Cocobanana Carrot Cupcakes
makes 24 mini cupcakes + 8 regular, or 18 regular cupcakes
for the cakes:
2/3 cup raw sugar (sub brown sugar)
1 banana, mashed
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted then measured (you can sub canola)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch each cinnamon and salt
1/2 pound carrots, shredded (on a cheese grater or using a food processor)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line your cupcake tins with liners.
Stir the sugar, banana, oil, eggs, and vanilla together in a large bowl.
Dump all of the flour over top and sprinkle the baking soda, cinnamon, and salt over the flour.
Stir until just coming together, then add the carrots and walnuts and stir until thoroughly combined.
Evenly portion into cupcake liners, and bake for 11-12 minutes for minis, 15-16 for regular size.
for the frosting:
8 tablespoons butter, softened
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Splash vanilla extract
Beat everything together, with a paddle attachment, until smooth.
Pipe or spread onto cupcakes as desired.
I topped my cupcakes with some homemade marzipan that I made out of carrot juice, almond meal, and sugar. I tinted it with some tumeric (I actually love the spicy, mustardy flavor of tumeric in sweets, I know, it’s weird.) and a little food coloring.
(I have a nap penciled in in about 15 minutes. I’m very busy. Island time. It happens.)
Mouthful (Chocolate-Nutella-Orange-Cheesecake) Cake
For the cheesecake layer:
(from Piece of Cake via RecipeGirl)
16 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven.
Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil.
Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
Wrap a double layer of foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese- blend until it is nice and smooth and creamy.
Mix in sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.
Add eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition.
Finally, mix in sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla.
Mix until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven.
Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan (it will fill the pan surrounding the cheesecake).
Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan.
Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes.
It should be set to the touch and not jiggly.
Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour.
When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely.
For the cake layers:
adapted from Gourmet via epicurious
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch (you can also use 2 3/4 cups cake flour, omitting the cornstarch and AP flour)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large whole eggs
zest of one entire orange
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/3 cup sour cream or buttermilk
1/3 cup milk
handful of mini chocolate chips; enough for a healthy sprinkling on two 9 inch layers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
Rub the sugar and zest together with your fingers until very fragrant.
Beat the butter until softened, then add in the orange sugar.
Cream together until very fluffy and light, about 3 minutes.
Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping after each addition, then add in the vanilla.
Stir the sour cream, juice, and milk together.
Stir the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt together.
Either alternate adding the wet and dry or slowly dump them in at the same time (my preferred method… Just go slow so the flour doesn’t go all over).
Mix just until homogeneous, then pour into prepared pans.
Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the batter, and bake until golden and springy to the touch, about 20-25 minutes. A cake tester should come out nearly clean, with perhaps just a few crumbs sticking on.
Allow to cool completely before assembling the cake.
For the frosting:
2 sticks butter
1 3/4- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
big pinch salt
3/4 cup Ovaltine
1/2 cup nutella
splash vanilla extract
splash cream, if needed
Beat butter until soft, about 2 minutes.
Add in the ovaltine, nutella, salt, and vanilla, and beat to combine.
Slowly add in the powdered sugar, tasting to check the sweetness. (If you need more powdered sugar to thicken the consistency, be sure to add in a pinch more salt; you can also add in some more ovaltine for thickening.)
Play with the amount of powdered sugar to thicken the frosting; environments differ and really affect the thickness/pipeability. If you need it to really thicken, don’t add too much more sugar or ovaltine, instead, stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up.
If your frosting is too thick, add a splash of cream, about 2 teaspoons at a time, to thin it out a bit. Don’t add too much, and wait between additions, because if it becomes soupy, there’s no going back.
Apply a thin layer of icing on the chocolate chip side of the first layer.
Place the frozen cheesecake layer on top, and spread another thin layer on top of that.
Place the second cake layer, chocolate chip side up, on top of the cheesecake.
Crumb-coat the whole cake in a thin layer of frosting, then chill it, either in the freezer or fridge, for 10-15 minutes in the freezer or 15-20 in the fridge.
Take the cake out and generously frost it with the remaining icing.
To smooth out the sides, dip an offset spatula in hot water, wipe it off, and gently run it on the outside of the cake.
Top with chocolate curls, if desired.
for the roasted milk and white chocolate mousse:
100 g milk and white chocolate; I went almost exactly halfsies
1 egg yolk
110 g cream
12 g sugar
1/8 tsp gelatin bloomed in 1 teaspoon cream
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Place chopped chocolate in a baking pan and bake, stirring vigorously with a spatula every 15 minutes, until extremely fragrant, about 40 minutes.
The chocolate will have caramelized; you won’t see much of a color change because there is milk chocolate in addition to the white chocolate, but if you taste it, you will notice a distinctly more complex flavor.
Pour into a bowl; you should have about 85 g of chocolate. If you have more, eat it!
Heat cream, yolk, sugar until 175 d F.
Strain over chocolate.
Allow to sit until chocolate is melted.
Stir in bloomed gelatin and pour into molds.
Freeze until use; place on plate to temper at least 5 minutes before service.
for the nocciola gelato:
1/2 cup milk
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts
Heat the milk until simmering. Pour in hazelnuts and steep for at least 2 hours and up to a few days, in the fridge.
Strain and discard the hazelnuts.
Blend all ingredients together with an immersion or regular blender, then pour into a pot and heat gently, stirring constantly, until custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Let cool completely, then spin in an ice cream maker.
for the dark chocolate bonbons:
adapted from Elizabeth LaBau
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, tempered
1 tablespoon cream
1 teaspoon glucose
1/3 cup passion fruit pulp (find it in the frozen section with other Goya products)
4.5 ounces white chocolate, chopped
Bring passion fruit purée, glucose, and cream to a boil.
Place the white chocolate in a heat-safe bowl and pour the cream mixture over.
Allow to sit for 2 minutes without touching, then stir gently until the ganache is smooth and homogeneous.
Allow to cool.
Coat your molds with the tempered chocolate, then pipe in a little of the ganache.
Seal with more chocolate and allow to harden.
for the passion fruit crème:
adapted from Milk Bar
65 g passion fruit puree
35 g sugar
1/4 teaspoon gelatin
6 tablespoons butter, cold
1 g kosher salt
Blend the puree and the sugar and egg together until the sugar granules have dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
Pour into a pan; clean the blender.
Bloom the gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water.
Heat the passion fruit curd over low heat, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil.
Remove from heat and add it to the cleaned blender.
Add the gelatin, butter, and salt, and blend until the mixture is “thick, shiny, and super-smooth.”
Allow to cool completely.
for the gianduja:
roughly 1 2/3 cups hazelnuts
scant 1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
big pinch salt
1/3 cup milk powder (or more, to taste)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Prepare a baking sheet with a silpat.
Bring the sugar to a boil in a dry saucepan, and allow to cook until it reaches a golden-amber color.
Immediately stir in the hazelnuts, working quickly.
Spread out the brittle onto the silpat as thinly and evenly as possible.
Allow to cool completely, then break into chunks.
Pulverize the praline with the grapeseed oil until liquidy and almost entirely smooth.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix to combine.
Taste and adjust for your preferences; I wanted this spread to be a deep, dark, chocolate, so I didn’t add much sugar, but I did add a nice big pinch of salt.
Can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks (But it won’t last that long…)
Plate the gianduja first; use a chilled plate.
Pipe a few dots of passion fruit cream around the plate.
Place the bonbons where you would like, then follow with the mousse.
As soon as the mousse is out of the freezer/mold, work quickly, as it will melt.
Next, quenelle a scoop of the gelato and place in the center of the plate.
You will thank me after they sell you their soul.
Was shooting in RAW mode, not RAW plus jpg like I normally do.
Forgot that Windows Live doesn’t automatically download .CR2 files; instead, for God knows what reason, they were automatically routed to the recycle bin (that’s the misfire part).
Found all photos in said bin.
Kicked myself repeatedly.
Downloaded Canon software.
Spent 30 minutes converting all .CR2 files to jpegs for editing.
Then spent 30 more minutes editing due to noise due to the necessary high ISO used while shooting due to the fact that I decided to shoot at 10:00 pm.
Also, sorry for the grain, especially on that second gif.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…
Sorry. It’s just me. Nothing special.
But often I am asked (yes, boring old me), with slight suspicion and narrowed eyes, “What are you?”
And when I answer that question, it is immediately followed with, “So what do you eat?”
Um, so, here goes: I am a nutritarian, which is a term I use loosely. I like to think that I follow a diet led by my principles, rather than solely my stomach. I am conscientious of my body and of the environment. I make choices that I hope will benefit them both. Technically, I am a strict lacto-ovo-vegetarian (I eat dairy (generally only cheese and yogurt) and eggs), a part-time vegan, and a lot of times, a raw foodist. I guess I’m also a locavore because I do my best to eat locally and sustainably.
|One very full, very sleepy little kitty|
I hate these labels. They’re restrictions that I don’t particularly care to have. I’m not one or the other one hundred percent of the time. (Except the no meat or bones deal. I’m not trying to proselytize, but if you are looking for more information, read up with some of the great books out there, like Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals (my favorite book), Hal Herzog’s Some We Love, Some We Hate, and Some We Eat, and Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. )
I believe the real truth about food and how we should view it finds its roots in the simplest fact of it all.
Food is, in and of itself, love. Cooking is an act of love. It represents the need and desire to feed and nurture those who you care about, including yourself. Live to eat, not eat to live. The act of eating is hugely important; feeding yourself and others represents an innate desire to nourish those whom you love. Most importantly, food is not just fuel; it is a vital social connection between all of us. It shouldn’t be used just to get by, nor should it be all about the labels.
There are so many fads going on nowadays that everyone feels pressured to define their way of life and way of eating with names. What’s the point? It doesn’t help you enjoy a fresh piece of fruit any more knowing that you are “raw” and “vegan.” You’re not really happy when you deny your body a treat because you’re on a diet, and your body sure isn’t happy either. If you’ve been drooling over chocolate for weeks and weeks, have a piece of cake. You’ll be happier and healthier for it. Treats are treats, and we all deserve them once in a while.
Our society has got it all twisted. Left and right, I see people going gluten-free, raw, vegan, paleo, vegetarian, dairy-free, nut-free, fat-free, low-fat, high-protein: doing the Atkins or the South Beach or Weight-Watchers or whatever. In my opinion, we could learn a lot about eating from Europeans and Asians, who take time to have a meal and enjoy what is put in front of them. Instead, we leap like lemmings off a cliff, plummeting towards “health” by following all sorts of wacky diets. A lot of times, we convince ourselves that we are doing or feeling better without gluten or dairy or carbs, but most times, it’s the placebo effect taking hold.
Give your body the nutrients it craves; don’t hold back on the foods you really desire because of a restrictive diet; feed your body, love your body, love yourself. Simple as that.
Phew. Anyways… I made this raw cheesecake a few weeks ago, because I had been longing after many of them online. I’m glad I did. It most certainly isn’t low calorie or fat-free, but it is damn delicious.
Raw Blueberry and Raspberry Cheesecake
adapted from a few places, namely Green Kitchen Stories
Makes 2 4.5 inch cakes, or (possibly, I haven’t tried it) one 8 inch cake
For the crust:
1 cup mixed nuts; I used walnuts, almonds, pecans, and a few bits and bobs I found in the pantry
6 Medjool dates, pitted
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
pinch sea salt
Pulse the nuts in a food processor until they are relatively finely chopped. Add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until they begin to come together. Press into the bottom of your springform pan and place in freezer.
For the middle (cheese) layer:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 and up to 8 hours
zest and juice of one large lemon
pinch cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cardamom
seeds of one vanilla bean
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons agave nectar
Gently heat agave and coconut oil together until liquid and uniform. Place everything in a food processor and puree until very smooth and thick. Pour over crust and place in freezer.
For the top (berry) layer:
about 3/4 cup mixed berries (I used raspberries and blueberries)
juice of 1/2 a lime
Puree until smooth, pour over chilled cakes, and freeze until set.