My lovely friends are true enablers.
I wanted to make cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes.
Even with my (somewhat) minimalist pantry and kitchen, I was mostly to my goal.
I had silicone muffin wrappers, but no muffin tin. I wasn’t sure whether I could simply bake the muffins without the tin, but my friend graciously lent me her muffin tray so I did not have to experiment. (Note: Please tell me if you have tried)
Next, I found the perfect recipe: a chocolate cupcake that only used chickpea flour as its base. No wheat flour, no funny grain flours, not even oat flour. Just chickpea flour. In fact, now I was rather intrigued. Chickpea flour cupcakes??
I was missing one ingredient, though: baking powder. I have baking soda (it also helps for cleaning), but no baking powder in my minimalist pantry. Oftentimes, especially if baking with chocolate, baking soda can be substitute with baking powder. So I tried that option first. Baking experiment fail #1: I forgot to look at the conversion and it isn’t a 1:1 substitution. My cupcakes rose beautifully but tasted kind of salty and somewhat metallic.
I vowed to try again with less baking soda but my friend spared me the trouble and slipped me a bag of white powder at work. Clearly labelled baking powder. The label may have been unnecessary because if she were smuggling cocaine, I would have inherited a fortune. ;)
In any case, I shared the cupcakes at work. I was up-front that I was sharing vegan, gluten-free and grain-free cupcakes. I told people that it was made with besan/chickpea flour because quite a few of my co-workers cook with it, too, and they were shocked it could be used in a sweet baking treat.
However, what I did not share (initially) was what I was hiding in my frosting. I ran with the bean-theme and used tofu as my base! It is similar but more firm than my chocolate mousse pie filling. I thought it was too sweet when I first tasted it but it mellowed out and firmed up considerably overnight in the fridge. Both the frosting and cupcakes were well received, so I consider it a success!
This recipe is courtesy of Vegan Beans From Around the World which shares 100 recipes of naturally vegan recipes from around the world. Kelsey simplified the recipes to keep the ingredients easy-to-find and did a marvelous job of curating a variety of vegan bean-centric dishes. Dutch Split Pea Soup to Nigerian Black Eyed Pea Stew to Argentine White Bean Salad, there are plenty of dishes I still want to try. Oh, and the Navy Bean Pie (aka Muslim bean pie) which is also in the dessert section. I have been spoiled by gorgeous cookbooks as of late, so I am missing the pretty photos. Although hopefully these photos will encourage you to try out this fun cupcakes.
Recipes from Vegan Beans From Around the World spotted elsewhere:
Thankfully, the publisher is letting me give a cookbook to one reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered, please leave a comment here, telling me about your favourite recipe made with beans. I will randomly select a winner on June 13, 2014. Good luck!
Note: I was given a copy of the cookbook from the publisher. I was under no obligation to share a review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.
PS. Have no muffin tins? Try making this into a cake, as seen here.
PPS. Need other ideas for using chickpea flour? Look no further than Emma’s round-up post.
PPPS. I am sharing this to Credit Crunch Munch and We Should Cocoa for $2 cakes. I didn’t price out the cupcakes but without butter and eggs, vegan cakes are typically cheaper. Chickpea flour can be found at more economical prices at Indian grocers.
Chocolate Chickpea Flour Cupcakes
Reprinted, with permission, from Vegan Beans From Around the World
Kelsey says: These little darlings are chock full of fiber and protein, all while being vegan, gluten free, and versatile. Not to mention super easy.
2.75 cups chickpea flour (also known as gram flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1.75 cups sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons freshly ground flax with 1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup homemade soy milk (or your favorite dairy-free milk)
1 cup boiling water
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the chickpea flour, salt, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
3. In a small bowl, mix together your flax and water solution, vanilla, vegetable oil, soy milk, and boiling water.
4. Mix your liquids into your dry ingredients. Pour into your cupcake liners (filling only halfway).
5. Bake on the middle rack of your oven for approximately 25 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking. The top should be firm when done.
6. Top with your favorite frosting, some sweet bean paste, or some powdered sugar.
Makes 24. (the recipe says it makes 12 regular sized cupcakes, but I made 12 cupcakes with a half-recipe)
Chocolate Tofu Frosting
Adapted from Post Punk Kitchen
10 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
12 oz extra firm silken tofu (the vacuum packed kind)
1/4 cup plain soy milk
2 tbsp agave syrup or maple syrup, or to taste
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. In a small saucepot, place an inch of water. Cover with a heat-stable bowl and bring water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and allow the water to continue to simmer. Add chopped chocolate to the bowl and do not let it contact any water/steam. Melt, stirring occasionally. Once melted completely, remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
2. In a blender, combine the tofu, soy milk, sweetener and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Add chocolate and blend until completely smooth.
3. Remove from blender and allow to chill at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. It will solidify and lose some of its sweetness. Use a piping bag (or a ziplock bag with an end cut out) to frost the cupcakes.
Makes a scant 2 cups.