Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting And Ghosts
Once again I found myself craving "cake"--but not just any old cake. My cookbooks were scattered around the kitchen, pages flipped open here and there. My sort of mad scientist way of going about figuring out what I'd like to bake is nothing but pure chaos. Having moments like these sometimes makes me wish I weren't such a cookbook freak. I have almost too many choices. Nothing seemed to call to me. Until I found a recipe for gingerbread cake. I had not baked a gingerbread cake in forever. I love gingerbread.
I wanted to doll these cupcakes up for the "season". Who doesn't love Halloween? Well, okay maybe there are a few folks out there who think it's an odd thing to celebrate. Not many though as this holiday has become the second largest holiday spend right behind Christmas. I've worked with folks who you just want to smack for not getting that this is not some "demonic" festival with heathen folks dressing up to show their disdain of theirbeliefsystem. It's all about the candy for crying out loud! Well, and ghosts. . . and vampires, witches and all sorts of creepy oddities. I used to like to wait around the corner and scream "Boo" when these unsuspecting fools walked by. Then, I'd only wear black for a week, cackle a bit, plus I'd bring in TONS of candy to share with everyone, pumpkins on the desk--go all out--just to annoy the Non-partakers of Halloween! Oh the joys of office mayhem!
I believe in ghosts. Have my whole life. After all, it was my generation who brought you Amityville Horror and The Excorcist. I remember reading the book, Amityville Horror and scaring the wits out of myself. I remember the movie The Exocist like it was yesterday. To this day, I am scared to death of priests. Once on a trip to D.C. I went for a jog. (I ran all over this country--in every city I'd ever visited--I might write about this some day.) Anyhow, on this one trip, this man from a company we worked with said he'd meet me in the morning for a "jog". So we both laced up and met for a six a.m. jog. As we clomped through Georgetown, he stopped and said, Look, see those stairs, that's the stairs from The Excorcist. . . Nothing could have thrilled me more!
I believe our current home is haunted. Of course it is, this is a seventy year old home. Someone, somewhere down the line lived and died here. Probably quite a few, in fact. I'd pay more to live in a haunted house. That's why I love old houses. What's the fun in a new home? You just KNOW there are ghosts in an old house!
Which brings me to my cupcakes. I just had to go "ghost" with them. I happened to have some Dandies vegan marshmallows on hand and thought they'd make nice ghost heads. (I am heavy into drinking hot chocolate again--I LOVE hot chocolate and marshmallows! Thank god for the Dandies!)
These cupcakes are to die for--seriously. I could not believe how moist they were. I had to adapt a recipe from the cake queen, Rose Levy Beranbaum. I got Rose's Heavenly Cakes for Christmas last year and have barely used the darn thing. It is chock full of delightful cakes and confections. However, I am a little intimidated by some of the cakes because the vegan substitution lists are so long and I can really screw up a good cake attempt messing the science part up--but the vegan changes for this cake worked like a charm. These are made with some whole wheat flour--I was concerned about the "moist" factor given this--but somehow it works. She also calls for orange marmalade in the batter--this is pure brilliant if you ask me! This little hint of orange in the cupcake makes them irresistable. I also opted out of using her 1 1/4 cup of corn syrup called for and split my sweeteners up with some agave syrup. I made mine jumbo cupcakes instead of baking in a regular cake pan. I then opted for a thick chocolate ganache frosting. After all, I am a lover of all things chocolate!
Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting
(Adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes)
1 cup cake flour (4 ounces)
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (2 ounces)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (2 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk
3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 4 tablespoons of warm water (equiv. of 2 eggs)
1/2 cup unsweetened veggie margerine (or 1 stick), melted
vegan marshmallows and mini chocolate chips (optional, for decorating)
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tablepsoon unsweetened soy milk
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 325. Lightly spray two jumbo cupcake pans. (If you use smaller/regular cupcake pans, adjust the baking time by about five minutes or so.) Place all of the wet ingredients (sugars, too) together in a microwave safe bowl and heat up a minute to get the margerine to melt a bit. Whisk well to incorporate. Next, place all dry ingredient together in a bowl and whisk well. If using a stand mixer, place the melted butter and sugars in the bowl of the mixer and then, on low speed, add the dry ingredients in thirds, mixing for a short bit on low to incorporate--don't overmix batter. Just combine until it is fairly smooth. Pour batter into cupcake pan, filling about 2/3's full. This made 8 jumbo cupcakes and I filled the "empty" cupcake holders with water--half way--before placing my pans in the oven for baking. Bake for about 30 minutes. (Check your oven temperature--and do NOT open the oven during the first 20 minutes of baking your cupcakes or something like "flat" cupcakes will happen.). As the end of baking time gets closer--just peek into the oven without opening. Check at the very end with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven, allow to cool in pans for about five minutes. Carefully pour the water out of the cupcake holes. Then, turn pans upside down to remove the cupcakes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. While cupcakes are cooling, place all ingredients for the ganache in a medium bowl and microwave for 1 minute increments until mixture is melted and fairly smooth. Pour onto cooled cupcakes. Allow to set for about thirty minutes. Decorate as you'd like. Store in an airtight container.