A Post-Grad's Attempt at a Healthy, Joyful, and Blissfully Sweet Life

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let the Baking Begin

hello friends!

i am once again back at my parents house, this time for my graduation party.  we hired a catering company for the food, but there was no way i was passing up an opportunity to BAKE! so i took on the desserts job, happily and willingly. everything i made and will talk about is completely vegan/gluten "liberated" (that just makes me laugh...)

i decided to do three different desserts, two cupcakes (because they are my favorite) and one cookie.  i did them all mini because i am all about finger food-if it looks enticing and is easily popped into a mouth, i find more people will eat the dessert, even after a stomach full of dinner food.  plus, smaller portions don't make you feel as bad when you eat five in a row ;)

so the first morning i was home, i got up early and was ready to go!  i had been planning and revising what to make for about a month (i kid you not. reading recipe books and looking online for ideas was literally what i did for fun all june.) (i should also mention i was stuck at college taking summer courses and that was about as entertaining as it got some nights.)

my kitchen counter, stocked with all my ingredients
first i made a peanut butter cookie from one of my favorite and most used cookbooks, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  robyn, my vegan baker partner-in-crime, and i would always make different cookies from that book during the school year to de-stress.  Anyway, i put the cookie dough into my mini cupcake molds and then made an indent into each to create a well. 

while those were baking, i started on my lemon agave nectar cupcakes that i adapted from another well beloved cookbook from the same authors as the above one, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  seriously good cupcakes!! go get those two books, now.

when they came out, they were a delicious golden brown!

last but not least i made a chocolate cake for my last cupcake.  i used Bob's Redmill Xanthan Gum in my cakes, which was a gift from luke that i had been DYING FOR.  basically xanthan gum adds needed thickening and binding which gluten free flour lacks.  before i had the xanthan gum, my baked goods would crumble apart in front of my eyes-no longer! they stayed together perfectly :D

exhibit a: my chocolate cupcake with an almost clean wrapper after using xanthan gum!
as the cupcakes were baking i created a chocolate ganache to fill the peanut butter cookie cups with. chocolate and peanut butter? suh good.

my chocolate cupcakes came out SO decadent, i just had to take a picture:

NO milk/eggs/butter/gluten, and still moist, chocolately, and delicious. score one for the vegans and gluten liberators out there!
for my lemon agave nectar cupcakes i made a blueberry cream cheese frosting and topped each with a fresh blueberry. they looked so delicate and summery! i beat in frozen and fresh blueberries into the cream cheese frosting, and it came out a beautiful purple with swirls of blueberry juice peaking through.

gotta love a good blubie
for the chocolate cupcakes, i had some left over chocolate ganache so i spread a layer over each cupcake, then frosted them with what might be my most successful frosting to date-coconut frosting.  i started with a regular frosting base, but added in coconut extract (which smells so good i wish i could bathe myself in it.) then i added in sweetened coconut flakes for some nice texture.  i topped each cupcake with toasted coconut flakes to add in a nice touch of color and crunch.

last but not least, i added a touch of decorative deliciousness to my cookie cups.  i created a peanut butter sauce which i drizzled over each, then drizzled chocolate over that.

oh yes i did.
a couple hours before the party my creations were complete!

lemon agave nectar cupcake with blueberry cream cheese frosting, topped with a fresh blueberry

peanut butter cookie cup filled with chocolate ganache and drizzled with peanut butter and chocolate
chocolate cupcake with coconut frosting with sweetened coconut flakes topped with toasted coconut

 i will let you know how the crowd likes them!
hope you didn't drool too much looking at the pictures ;)


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