Monday, March 3, 2014

The quest for an ethical cupcake

As I'm trying to eat better and make better food for my family I have come to realise that there are many facets to "good" food.  An apple can be a good food, an organic apple would be even better, and an organic apple from your own back yard would be best. Also with so many "revolutionary" diets on the market one does not even know what good it anymore, at least health wise. So what is healthy for you is one aspect of good, another is the environment and where the food comes from and this ties into the ethics part of my post. Food that grows closer to you obviously contributed less carbon emissions getting to your kitchen. I have also been thinking about dairy a lot, especially since becoming a mother. I have grown up with milk and eggs, have been told that cows like to be milked but there more I find out about factory farming and the more I think about what cows have to go through, it feels wrong to me. Some once pointed out to me that it is the sexual exploitation of (female!) animals.

This is where I come into conflict with traditional baking. You need butter, you need eggs and you need milk. Up until not too long ago sugar was part of the slave drive. Suddenly the traditional art of baking does not seem so appealing. When I bake it's almost always a dessert for a special occasion, a celebration, something I make to be enjoyed with people close to me. One should not get joy at other's expense just for a cupcake or a piece of cake.

So I decided to try my hand at vegan baking. So at least my baking will be ethically and hopefully taste wise "good". There will still be fat, sugar and for now gluten involved, but like I said it's meant for special occasions.

 I found some really easy cupcake recipes on Chef Chloe's site and decided to do a hybrid coconut and chocolate cupcakes. I think this cupcake turned out great and no one could tell there were no animal products in it. The coconut flavour did not comeout tht much but I do think it added a nice richness. It also kept well for a couple of days. I made the cupcakes on Friday, the buttercream on Saturday and everything still tasted fresh Sunday, when the last cupcakes were polished of.

No animals were harmed in the making of this cupcake

Ethical Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with a Chocolate "Buttercream"

Makes 20 medium cupcakes
Prep time: 10 min
Baking time: 15 min

 

Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup sunflower oil
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180deg C.
  2. Lightly grease 20 cupcake liners.
  3. Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and wisk.
  4. Place all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and wisk till well combined.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and wisk till just combined. Do not over mix!
  6. Fill the cupcake liners aprrox 2/3 with the batter.
  7. Bake for 15-18min, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Chocolate Buttercream 

Makes just enough batter to ice 20 cupcakes. (If you plan on doing elaborate piping I would double the recipe)
Prep time: 10 min
Icing time: at least 10 min

 

Ingredients

½ cup unrefined coconut oil (should be solid at room temperature)
1 tablespoons cocoa powder
1½ cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut milk


Method:

  1. Using a hand held or stand mixer mix the coconut oil until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract and beat until combined
  3. Add the coconut milk if you need to loosen the icing.
  4. Ice those cupcakes!



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