Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hockey and Cupcakes--What Else Do You Need?

Even though it's mid-July, cupcakes and hockey dominated my Twitter timeline late last week. The New York Islanders, who I really want to stay in the area just because I hate the Rangers so so much and don't want them to be the only hockey team in town, gave a local businesswoman a contract to sell cupcakes during games. Other hockey teams' fans made fun, but they're probably just jealous. You don't get tons of food choices in a hockey arena.

I can't have their cupcakes (although I'm certain a few will be thrown at me and L'Ailee's direction should we show up in Pittsburgh Penguins gear next season.) I can't have most cupcakes, because they contain eggs and I'm allergic to them. However, I could indulge in the Twitter hashtag trend that inevitably resulted. I tend to indulge in lots of Twitter hashtag trends. Oh, there was lots of fun to be had with #NHLCupcakes. These were mine:

Marc-Andre Fleury: Sweet, flaky, often tasty, but OH GOD STAY IN THE WRAPPER!
Martin Brodeur: Big enough to share with your sister.
Sidney Crosby: It only looks super-sweet and plain vanilla.
Brooks Orpik: Comes with Free Candy sprinkles, may damage internal organs.
Daniel Carcillo: Can be eaten without incisors, but tainted with rat hairs.
And the one my wife liked best:
The Detroit Red Wings: Bitter old ginger

Given all this, I wanted some cupcakes. L'Ailee bought me vegan chocolate-orange cupcakes from one of NYC's many, many cupcake shops for my birthday in March, but she can't remember which one. So really, my only choice is to get baking. (Hey, grocery stores need support, too!)

Non-vegetarians tend to get all lemon-faced at the mention of vegan baked goods, but if I'm going to be eating them, I can't really bake anything else. To make these, I blatantly ripped off a moist, tasty cake recipe at the Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen, poured it into a cupcake pan, then ripped off an orange frosting recipe from Southern Food. These don't rise quite as high as regular cupcakes, but you won't care. L'Ailee and her best friend sure as hell didn't!

Vegan Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup soy yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (I used Florida's Natural with pulp instead, because it's summer.)
2 tablespoons grated orange peel

Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray and dust the cups lightly with unsweetened cocoa. Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add the yogurt, vanilla, balsamic vinegar, water, and orange juice. Beat by hand or with a mixer on low speed just until well-combined, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the grated orange peel, and pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then pull out, using a knife if necessary. Cool the rest of the way on a wire rack. Then ice with...

Orange Frosting

4 tablespoons softened margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons orange juice
finely grated zest of 1 orange

Beat margarine with vanilla until light and well blended; beat in powdered sugar slowly. Add a few tablespoons of orange juice and the orange zest. Beat and add more orange juice as needed to make the frosting spreadable.

Hungry yet? No, I don't know which hockey player or team those cupcakes should be compared with.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pina Colada Pie for Pensburgh

There was talk of having a baked goods recipe exchange at Pensburgh today among some of its Twitter users. (Thanks for the idea, @CariGoPens!) My favorite pastry has always been pie. This is a very summery one that won't heat up your kitchen too much. I had to make it tonight. It is actually half of an absurdly complicated recipe I found in Food and Wine magazine a few years back, poured into a pre-made pie crust. Even though this is a cocktail blog, there's no alcohol, sorry!

Pina Colada Pie

Nilla wafer pie crust, pre-made or homemade

2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups water
10 thin lemon slices, seeded
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
One 3-pound pineapple—peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)

MAKE THE COCONUT CREAM: In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk with the sugar, butter and vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water; whisk the mixture into the coconut milk and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean. Pour the coconut cream into a shallow bowl, press plastic wrap directly on top of the cream and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

MAKE THE POACHED PINEAPPLE: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, lemon slices and vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the pineapple and cook over moderate heat until the fruit is translucent, about 15 minutes. Transfer the pineapple and its cooking liquid to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

MAKE THE PIE: Spoon pineapple onto bottom of pie crust. Spoon coconut cream on top of pineapple. Serve and eat!