Archive for January, 2011

I’m back!!  Well, I’ve been back for awhile I just, um, haven’t gotten around to writing on this thing yet.  You know, you think that after you get the whole wedding thing done, get the family and friends out of town, and fly off to your honeymoon you can just relax… Wrong!  Once you get back to real life you remember all those things you’ve been putting off for the last month or two.  And then you have to write all those thank you notes and start culinary school.  Well, the latter is probably specific to me, but it still takes up a lot of your time.

A few days after we returned from our honeymoon in Dublin I started Oregon Culinary Institute in SW Portland.  I had thought that I was going to get to go right into the kitchen and start baking some tasty cakes, but they switched things around and didn’t tell me.  So, I don’t get to bake anything until like July, but the upside is I’m learning a lot about wine right now and that’s always very interesting.

Since I don’t get to use the handy dandy KitchenAid stand mixers at school, I’m finding reasons – making up excuses – to use one at home (that I was fortunate enough to receive as a wedding gift).  Things work a little bit different in a stand mixer though… so I’m glad I get to practice before using them at school for a grade.

Anyway, I had this random idea pop into my head the other day about a cupcake.  I’d actually thought about it before but hadn’t ever gotten around to doing anything with it.  This time I happened to have one lonely parsnip sitting in my fridge.  Now don’t be skeptical.  They actually turned out pretty good.  I even made cream cheese frosting from scratch, including the powdered sugar because I ran out (oops).  And!!! they are fairly healthy, for a cupcake anyway.  There’s no oil in it.  The only straight fat actually comes from the butter in the frosting.  They are still very moist however, I don’t think you’ll miss the oil.

So, without further ado, meet…

The Parsnip

The prep work:

  • Chop up a medium size parsnip, toss it in a pan and cover with water.  I added some cinnamon to the mix – it may or may not have made a difference.
  • Boil until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Drain the water and puree with an immersion blender (or blender or by hand if you must).
  • Scoop out 1/3 cup and set aside
  • Add a little salt to the rest and munch on it (pretty tasty).
  • While these are boiling, toast some pecans in a 350 degree oven.  I used a little soy milk and agave instead of butter.  They only take about 10 minutes so be careful and don’t burn them like I did.  Lightly salt them once they are done and chop them up into fairly small pieces.
  • Also, if mixing in dried cranberries, soak them in a liquor (I used vanilla vodka) for at least 30 minutes – I soaked them over night.  Drain before adding to cupcake batter.

For the cupcake:

  • In a small bowl whisk together:
    • 3/4 C soy milk
    • 1 t apple cider vinegar
  • Sift the dry ingredients together:
    • 1/2 C wheat flour
    • 3/4 C unbleached AP flour
    • 2 T corn starch
    • 1 t baking powder
    • 1/2 t baking soda
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1/4 t nutmeg
    • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • In a large mixing bowl combine:
    • milk mixture
    • 1/3 C vanilla soy yogurt
    • 1/3 C parsnip puree
    • 3/8 C agave
    • 3/8 C raw sugar
    • 2 & 1/4 t vanilla extract
  • Mix the wet ingredients well and then add the dry ingredients.  Be careful not to over mix!
  • Fold in the cranberries (if using – I’m not sure they were necessary).
  • Scoop batter into a lined muffin pan.
  • Sprinkle the pecans and a little sugar on top of each future cupcake.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean of course.

Geez this post is getting long!  I’ve forgotten how long it takes to write these things out…

Now, for the Cream Cheese Frosting.

  • Cream together 1/3 C vegan cream cheese* and 1/4 C vegan stick margarine.
  • Mix in 1 t vanilla extract and 2 – 3 C of powdered sugar.
  • Add a little soy milk if it seems to thick.
  • Pipe or spoon onto cooled cupcakes.

*A note on the cream cheese.  Typically I use the non-hydrogenated Tofutti suff, but I really HATE buying it since it is so processed.  So I attempted to make my own this time.  It turned out better than my previous attempts but it still needs some finessing, and perhaps a little thickening.  Here’s what I did:

Vegan Cream Cheese

  • Half block Mori-Nu extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 1/4 C whole cashews, ground
  • 1/2 – 1 T nutritional yeast (large flake)
  • 1/2 – 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 – 1 T agave
  • Scant 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t soy sauce
  • 2 T arrowroot starch

Add everything to a blender or small food processor and process until smooth – I actually used my immersion blender again (I love that thing). Refrigerate for a few hours to help it set.

You probably don’t need salt and soy sauce, but my brain skipped yesterday and I inadvertently put both in there.  It tasted ok though so whatever!  This was way better than what I’ve tried before, but it still needs to be thicker.  All the “1/2 – 1 T” measures up there are because I don’t remember exactly how much I put in, so experiment.  If you have a cream cheese recipe, please share it!!

Alrighty, I’m tired of typing. =)  Happy Sunday!!


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