I made the most wonderful chocolate quick bread recently. I was sitting on a kitchen stool early one Saturday morning sipping coffee and staring out at a gray, cold Columbus, Ohio sky. Feeling sad about the prospect of yet another winter in Ohio. Aaaahhhhhhhh! Why do I live here in Ohio? Ice and snow and horrible drivers! Rain freaks Ohio drivers out. You can only imagine what snowflakes do. Why not Hawaii? Hawaii sounds nice.
Anyway…an email took me away to a beautiful, loving post from one of my favorite bloggers, I Am Baker and the story she told of her young daughter brought me to tears. I was so taken by the emotional story, I hopped from stool and decided I was baking that morning!
Only prob…the recipe involved peppermint which the husband loves. I do not. I’m the baker here so…I win. I replaced the peppermint with blackstrap molasses and some baking spice, and topped it with a gorgeous, red cranberry glaze. The cool part was the cranberry glaze was mostly leftover homemade cranberry sauce from thanksgiving. Yeah me…glaze mostly already done!!
This spicy quick bread turned out so well and the husband kept asking for it, get this…over pumpkin pie. I know. Winner winner here. I made a big and little loaf (for Olivia!) and we were done with both in 2 days. Possibly a day and a half. When I needed to make something for a work party, I decided to fashion the quick bread into cupcakes.
They are really easy to mix up with some pumpkin, molasses, cocoa and spices.
Begin by blending in a large bowl the pumpkin, maple syrup, sugar, yogurt, vanilla, and Blackstrap Molasses until smooth.
Do not be afraid of Blackstrap Molasses. I know, I know. I had a niece call me one day making a recipe that had this ingredient and was all worked up about actually using this to make something…to eat. Yes. It is quite delicious, although I admit an acquired taste. I adore it and could eat it tablespoon after tablespoon. It is a dark brown sugar-y, medjool date, deep flavor that adds richness and complex flavoring to desserts and baking. Unlike empty calorie sugar, Molasses, particularly blackstrap, is filled with micronutrients you needs. Do not be afraid. Pour it in!
I then added in the salt and the Penzey’s Baking Spice which I bought on a whim to try and now find indispensable. Get it. You will luuvvvvv it!
Then mix in the flours; I used a mix of 365 All Purpose flour and King Arthur Soft White Whole Wheat, cocoa powder, and baking and soda powders.
I usually use Penzey’s Natural High Fat Cocoa Powder but realizing at the grocery on my way home to bake that I may run out. I found this new Hershey’s Special Dark 100% Cacao Powder. It was the same price as the usual Hershey’s Cocoa Powder so I picked it up. I decided to use only 2/3 cup instead of the 1 cup of cocoa powder I had used before as the mix looked really, really dark chocolate. Nothing wrong with dark chocolate…you know we vegans love our dark chocolate.
When everyone is well blended, using a cookie dough scoop, fill the baking cups until they are about 1/2 to 2/3rds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, turning the cupcake pan half way through the baking time. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean.
These cupcakes rose nice and high and so beautiful. There is nothing like cake or cupcakes that rise just as they are supposed to. You’re on top of the world! A baking champion.
Come on…we’ve all been there! The big cringe face when we pull the ‘ugly’ cupcakes from the oven when we see that they have fallen in the center, or no matter how long you bake them, they stubbornly remain doughy. Amazingly…frosting does not help all problems.
Not the issue here though at all!
So I was already to continue with my leftover Homemade Cranberry Sauce turned Glorious Red Glaze when I saw the Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese just sitting there…lonely in my fridge. Nothing to do and no where to go. Poor Tofutti! I have an idea for you! How ’bout a date with some sweet-tart? Cranberry Sauce!
A match that would make any dating website envious.
Oh yeah…Cranberries and cream cheese. Chocolate and molasses. That’s a gift from Santa right there!
Blend up a container of the Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese with about 5 cups of powdered sugar. I added a little salt and a few tablespoons of my cranberry sauce. I decided it needed just a bit of something else, so I put in a few tablespoons of vegan butter. This is optional but I loved the richer taste. Up to you and your preferences. Blend it up until mostly blended. You could even mix by hand to leave streaks of pink through the cream cheese frosting.
Start drizzling on your glaze until it begins dripping down the sides just a bit. I know this is a bit messy. But oh my was the outcome super duper yummy. I even topped them with a small amount of the cranberry sauce and then another little swirl of cream cheese frosting.
After I had glazed a few of these cupcakes and played with a bit of these, I started making little wells in the center of the cupcakes with a finger to hold more of the glaze. It is wonderful to bite into the cupcake and find a sort of filled cupcake!
You could also put a little dollop of cranberry sauce here and then the glaze on top. These were fun, creative, festive cakes that were quite messy. The taste though was all grown up. Tangy, tart cream cheese and cranberries topping sweet chocolate and spicy molasses cupcakes. They turned out better than I had even hoped. Give them a try.
These were my taster ‘cakes and they were amazingly good. Moist, chocolatey spicy cake made even better by the sweet and tangy frosting. If you are not a fan of the glaze thing…then I would add only half of the Tofutti to the 5 cups of powdered sugar to make a stiffer, more standard frosting that stays on the top of the cupcakes. Depends on your tolerance for icing on your fingers. Come on sticky fingers! Make my day!
- For Cupcakes:
- Wet Ingredients:
- 2 cups Organic Pumpkin Purée
- 1 So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt Vanilla Flavor -I used Raspberry flavor as that's what I had (1)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Penzey's Vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated organic sugar
- ¼ cup Blackstrap Molasses
- 2 teaspoon Penzey's Baking Spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Dry Ingredients:
- 1 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 cup King Arthur Soft White Whole Wheat flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or ⅔ cup Hershey Special Dark cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Ingredients for Cranberry Cream Cheese Glaze:
- 1 tub Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese (this makes a saucy glaze - use half the tub for thicker frosting)
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 Tablespoons leftover Homemade Cranberry Sauce, plus more for dabbing on top
- ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
- Ingredients for Cranberry Sauce (full Recipe):
- 1 bag (12 Oz. Bag) Cranberries
- 1 cup Organic Apple Juice (or any juice Combination)
- 1 cup Pure Maple Syrup
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 teaspoons of Penzey's Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 teaspoons of Penzey's Cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Penzey's Vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake/muffin tins with baking cup liners.
- In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, vegan yogurt, Molasses, Baking Spice, salt and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Carefully blend in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder until just mixed.
- Mix in a couple tablespoonful of cranberry sauce with a rubber spatula.
- Using a small cookie scoop, fill the cupcake liners until ½ to ⅔rds full.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, turning the pan after 10 minutes.
- The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- While cupcakes are baking, mix your Glaze by adding the Tofutti vegan cream cheese to a bowl and blending until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar one cup at a time blending fully after each.
- Add 2-3 tablespoonfuls of Cranberry sauce until the desired color is reached. (You can also use jarred Cranberry jam if you don't have time to mix up and chill a batch of my Cranberry Sauce. If making, it takes about 20 minutes to make and is super easy. Just blend all the ingredients together in a medium pan and cook at a medium heat until about half the cranberries have burst and the sauce becomes thicker. Taste for spices and chill until cold.)
- When the cupcakes have completely cooled, spread a tablespoon or 2 of glaze on the tops of the cupcakes until some of the glaze runs over the side. You can also add a bit of the cranberry sauce on top for extra color, drizzling on a few thin streams of glaze in a festive flourish!
- Before frosting, you can also make a small well in the center of each cupcake and fill either with a bit of cranberry sauce or cranberry glaze for a surprise 'filled cupcake'.
- Refrigerate cupcakes in a covered container for up to 1 week.
Go brave and eat with your hands or eat civilized with a fork. Exceptional flavor is the same. Merry Christmas to all!