Saturday, May 26, 2007


Deadly hot!
In this heat, there is no way that I turn the oven ON. No way.
I don't even turn on the stove top. I haven't cooked much in the last few days.
They say the temperature will drop down a little in a few days, then I can go back to my cupcake baking again, maybe.

Monday, May 21, 2007

something to grow

My friend and I exchanged some seeds, these are what I got from her, very pretty. From the left, mix salad, chinese mustard leaves, and radish. I planted then in soil yesterday, I hope they will come out.
The couple who used to live here left us some very pretty peas. These are what I gave to my friend.They started to come out after 2 weeks, and it is just over 3 weeks now.
I also found some old seeds from Japan. I bet they are expired long time ago, but I planted them anyway, to see if they are still alive.

My boyfriend and I moved in together in December and this is our first spring to spend at this apartment. It has two sunny balconies!! which I never had for the last few years. I'm very excited to see how they will grow.
I started some pots of herbs.
and also a small cherry tomato plant.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Not Vegan Cupcakes in Town!!

I had to try these popular cupcakes in town. I know they are not vegan, but I needed to try them and taste them, I have a huge curiosity : )

This one is from Coco Local on Ave. du Parc. I read about it in a free paper. It is a cute little place run by a cute lady.
There were a few different flavors of cupcakes and also some larger cakes of ring shape, they all had some kind of cute flower decorations. With tax I paid $3.45 or so for a chocolate cupcake. A bit too pricey for a cupcake I thought. Am I being too cheep?

The cupcake was good, really light and the texture was very fragile! It was like eating air. It melted on my tongue. It had a very nice icing, not too sweet or sugary. I'm not too sure if I will go back there again or ever have a crave for it in the future, but it is a very good cupcake. I understand how some people can be crazy about this.

This one is from a rather new store, Petits Gateaux on Mont-Royal. This one is vanilla, $3.14 with tax.

The interior is very cute and spacious. There are tables so you can sit and eat your cupcake with coffee. They had about 7 flavors on the day of my visit, they were all orthodox flavors, like lemon, carrot, chocolate, etc., nothing unusual or mysterious. It was rather easier for me to pick one. I usually take way too long time making decisions over sweets, and my boyfriend would know about it too well. The cake texture is rather dense or heavy side, very well (or over) baked, but good. I find it very fulfilling. It really reminded me of home-made sponge cakes, especially which my mother used to make at home when I was very small. The icing looked overwhelming but it was actually good, not too greasy.
Again, it was good and I probably recommend my friends to try at least once, but not too sure if I go back again. There is a Premiere Moison across the street, and I might be just tempted to get a cheesecake for the same price...

Another one to mention is the Fusia. I don't have any photo of it. It is a tiny restaurant on Duluth, closer to St-Laurent. Their products all contain some kind of flower. It is not a cupcake specialty place. I happened to pass by and picked up the last cupcake on the counter. I was expecting that there were more sweets to choose from but that day, there weren't many sweets left at all, in fact all there were were the cupcake and a few rose cookies. Anyway, the cupcake was gluten-free chocolate lavender! The lady handed me the cake with whipping cream and a piece of strawberry on top. It was $3. It had a very nice light texture and the lavender flavor was very special! It was very good. The rose cookie was very nice too. Is it good enough to make me go back? Yes, definitely! and I will take photos next time.

Vegan Lemon Blueberry Cupcake

Another freezing day! I hate this weather. I miss the sun, hanging out on a sunny balcony with a beer...
I was so annoyed about yesterday's failure. So I had to bake again (and also to heat up this place! )
Ok, so this time I only used one kind of measuring cup, and I measured carefully.

I modified the basic vanilla recipe a bit;
For the liquid part, 1/2 lemon juice + 1 Tbs Vinegar + Rice Milk + 1/4 cup Soy milk = 1 1/4 cup
One lemon zest
about 1/2 cup frozen blueberry

This time the batter consistency was right. They came out great, just as I hoped to be, fluffy and moist are back again : )
The baking time was about 18 minutes (a little longer for the frozen fruits). The cakes are done but looking pale, so the next time I should just leave them in the oven for 20 minutes.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Vegan Earl Grey Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting

It is freezing here in my apartment! so I decided to bake, to heat up.

This one was a disaster.
It didn't rise well and turned out very dense.
The only thing I could think of what went wrong was that it might be the temperature of tea. I made 1/4 cup tea (3 tsp of earl grey). It might not have been cooled down enough when added to the oil & sugar mixture, resulting melting the sugar? Not sure. But I wonder if the sugar helps keeping some air, which is the case when using creaming-butter method.
Anyway, to think of this now, I might also have just mismeasured liquid as well. I used two kinds of measuring cups. The batter felt too thick when the flour was combined, I had a bad feeling then. It is not sweet at all. This recipe needs more sugar to be added. To compensate the lack of sweetness, I put a bit more frosting. Some melted chocolate and brandy were added to the basic frosting recipe. This turned out to be fine.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Vegan Lime Cupcake with Coconut Lime Frosting

Last week it was getting very hot and I was giving up on the idea of baking for a while. But then, it is cooling down and I'm on vacation this week.
So I tried the recipe for slightly larger cupcakes (see previous post).

Firstly, I realized that I needed to use a larger bowl. The batter before adding flour was splashing a lot!
Then, when I was filling 12 cakes, I thought I had too much to fill in. Each was filled up to 1 cm to the edge. I wondered if it was too much or too heavy to rise properly.

The lime I had was huge, the same size to lemon. I would have prepared to use one lime to the batter and another one for the frosting. Instead, I used only one lime for both.

Ingredients for Cupcake:
1 Tbsp Vinegar + juice of 1/2 lime + milk = 1 1/4 cup

1 2/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp and 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
2/5 cup oil (or 100 ml)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 1 lime zest

Baking at 350F degree was fine too. I took them out at about 17 minutes. They rose well, then went down a little.

I actually forgot to add the zest to the batter :(
so I simply used all the zest for the frosting, which I also added shredded sugared coconut and a bit of rum. I only used the lime juice instead of milk. The zest was not too much. This frosting is a little sour and refreshing.

Ingredients for Frosting:
1 Tbsp Margarin
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 cup confection sugar
1 to 3 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp rum
1/2 to 1 lime Zest
1/3 cup shredded coconut with sugar

So, does the slightly larger cupcake recipe work?
Yes. It turned out to be great. I do not see much difference from others, fluffy and moist. The sugar is much reduced compared to other recipes around but it works. Still sweet but not too sweet.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


I'm quite happy with these cakes, but there are a few things to improve;

1. the height
I read that if the oven temperature is too high, the middle tends to rise. I guess I could have flatter top, so maybe I can reduce the oven to 350F, which is the average baking setting. The only thing is that I can not really trust my oven, sometimes it seems to act like it is lower than the dial says.

2. volume
The batter usually fills about 2/3 for 12 cupcakes. When they come out, I feel they are a little low. So, for the next time, I will try the modified version.

3. sugar
The cupcakes could be less sweet. I wonder if I can reduce some sugar.

ingredients for (slightly larger)12 cupcakes:

1Tbs vinegar + milk (soy, rice, almond) makes 1 1/4 cup

1 2/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup sugar
2/5 cup or 100ml oil (I use olive oil)
1 tsp vanilla