Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me! Sprouted Vanilla Spice Cupcakes with Carob Avocado "Buttercream" Frosting

Today is my birthday! Quel excellent birthday gift of something that sort of goes with my current ways of eating AND matches my blog title. Am I right or am I right? ;)

These cupcakes aren't like other cupcakes. They (most likely) won't give you a headache or feel phlegmy (if you don't know what I'm talking about, soak some grains in clean water overnight. See the slime that comes off and takes forever to rinse out the morning after. Personally, I'd like to keep that out of my body as much as possible, but that's just me). They're flour free, whole grain and made without cane sugar. They'd be really made without refined sugars if you used date syrup instead of brown rice syrup, but I don't see a whole lot wrong with brown rice syrup and I didn't want to waste my precious dates on a few baked goods. They're just fine on their own.

These cupcakes area also oil-free, which is great if you're trying to avoid heated fats, and they're totally delish. I don't know if they're the same as the ones I used to bake, but to me these are pretty damn good. I had my mom try one too and she ate it up in a few bites. I think that means they were a success :)

You're definitely going to want to do these in advance. Your grains need to soak overnight (unless you use buckwheat, which only takes half an hour or so), and once they're done soaking, you need to rinse them until the water runs clean. It might take a while. Be patient. Then your cupcakes need to cool before they can be transferred to an airtight container where they can sit overnight, or at least for a few hours. If you don't transfer them to an airtight container, they will most likely stick to your cupcake liners.

For this recipe, I used a cup of steel-cut oats, half a cup of barley and half a cup of spelt berries. You can totally make this with GF grains, and add xanthan gum if you feel you need it. You can play around with the seasonings, too. If you want chocolate or carob cupcakes, add cacao or carob powder to taste, and increase the sweetener as desired. If you want mango-lime muffins, throw in some chopped fresh mango and lime zest with a touch of lime juice. Like I said, play around with this recipe. It's pretty hard to mess up.

Vanilla Spice Cupcakes
makes 18 regular-sized cupcakes

  • 2 cups grains, soaked (equals four cups soaked grains)
  • 1/4 cup liquid to blend (use your own judgement)
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ACV
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • salt

Once you've rinsed and drained your grains, transfer them to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. You really don't want any small chunks. Add water as necessary. I did this in three batches because my food processor isn't big enough to fit it all. You do what you have to in the name of cupcakes, right? You could also do this with a mortar and pestle, or with a flour mill that can work with wet... stuff.

Transfer your soaked and pulverized grains to a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients. No really, there isn't any method to this. #MyKindOfBaking. You probably want to whisk it until most of the clumps are gone. You could use a stand mixer, or you could get a workout and use an arm mixer. I have a stand mixer. Did I use it? No. I missed my workout to bake cupcakes. Gotta get it in somehow.

Preheat your oven. My oven is broken and I'm tired of using my toaster oven (read: my muffin tins won't fit) so I used my bbq and got it around 350. It could have been closer to 375, but again, no method to this madness. Just trust in the power of the cupcakes that everything will turn out.

Transfer your batter into lined muffin tins, filling about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. It would be best if they were made out of recycled unbleached paper, but cutesy paisley ones will do (or whatever ones you have. You don't eat cupcakes for their liner, you eat them for the icing. Actually, just skip over the cupcakes and do icing shots. It's got healthy fats and antioxidants. So good but it tastes so bad... not bad like gross bad, bad like bad for you sinful bad). Challenge yourself to see how many times you can use the word transfer in one post. Don't bother taking a picture of the cutesy paisley cupcake liners, though. That would be too smart.

Transfer your muffin tins to your preheated oven (or bbq) of choice. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

After cooling for five minutes, transfer to a cooling rack, and allow to cool while you make your frosting. Oooh, it's getting good now.

Carob Avocado "Buttercream" Frosting

  • 1 1/2 ripe avocados
  • raw carob powder to taste (you can use cacao powder if you so prefer)
  • brown rice syrup to taste
  • splash of vanilla extract

Mush your avocados in a food processor or blender. If yours is in the dishwasher and you simply cannot wait, just use a fork and whip it real good. Add carob powder, vanilla extract and brown rice syrup to taste. If you wanna get really crazy (and are really excited about the new jar of cinnamon you just got), throw in some cinnamon too. Again, whip it (or process/blend it) until it's smooth. Mine still had a few tiny chunks of avocado, but they didn't get in the way of the frosting. They actually looked kind of cute, adding a little bit of festive (why?) green to the mix. #WordsOfALazyBaker

Taste test often.

Frost your cupcakes. You could totally pipe the frosting on, but you'll probably need to double the frosting recipe. I just used a spatula thing (which I'm pretty sure is actually a rounded cheese knife or something. Oh well. It worked wonderfully and I felt super profesh). Top with coconut flakes and hemp seeds.

These are a whole meal. Seriously. You've got your healthy carbs (sprouted grains!), healthy fats (avocados!), healthy protein (hemp seeds! Optional but they're cute and make people feel better about eating pancakes. There's also protein in the grains, avocados and probs carob powder, too) and antioxidants (carob powder!). And avocados are green, so you've got your greens in too, right? Is that how it works?

Have you ever tried soaked and sprouted grain goods? Have you ever made them yourself? What's your favourite sweetener? Favourite grain? Favourite cupcake flavour? :)