Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My 100th Post: Ghoulish Vegan Cupcakes and a Giveaway

I can hardly believe that I've been working on this blog since January.  It's the most consistent I've been about a writing project ... perhaps ever, considering that no one is looking over my shoulder requiring me to turn it in (wait a minute, that was my dissertation, too ...).   I even have followers (thank you, everyone!) that make me feel like I'm not writing out into the void, and some people have told me that the food end of it is pretty good, too.

It's been an interesting journey.  As I've said, this blog started out mostly as a food-and-pregnancy-loss blog, turned into a food-and-infertility blog, and now is a pregnancy-after-loss-and-yoga-and-food-blog.  At least one thing is consistent!  I've been grateful, though, for the support of both the IF community and of the random people I've met on this journey.  All of you have given me perspective, have cheered me on, and have offered me a virtual hug when I need it most.  Thank you for being here ... wherever "here" is.

To celebrate (well, truthfully, to celebrate Halloween, and to amuse my class this week), I made gravestones and brains.  Cupcakes, of course.  Brains to represent ... er ... brains.  Mine.  Working.  My writing brain.  And gravestones to signify the demise of insecurity about writing.  (Yeah, right.)  Actually, I'm completely making this up: I just thought people would get a kick out of them at school.

I went with standard vegan vanilla and chocolate batters because they're foolproof and turn out a moist cake, and then for the brains, piped on vanilla frosting using a #12 tip, starting with a "D" shape on each half of the cupcake and adding the squiggles in the middle.  For the cemetery, I used chocolate frosting, dusted with crumbled chocolate cookies and green sprinkles, and topped with a half of an oval-shaped vanilla cookie (Milanos worked well for me, but someone recommended Oreo Fudgies ... I haven't been able to find those here.)  In retrospect, I guess spiders would have been a little less morbid, but I had these cookies that needed to be used ... and besides, I really hate spiders.

I also thought I'd celebrate my readers with a little giveaway.  Since this blog is about baking, at least part of the time, there's a wonderful company I like called King Arthur Flour, which has all sorts of ingredients and tools for the ambitious and less ambitious (e.g. pre-packaged-mix-loving) chef, even things for special (e.g. gluten-free) diets.  They ship anywhere, and there are some things they ship for free (not sure about whether that's true for packages going to Tasmania, but you never know).  If you'd like to be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment below telling me something you've enjoyed so far about my blog, and/or why you read it.  Make sure that there's some way for me to contact you, either through your blog profile, or by leaving an email address.  And please consider poking around a bit, and following publicly if you like what I write!  It helps me to know who my audience is, and I like to try to "follow back" -- or at least read -- the blogs of people who follow HalfBaked: after all, blogging, for me, is about becoming part of a larger conversation.  You're welcome to post this in other "giveaway" sites, but I'm not going to do any of that "if you like me on Facebook you get three more chances" sort of thing ... I feel like everyone deserves an equal chance, because that's the spirit of the blogging communities I've joined in this little corner of cyberspace.  And of course, you're welcome to comment and tell me that you don't want to be considered for the giveaway, too ... no one is forcing you to bake!

The giveaway will be open until next week, Wednesday, November 3 at 10pm Eastern time, at which time I'll choose a winning number from random.org.  Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Vanilla Cupcakes

1 c. soy milk
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1¼ c. all-purpose flour
2 T. cornstarch
¾ t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
¼ t. salt (increase salt to ½ teaspoon if you’re using oil instead of margarine)
⅓ c. canola oil
¾ c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
¼ t. almond extract, caramel extract, or more vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Whisk the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.  Beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and other extracts, if using, in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain.

Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 c. soy milk
1 t. apple cider vinegar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. canola oil
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are OK).

Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Mmmm. brains.

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26 comments:

  1. I doubt they'd ship to Tasmania ;-) - but I never win things so I'm not worried!

    But I would love to help you celebrate your 100th post by telling you what I enjoy about your blog; I don’t think I tell people enough what they mean to me or why I appreciate them.

    I love that you write with intelligence – and let a bit of your emotion and passion come through too. I love getting to know you – I enjoy hearing about a place so foreign to me but is actually close to where I started out in life.

    And I love that you write about food; and I like the food you write about. For the billionth time, I made the coconut flour brownies last night (my excuse was today I’m having some guys to my house to do the hard work on my chinese gooseberry trellis, so of course I had to bake for them). One of my best friends has celiac’s disease, so although I like creating my own recipes that work for her it’s nice to get other things to experiment with. And I tend to prefer vegetarian food, although my husband doesn’t and I haven’t been vego for years. (If I don’t talk about the meat that’s missing, he can go a couple days without noticing!)

    I also love, in the middle of reading either my IF blogs or the blogs I follow under my ‘other’ online self, having a blog that unites two interests. You’re a wonderful writer, whether talking about what you’re feeling and going through or about food. Sometimes I’m too upset to comment about what you’re going through – sometimes it touches what I’m feeling too closely or I’m just too fragile. But I can always talk about food and read recipes.

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  2. I like your blog because you're "one of us", but you're not just talking about that.

    I mean, it would be totally fine if you were (I like and read those blogs too). But the fact that you throw yourself into baking and cooking means I can come here and know you understand all the bad stuff while I read about all this good stuff.

    This is a nice little place to spend a few minutes visiting. And nice, in our hurting world, means everything.

    So thanks, and congratulations on the milestone!

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  3. Congratulation on your 100th post! Looking forward for many more yummy posts! These Halloween cupcakes are so gorgeous!

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  4. Congratulations on 100 posts. I'm a new reader of your blog and really enjoy it. Those cupcakes are lovely.

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  5. Congratulations on getting to 100! I am curious to see how these cupcakes would taste if I used wheat free flour. If I decide to try it out I will definitely let you know!!

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  6. I just found your blog last week, and have already made 4 of your soup recipes! All super tasty!

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  7. We'd ship to Tasmania! Just would probably cost an arm and a leg... ;-) I LOVE the gravestone cupcakes - idea for next year! So glad King Arthur Flour has been a part of your baking journey. Thank you for sharing with your readers!
    -Allison@KAF

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  8. Those are some awesome cupcakes! You just made me develop a terrible sweet tooth... oof.

    Question for you: When do you bake/cook? I mean, during the day. Is this your night time activity? Do you stay up late? Get up early? I need to learn how to find more time in my schedule, so any advice is very welcome.

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  9. Yes, mmmmm brains. They look yummy. Oh, I hope I win, I actually really like King Arthur Flour, that is about all we use in our baking/bread making around here. Good stuff.

    I like your blog because you make me think and because the food always looks so good and because you've been so supportive over at my space. You're a really kind, intelligent woman and I really enjoy reading here. xx

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  10. From your blog the thing I enjoy the most is you!

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  11. Blogger ate my comment... Let's try this again.

    Not here to enter your giveaway, but did want to share that I love your blog b/c you're so down to earth. I also love your blog b/c I have this fantasy that you're from South Jersey like me. The only basis for this reasoning is the verdant field you feature as your background. Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark could never appreciate where the farming heart of the Garden State really is :) And if you ARE from North Jersey, well, just let me live the lie then :)

    Congrats on your 100th blog post and I *adore* the brain cupcakes. Genius! In fact, I'm StumbleUpon-ing this when I get home b/c it's a great recipe. Have a happy Halloween!

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  12. Thanks for your comments on ICWL week!! I'm so happy to find a fellow foody blog! I'm going to add you to my list of regulars! I'm going to make the butternut squash apple soup for halloween! (which will leave plenty of room for candy!)

    k

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  13. Your food looks so good. The cupcakes are perfect I couldn't even begin to make brain shaped frosting. I am good if I can just plop it on there. I am attempting eyeball cupcakes for a halloween party this weekend so we shall see.

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  14. I am guessing the cupcakes were a mega hit:) I love the brain cupcakes, especially. Genius (perhaps quite literally?). And thank you for the tip about King Arthur Flour. (My niece was just diagnosed as a celiac and I'm going to pass that along to her parents).

    I've been following you only a little while, but I think the thing I most like is your philosophical view of things, the way you see something (cooking, for example) not just as a dry/superficial activity, but something with greater implications for life. My two cents.

    (And, your comments. Which I value and look forward to reading, always.)

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  15. OMG Justine I had chills reading that comment you left on my blog tonight. Thank you so much for passing that along and for always being such an encouraging bright spot in my blogging world.
    Your cupcakes look absolutely amazing!! Definitely another to add to my must try recipe pile:)

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  16. Wow, those cupcakes look so delicious! You're making me so hungry right now! haha

    What I like about your blog is your sense of humor, and also the fact that you have a very natural writing style. It's easy to follow and a delight to read.

    -Heidi

    writeme at heidimail dot com

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  17. Congrats on your 100th post, your pictures of food look very good!
    gsyed1120 at gmail dot com

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  18. I love the photos you take of the foods - all of the food looks so delicious

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  19. I'm a new reader as of today! I was searching vanilla cupcake recipes on blogs for making halloween cupcakes myself. Would love to win the flour. Me and my kids go through a lot experimenting in the kitchen.

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  20. I just stumbled on your blog because of the vegan cupcakes! Yay! can't wait to try them!

    bellbottoms809@gmail.com

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  21. I love cooking and baking and love finding a GOOD blog that has recipes that I actually make. Keep up the good work - my family appreciates it!

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  22. I follow your blog & I love finding blogs to read about cooking/baking. I'm new to the at-home mom gig and I really am trying to do more cooking/baking. You have great posts - love and tried the Broccoli Spinach soup (I'm trying to trick my son into greens!) I'm also a fellow NJ resident. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  23. Thanks so much for the work and love you put into this blog! You post amazing recipes!
    kimberly.reuter (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  24. I love looking a the pictures you've posted of your food! Looks like they should be in a magazine!!! I love the little crumbles on your chocolate cupcakes, I'm going to have to try those recpies, maybe change them a bit from halloween to general use!

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  25. This is my first visit to your blog, but I LOVE this post on the vegan cupcakes!! My daughter is allergic to eggs and milk (among other things) and I am always looking for vegan recipes to try! Thanks!!

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  26. This is my first time visiting your blog but I've been trying to find a vegan cupcake recipe to try out. I may just try that one. Thanks!
    PS. I'd LOVE to be considered for the giveaway.
    jesage@asu.edu

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