Tag Archives: cakespy

Iron Cupcake Earth: Cranberry

014Here ya go, kids! My entry for this month’s Iron Cupcake is a sweet treat I like to  call Vegan Cosmo Cupcakes. These are named for the cosmopolitan martini cocktail made of lemon-flavored vodka, orange liquer, cranberry juice, and the tiniest squeeze of lime. This delicious cranberry-orange muffin is soaked with a vodka-lime simple syrup, then frosted with orange cream cheeze icing, then rimmed with lemony scented sugar and topped with a lemon curl for garnish, just like the drink.

Here’s what I get if I win, which I’m sure I won’t. I’m not being pessimistic or anything but I’ve seen the previous entries for challenges cheese, basil, and chili pepper and I’m telling you, we have one of the most creative and talented group of bakers out there. I don’t have a chance. And the prizes are…

A pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES,

A one-of-a-kind pin doll from the LOLLIPOP WORKSHOP,

An illustrated book by COOKIE SUNSHINE,

A deliciously sweet apron complements of SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY,

And an awesomely cute as heck piece of artwork by my personal favorite CAKESPY.

It’s up to each of us as to whether or not we want to post our recipe. I’m just going to give you the recipe for my orange cream cheeze icing, because it is PHENOMINAL. It’s my take on Julie Hasson’s recipe for orange cream cheese icing, only vegan, just like my cupcake.

4 oz (half the tub) vegan cream cheese, such as follow your heart

1/2 cup vegan margarine, such as earth balance

pinch salt

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp orange zest

2 tsp orange flavored liquer, or for my straight edge friends, orange juice works fine, too

Cream margarine and cream cheeze with salt. Add in powdered sugar until well-blended, then add in the zest and the booze. Mix well. Ice your treats!

This frosting works great with pretty much any chocolate cupcake as long as you’re okay with the sugar coma it’s going to put you in. Here are some shots for you to check out…


Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com, JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com; the CUPCAKE COURIER http://www.cupcakecourier.com; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com .

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Iron Cupcake Entry!!

So, I’m back from vacation. I took my older kids to Maine for a week, and brought along my gay boyfriend and my mother, in true hag fashion.

Ah, Iron Cupcake. I’ve been thinking about you.

My friend, the Milwaukee Cupcake Queen is hosting a challenge called Iron Cupcake: Earth and I decided to join in on the fun.

The theme for this month is chili peppers. I did quite a bit of searching online for different ideas because nothing was coming to mind that would be interesting and original enough for me. I figured everybody and their uncle would be doing some sort of chocolate and chili powder combination and that’s a little too easy for this gal. Hmm…what should I do? Then I saw it: Jalapeach preserves. A delicously sweet and spicy combination of peaches and jalapenos. Sound gross? I thought so too, but I tasted those preserves and boy are they good. I then thought of corn muffins and remembered how a certain ex-boyfriend of mine used to accompany me to the local Cracker Barrel for breakfast. When they would bring that basket of muffins and biscuits to the table, I would invariably grab for a crumbly corn treat and he would say “No! Don’t eat the muffins! Don’t EVER eat the muffins!” (That story works better if you picture it happening in slow motion, by the way.) I then wondered how a corn muffin would taste with chunks of peaches in it. Add to that a glaze of the Jalapeach preserves. Top it with a smooth cream cheese icing. Garnish it with a circle of jalapeño. I thought I was onto something, for sure. I’m calling them Jalapeach Crumble Muffins with Cream Cheese Icing. By the way, they are indeed vegan. Mmmm….

For the muffins:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or AP works just as good, I’ve tried both)

1 cup cornmeal

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup evaporated cane juice (or plain ol’ sugar)

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup plain soy milk

1 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cup diced fresh peaches (not frozen! too much moisture!! argh!)

Preheat oven to 400 then spray your muffin tin with no-stick. This follows the standard recipe guidelines- let vinegar sit in soy milk for a few minutes to curdle. Mix wet stuff together, mix dry stuff together, mix wet into dry, then mix in peaches. Woot! Divide evenly amongst 12 tins then bake for 20 to 25 minutes depending how hot your oven gets or whatnot. Mine were done enough after just 20 minutes. Let them cool completely before you glaze and frost!!

For the preserves glaze, I simply put about 1/3 cup of the jalapeach into my saucepan and warmed it up on low until it was liquidy. Then I let it cool. Next I took my teaspoon and gently spooned a little onto the top of each muffin using the back of the spoon to spread it around. It smelled soooooo good you guys, I swear!

For the icing I borrowed my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and tweaked it just a hair. Here it is…

For the icing:

1/4 non-hydrogenated margarine, softened

1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp Jalapeach preserves

Cream margarine and cream cheese til light and fluffy then stir in powdered sugar and preserves and mix the crap outta that frosting! I omitted the vanilla from the original recipe and tossed in a spoonful of the Jalapeach because I’m crazy like that , I guess.

I then decided that I had to taste one in order for this to be complete. My assessment: delicious! I’m not just making that up either. I’m not a “call it yummy when it’s nasty” kind of girl. They were a little…different, don’t get me wrong. The jalapeno flavor was not at all overwhelming, which was fine with me. The frosting was fantastic and the sweet glaze went perfectly with the almost-savory muffin. The peaches were bursting with juicy flavor, also. All in all, I think I did a good job on this one.

So, if I win here are the killer prizes the Milwaukee Cupcake Queen will send me: an original piece of artwork by Cakespy, a sweet apron from Jessie Steele, the one and only awesome cupcake courier, and Taste of Home books. Nice! Oh, and here’s a shout out to our other corporate sponsors, Fiesta Products and Hello, Cupcake!

I had a recurring fantasy all week long that goes something like this: Dave Grohl is in town for the Harley celebration. He reads something about the challenge and offers to be a guest judge. He picks my treat as the winner and while my husband is at work decides to hand deliver the prizes to my front door wearing nothing but a leopard thong. Okay, the thong part is gross, I’ll admit it. Dudes who wear thongs are pretty gay, but still. If you know anything about me, you know that the Foo Fighters are my favorite band and I’m disgustingly in love with Davey. Our daughters are only 6 months apart in age and do you KNOW how close I came to naming her Violet? Anyways…

I hope I win. Until then, I’m going to sit here and dream of you-know-who while eating the remaining ten Jalapeach crumble muffins with cream cheese icing…


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Iron Cupcake- Earth and Whoopie Pies

First up, a quick offering of gratitude to Natalie of Bakeanddestroy for giving me a shout out during her interview with Cakespy. That was super cool and not expected at all. We have kind of an odd history, so thank you my friend. Much love.

Also, these are the whoopie pies I made from Hannah Kaminsky’s book, My Sweet Vegan. I pulled the recipe from Julie Hasson‘s website but I have every intention of buying the book, I swear. I’m just jobless right now and what they call ‘broke as a joke.’ Rest assured, as soon as I am back on my feet, this book will be mine. (The recipe is on the bottom of this post.)

So these things were awesome. They went quickly and Carmen told me I could make them every day and she would be okay with that. I think I’ll make them when I’m done here. Mmm…

My mom used to make whoopie pies when I was a kid so these hold a special place in my heart, even though half the people I told about them were like “whoopie what?” So yeah, apparently no one had the baking maestro in their kitchen that I grew up with and that’s kind of sad. She was amazing with her baked goods. However, ask her to make dinner and it was usually some nasty concoction of what she called ‘American Chop Suey’ or something she referred to as Mexican pot pie, complete with Fritos as garnish. Very classy indeed. But boy could she bake the hell out of some pecan tartlettes! I miss my mommy. She bought a house in Alabama so I don’t get to see her that much, but when I do, it’s always the same thing, “Tara look, I bought this whole outfit at the GoodWill for four dollars! Including the shoes!” Oh, to be old and on a fixed income.

Next order of business, Iron Cupcake Earth. If you are interested in this, go there and sign up. If you win the monthly challenge you get all kinds of goodies like a Jessie Steele Apron(I have one, it is fabulous), a cupcake courier(I have one of these also and again, fabulous) and Taste of Home Books.

Our first challenge is chili peppers. I really want to try and think outside the box with this one because I know plenty of people out there will be pairing their chilis with chocolate since they tend to complement each other so well and the chili doesn’t usually overpower the chocolate too, too much. I’m thinking something a little different but I’m not putting here cuz, I wanna win, yo!

Also, if I recruit people, I could possibly win a t-shirt from artist Cakespy (I actually just went on Etsy and ordered the shirt they’re giving away, Jessie was holding one in my size just for little old me) and a super cute cupcake necklace from Etsy seller The Glass Chef. So go to the link and sign up and tell them you heard about it on my blog!

Oh, here’s a look at those whoopie pies up close. Aren’t you jealous? Read my notes after the recipe…

Preheat oven to 350°F
Two baking sheets lined with Silpats or parchment paper
Makes 8 to 10 sandwich cookies


1 cup plain soymilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch process dark cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp Vegan “sour cream”
1 tsp vanilla extract


2 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
3 tbsp plain soymilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Cookies: In a small bowl, whisk together the soymilk and vinegar and set aside, allowing the mixture time to curdle. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. Over in your stand mixer, cream together the margarine and both sugars, beating to ensure that the contents of the bowl are creamy and fully combined. Add the “sour cream” and mix again until smooth.

3. Returning to the now curdled soymilk, whisk in the vanilla. Beginning with the wet ingredients, alternately add them with the dry ingredients into your mixer. Scrape down the sides as necessary, and beat the mixture just enough to fully combine.

4. Use an ice cream scoop or measuring cup to drop 3 to 4 tablespoons of dough at a time onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave a good amount of space between each cookie, about 2 inches, allowing them room to spread a bit. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, until they crackle slightly on top. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool completely on the baking sheets where they should firm up a bit more.

5. Filling: To make the filling, begin with the mixer on low and beat together the confectioner’s sugar and shortening. Add the soymilk, and finally the vanilla. Once the sugar has become incorporated, turn the mixer up to high and whip for a good 2 to 3 minutes; this will incorporate more air, making for a lighter, fluffier filling.

6. Drop or pipe a healthy dollop of the crème mixture onto the flat side of one cooled cookie, and place a second cookie on top. Press down gently to bring the filling right out to the edge. Repeat this process with the remaining cookies and crème filling.

**First of all, this made more than 8 to 10 pies for me. I used my one ounce spring-loaded ice cream scooper to dollop the batter onto the pans. Maybe mine were smaller than hers? Who knows.

**Also, to make this easier on myself, I did these how I do cupcakes: mix wet ingredients, mix dry ingredients, mix them together, etc. It made things easier and they tasted and looked the same as i remembered.

**I did NOT use my stand mixer. Sometimes, that thing is just too much for me. I used my hand mixer, it worked perfectly, although the batter did get a bit thick, but whatever.

**The second time I made these, I subbed 1/3 cup canola oil for the margarine. They had the same taste and texture. I just don’t want them to be as dry the next day, you know? I’ll keep you posted. I mean, they were still tasty the next day when made them with the margarine, just crumbly as all get-out.

**I also added a little more shortening, sugar, and soy CREAMER instead of milk to make extra filling. I love the stuff and I can’t get enough of it in my pies!

**I can’t find dark Dutch process coca powder to save my life so i used the regular stuff.


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L’Opera Cake, or pain in my butt cake

Hi. This was the Opera Cake we were supposed to for the Month of May’s Daring Baker’s Challenge. Good lord was this thing tedious. And I don’t even get to eat it! The point of the challenge is to step outside your comfort zone and be ‘daring,’ get it smarty?

So for this I bought a candy thermometer($15), almond meal($12), parchment paper($5), and used an entire dozen of eggs($3). This cake took me two days to make and one extra day to assemble. Oh, and warning- this cake is NOT vegan. I didn’t even try to veganize this, although you can go here to see a pretty damn good version of one. If you wanna know the history of Opera Cake, I’m going to have to refer you to Cakespy, she’s fabulous and did a whole thing about it’s origins and all that. I’m too lazy to do any actual investigating. Sorry.

I know it’s supposed to have a lot of almond and espresso flavors so I stuck with that. The cake part is ground almonds, or almond meal. I halved the recipe, otherwise it makes an enormous cake, so it only used a quarter cup of flour. I soaked it with the sugar syrup mixed with Starbuck’s coffee liqueur. I made the chocolate mousse with bittersweet chocolate. I made the buttercream also with Starbuck’s coffee liqueur. I did my layering as such- cake, sugar syrup, buttercream, mousse, etc. On the top I glazed it with white chocolate ganache, then drew some fun little musical notes and finished with “L’Opera.” See what I mean? Tedious with a capital T.

It sure looks pretty, doesn’t it? I’m donating it to my friend’s cousin’s bridal shower and I’m not even sure if I want to put my card with it, just in case. I mean, at one point, I’m supposed to use that thermometer mentioned earlier in some boiling sugar and water to help make the buttercream (??) and it got a little crunchy. Oh well. Either they’re going to love it, or hate it.

So, today was supposed to be grilled veggie day, but with the rain and all, it turned into muffaletta day. A muffaletta is a traditional Italian meats and cheeses sandwich, but since I eat neither of those, I’m turning it into a grilled veggie sammie. At least that’s what Giada and Rachel always make theirs with. Oh, and some gross looking olive salad that I’m not a fan of. I use giardinara instead. So….I guess It’s not muffaletta day after all. Oh well.

I used my tabletop grill to make it, panini-style. There were asparagus, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, portabella mushrooms, and red and green peppers. And why doesWordpress always red-underline my Italian food words? I think it’s about time they updated their lexicon.

These were the kale chips i made to go with the sandwiches. How yummy! I got the idea from the Melisser at The Urban Housewife. Thanks woman! They were fab-o!

Here is my daughter with her new zebra pants from angry, young, and poor. Ironically these pants were damn near $60. Isn’t she adorable? And the shirt says “this girl can work it.” From me for Christmas. That’s right, I rule.

Oh, and just a quick note- if you want me to add you to my blogroll, fine. But how about a little common courtesy and putting me in yours? I had some requests for listings and when I went to check out the blogs, no reciprocity. What’s up with that? The people who are in my blogroll now, either have me in theirs, or they just have a rockin’ ass blog that needs to be seen whether or not they give a hoot about mine or not. Needless to say, I did some deleting.

Rock on and do it with a vengeance!!


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