My grandchild, C., named after a famous opera heroine, is going to be 4 years old in a few days, and happily I am going to be at her party. I was in Japan when she was born and for the other three birthdays so this is a special one for me. Like many youngsters she seems to be captivated with fanciful outfits, and she's pretty stylish, thanks to the fact that her parents are artistic. My son is an actor, and his wife is in film editing, and C. is already exhibiting all the charisma of a young entertainer-to-be. This month she's "the best" at practically everything from climbing down out of the car to climbing up again into it, and she does everything with a "ta-da" flourish that her father was famous in the family for. I'm pretty sure she is also the best at eating chocolate cake.
I approve of her enthusiasm.
For her birthday I have created some pretty chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache, decorated with a single silver dragee, and for the non-wheat eaters, I've made some chocolate cupcakes from Isa's Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook, which I adapted with gluten-free flours. They are also dairy-free with a creamy soy milk deep chocolate ganache. These may be just a bit vertically challenged compared to standard cupcakes, but they are light, tender, and delicious. And shhh, don't tell, but I believe they may be better tasting than the tall drink of wheat versions. They are completely vegan, so far more guiltless, as everyone knows, than regular chocolate cupcakes (even if they have almost the same number of calories).
For all the little girls out there with big chocolate love, and the big girls too, here is the way I made them. Eat and enjoy and if you have any pictures with a big chocolate mustache, I'd love to see them.
Chocolate cupcakes (Vegan and Gluten-free)
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup light brown or regular sugar
1/3 cup safflower oil 1 tsp (organic) vanilla extract (keep it real)
1 cup GF flour mix:
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup white rice flour
2-3 Tb. corn starch and fill the rest of the 1/3 cup measure with white rice flour
1/3 cup good cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Put the soy milk in a large bowl and drop in the vinegar, giving it a quick stir. Allow to sit and curdle or a minute or so, then add the sugar, vanilla and oil and stir. Add the cocoa to the flour mixture along with the baking powder, soda, and salt and stir together with a fork. Then add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat with a fork until all the large lumps are out. Put cupcake papers into a muffin pan and fill them about 2/3 full. No need to grease them as they come out pretty well when cool.
Bake the cupcakes about 15 minutes or so at 350 degrees. I watch them and take them out when a light touch on top with a finger tests just a bit bouncy. If you want to make sure, stick a thin knife in the centre and if the dough doesn't cling to the knife, they are done. Remember that the cupcakes may cook more quickly at the back of the oven than the front. I usually reverse the pan during cooking. And don't worry about the testing jabs, because you're going to cover them with ganache.
Chocolate Soy Ganache
For a double batch (frosts about 3 dozen or more cupcakes; half it for a single batch)
2/3 cup plain soy milk
3/4 cup -1 cup sugar, to taste (more or less)
6 ounces good quality unsweetened baking chocolate (the semi-sweet contains milk), chopped
Heat the soy milk gently in a saucepan, adding the sugar and stirring to dissolve. Take it off the heat and sit it on a back burner while you chop the chocolate with a large knife. Waxed paper may make the clean-up easier. Unless it has taken an hour to chop, in which case you might need to give the soy-sugar mixture a shot of heat, add the chocolate to the pan and stir and stir (off the heat) until it all melts and then starts to thicken to a spreadable consistency, not too thick. Stop stirring and keep it on the turned- off burner to preserve the spreadability. Pick up each cooled cupcake, apply a spoon of ganache, and give it a quick swoosh around. Set them on a plate or platter to cool. The ganache will harden without refrigeration. It will also be chocolate heaven when you bite into it, a great way to get your daily allowance of chocolate vitamins.