler/freezing weather, we basically haven’t had a winter in Southern California this year. So, having a cooler treat is perfect for some of these days where it’s nearly 80°F outside sounds pretty good. I’ve had this block of silken tofu staring at me from the third shelf in my fridge for a little while now and I’ve been trying to think of interesting ways to use it. I was thinking that I’d make something sweet, possibly a pudding? But, when the texture didn’t turn out exactly like I had hoped it would, freezing it became an interesting option.

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LOVELIKEBEER: Love Affair, Vegan Dessert & Beer Pairings

When bringing up the topic of any holiday my boyfriend truly couldn’t care less, even his own birthday! Needless to say, Valentine’s Day is no different; I am not super huge on Hallmark holidays either, so nothing usually happens on the 14th of February each year. I say usually because this year LOVELIKEBEER was putting on a vegan dessert and beer pairing event down in San Diego and I really wanted to go to it. To give you a bit of background on LOVELIKEBEER, the organization is led by two gentleman by the names of Derek and Corey. They’ve put on a few different events over the span of 2011, all having to do with vegan craft brews and food. Here’s an excerpt from their about section:

LOVELIKEBEER is an organization dedicated to creating inspiring Vegan Food and Craft Beer events in San Diego with a charitable purpose. We work with local artisans and entrepreneurs to host culinary events which incorporate innovative, vegan cuisine, craft beer pairings, and a donation to a local charity.

Great events for a great cause? I’m in! So, we made the two-hour trek down to Tiger! Tiger! Tavern in San Diego; not realizing that there would be delicious vegan dinner options as well, we ate before leaving.

The drive wasn’t too bad, just a little traffic and the scenery was gorgeous as usual. Once we got to the tavern, we opened the door and walked into a large, dimly lit area that had four long communal tables with bench seating that were decorated with Chimay candle-holders and deep red rose petals. Definitely giving off the romantic vibe for V-day.

I grabbed a menu, took a seat and was immediately regretting that I had already eaten; so much of the food sounded delicious! I had put myself in quite the predicament, but got past it and looked to the dessert and beer pairings. Of the three, only two really stuck out to me. This was mostly because the odd-one-out was a donut, which I am not a fan of, paired with Framboise which is a raspberry beer-like beverage that sort of reminds me of a wine cooler. I did hear that it was quite delicious, but it just didn’t sound like my cup of tea.

The dessert that I decided to start with was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie with Caramel Sauce and Salted Peanut Brittle paired with Hangar 24’s Chocolate Porter. Let me tell you, this dessert was seriously good. It was rich and decadent, and almost a little too heavy but I loved it. I made sure to drink the beer intermittently with having bites of the dessert and the balance between the two was bordering on perfect. The stout had more of a dark chocolate feel too it, and broke up the intense sweetness of the brownie and caramel sauce with ease. I would love to recreate something like this at home!

For my second, and last, dessert pairing I chose to order the “Date Night” Rice Pudding, which was Coconut Date Rice Pudding paired with Automatic’s 3-Speed Brown. Besides the excessive amount of flowers atop of this dessert, it was great to end on. Compared to the brownie, this rice pudding was light and not to sugary, but had great subtle flavors of coconut and dates. A great approach to this dessert is to eat a spoonful slowly, and at the same time waft the scent of the brown ale into your nostrils. Doing this brings an excellent coffee note to the rice pudding that you can’t necessarily get through imbibing it.

Tiger! Tiger! Tavern has a great vibe and a terrific selection of brews, amongst them are some from Automatic Brewing Co. which is their in-house brewing company. The brewmaster for Automatic used to be a brewmaster at Stone Brewery in San Marcos for years, this should give you an idea of the quality of their brews!

After finishing off the desserts, I thought that I’d enjoy just one more beer before heading home. I typically stick to darker brews, so I thought that I’d try out the Ovila Quadrupel from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. This beer ended up being full of flavor and a little on the sweet side, which is how I like my malty, dark brews; it had a smooth finish and wasn’t very heavy. I would definitely order this again.

Overall, it was a great experience and I enjoyed meeting the guys that put this together along with Melissa from Vegenista, who is a total sweetheart and a couple of other people from around the area. I can’t wait for LOVELIKEBEER to put on their next event, which looking at their past will tell you will be in roughly two months. Woohoo!

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