This is probably my biggest post - both in terms of size and news!!!
First, I must go back to April 2...I held a cupcake tasting party with friends and family to help me narrow down my entry into the NCVA's inaugural Cupcake Challenge Contest. I think I mentioned this party way back but couldn't divulge any details for fear of giving hints about my entry into the contest!
I made about 250 mini cuppies. I have no idea how I had the time to bake them all, but lemme tell you there was a plan each night for a week before the party where I had a task or three to complete. And of course I had to freeze the little suckers. Somehow, on that fateful Saturday of the party, I managed to get Kyson to swim class, get myself all ready and stuff and ice these things - and everything went so smoothly!
In order, Senators Strawberry, Capital Coconut Cream Pie and M'eh'ple Cream. Everyone cast their vote and the Capital Coconut Cream Pie came out on top, narrowly edging out the Senators Strawberry!
Pics of each:
Perfecting this damn cupcake took alot of effort, mainly for the coconut topping. I'm totally sick of the icing sugar/Earth Balance marg/shortening frostings, as they are too sickly sweet. So I tried coconut cream with a little icing sugar. Remarkably, it's cool and light like whipped cream or Cool Whip, but without all the gross stuff. However, you can't just grab any can of coconut milk to try this out. I had a fave gold label Rooster brand from Loblaws but of course they had to discontinue it and the only kinds in the Barrhaven area just don't have enough fat to them. So Kyle trotted over to T&T for me, where they have the most ridiculous selection of coconut milks and canned creams! I find the best ones to use have more than 17g of fat per serving. My fave is the Savoy brand of canned coconut cream - stick it in the fridge overnight, then scoop out the fat at the top, add icing sugar and whip. Easy! You just can't get greedy with your scooping trying to get every last bit of fat out - once you hit liquid put your spoon down and give it up (use the leftover stuff in a smoothie - yum!). It's great on anything - hot chocolate, pie, in trifle...and it's just so easy.
Capital Coconut Cream Pie Cupcakes
¾ cup organic sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
¾ cup coconut milk
2 tbsp unsweetened soymilk
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
½ cup graham flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup fine shredded coconut
¾ cup organic sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp powdered egg replacer
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup unsweetened soymilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 can coconut milk or cream (look for highest fat content possible – 17g or above per serving)
¾ cup icing sugar
2 tbsp medium shredded coconut, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, canola oil, coconut milk, soymilk, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
3. Add flours, soda and salt, then whisk again until no large clumps remain in batter. Fold in coconut.
4. Fill muffins liners about ¾ full with batter. Place filled pan in middle of preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Use a steak knife (Finally - a use for these!) to carve out a hole in the middle about 1.5cm in diameter. Remove cone-shaped innards and discard or devour (I prefer the latter).
1. Mix sugar, cornstarch and egg replacer powder in a small saucepan.
2. Slowly add coconut and soymilks and whisk to combine.
3. Let come to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly.
4. Once bubbly and thickened, cook for about 30 seconds, still stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
6. Let cool for one hour at room temperature, stirring occasionally.
7. Transfer to a glass container, lay a piece of parchment on top to prevent skin from forming, and refrigerate for at least four hours.
8. Once chilled, mix with electric mixers to make filling completely smooth.
9. Pour into a plastic pastry bag for easy cupcake filling or simply scoop into holes using a small spoon.
1. Chill canned coconut milk or cream in the fridge overnight. Do not shake can.
2. Carefully open lid and scoop cream solids into a large bowl. Stop scooping once you hit anything watery – even the littlest amount of water will not enable you to get a whipped cream consistency.
3. Whisk or use whisk attachments on electric mixer to fluff coconut cream, then add icing sugar. Whisk or mix to combine until soft peaks form.
4. Spoon on filled cupcakes or pipe with pastry bag. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top. Keep chilled.
Anyways, fast forward to today. I prepped over the last couple of days and everything was going well until a crisis! My custard wouldn't set. I have found that my recently purchased cornstarch has not been thickening anything up. I quickly made a second batch this morning and it still didn't set as nicely. Ah well. I quickly filled them and topped with cream (with a hungry Kyson nipping at my ankles). So not the best feeling going into the competition! They were still cute though:
VegFest was a blast! It was so busy - it was great! Most of the food vendors were sold out halfway through! I think the organizers should be proud of the turnout! As for the contest, I found out mine made it through into the top 10 and would be judged by the panel - it was a little nerve-wracking since there were some gorgeous creations and they were all picked apart by real foodies.
I was hopeful to win, but alas, it wasn't meant to be :) But for the last couple of months, it made this stay-at-home mom pretty excited to have something fun to look forward to. And I love to bake for others! So my other big news is that I will soon be opening up shop and offering vegan baked goods (cuppies, muffins, cookies) to the vegan masses of Ottawa, or for anyone that's interested. I won't be returning to work until the kids are in school, so this will hopefully provide a little income and keep me sane. I'll be sure to post more about my upcoming venture!