Saturday, 3 May 2008

Beauty and the beast cupcakes

Do you ever find that buying an ingredient for one baking project then necessitates thinking of another to use the rest of it up, which demands that you buy something else, which…. Perhaps it’s just me. I had that this week though, and the above little numbers were the products. The ‘beastie’ one on the right (did you ever see such an unprettified cupcake?) is an apple, raisin and oat number, which I made to use up the last of my jar of applesauce. I found the recipe on Starting from Scratch (recipe here) and picked it because Mary said that it had a nice level of spice. I’m pleased to say that I agree – a pleasing tang of nutmeg and cinnamon, and very nice warm (and no eggs, so easily veganised by using soya milk). I’d meant to halve the recipe, but then realised that the whole batch would use up almost all of my apple puree - but then my cupcake liners are smaller than American ones, and before I knew it I had 15 of the little blighters jostling for space in the freezer (well, 14 – I ate one with my cup of tea today). I didn’t bother levelling them out as I assumed they would go melty in the initial heat of the oven and redistribute. Today’s science lesson is that it apparently doesn’t work like that.

The prettier little ‘beauty’ on the left is a vanilla cupcake from Vegan cupcakes take over the world, with added chestnut puree left over from the Passover chestnut orange chocolate mousse cake. I’d already used some of the leftovers in a small batch of Nigella’s jewelled Christmas cupcakes for The Scientist (they got snaffled before I’d organised myself to photograph them, but I’m sure I’ll be making them again). I’d found other recipes for chestnut cupcakes but we didn’t have much margarine, so I went down the vegan route as it used oil instead. Initially I found the texture of oil-based cupcakes a bit weird – not necessarily bad, but uncomfortably different for a comforting treat. They're growing on me though, and the workmates I took them in for gave them the thumbs up. They’re frosted with a simple chocolate buttercream – which I then had too much of, so some of that went on the chocolate Afghans I posted about yesterday.

So, in a strange form of ‘pay it forward’, we all got chestnut dessert for Passover, The Scientist got some Nigella cakes, my workmates got chestnut cupcakes, I got (a lot of) apple cupcakes, Kiwi Sis vicariously got some chocolate Afghans, and I still have a bit of chestnut puree and some chocolate frosting. Enough is enough though: the freezer is full, and I’m only allowing myself to bake when I have an immediate audience to eat the results for the foreseeable future. It’s going to be hard as I just bought a new muffin book. I’ll have to schedule some more work meetings soon – the semester is over now, and my homey workmates only eat catfood.

In a late addition to the cupcake oddity collection, here is the closest The Scientist has come to making one in the whole time I’ve known him. It was part of a ‘Ready Steady Cook’ style dinner which turned into a ‘Here’s the random contents of the veggie basket which need eating up before we go away for the weekend’ dinner. They’re mini potato rosti with cabbage and blue cheese, and he very sweetly made them this size so as not to intimidate me with their heaviness. What a sweetheart. They were really nice, and went alongside sautéed leeks and some leftover quinoa and aubergine chilli which I accidentally made with so much chilli powder that I couldn’t eat it without slathering it in yogurt!


Johanna said...

Loved this post - made me think of how what we cook becomes like a community of dishes all contributing to each other! I often find myself cooking something because I have to use up half a jar I bought for another recipe!

And I have a freezer full of baking that makes me think enough is enough for a while - yet I still have things I want to bake today!

Lysy said...

That's a much nicer way of putting it than I did! I'm being tempted from my no-freezer resolve already, though am trying to stay strong...

Ricki said...

I do that all the time--or even make up recipes just to use ingredients! I've made quite a few from Vegan Cupcakes (though with alterations for my own dietary restrictions) and they're usually great.