Coffee Cake Muffins (Version-2)

In my previous post, I said I hate coffee for two reasons: 1) it makes me palpitate; and 2) it wakes me up. Two hours after finishing that coffee cupcake, I decided on a third reason: I’m acidic. I swore I’m not having coffee again (except of course in chocolate cakes).

But today I found myself baking coffee cupcakes again. Reviewing the recipe from Bosh, I discovered that I made a couple of stupid mistakes:

  • The original recipe calls for self-raising flour. In my excitement, I missed the self-raising part. Thus the absence of a raising agent.
  • I forgot to reduce the amount of flour. Because whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid, 3/4 cup of it should be substituted for a cup of its refined counterpart.

In addition, I discovered that each unfrosted muffin contains a whopping 280 calories! And I doused fudge on Every. Single. Muffin. To add insult to the injury I ate two. And it was breakfast.

Horrible.

And so, as if it could undo the damage, I decided to make another batch. This time, it will be fluffy (I thought if I made it fluffy I could halve the recipe and still have 12 muffins) and lower in the calorie department.

I also decided that this time, I will take my time preparing the ingredients. Here’s the step by step account:

First, I cleaned the entire work area and prepared only the necessary equipment and ingredients. I prepped my muffin tin, too. By necessary I meant the oven, one mixing bowl, 1/4-cup measuring cup and measuring spoons. Seriously that is everything you need. This is Tip 1. Clear the clutter, clear your mind.

Next, I preheated the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit). A pastry chef in the nutrition club I joined before decided to go vegan made me purchase an oven thermometer. It was the best decision I’ve made in my entire life. Tip 2: Buy an oven thermometer.

In connection with that, it’s really important to preheat your oven. That makes the difference between success and favor. That’s Tip 3.

Then, I made my self-raising whole wheat flour. I measured 140 grams of whole wheat flour and added in 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. From this mixture I measured 3/4 cup. This is Tip 4, or how to make your own self-raising whole wheat flour. Hahaha. Courtesy of Food Network.

Tip 5 is scooping ingredients into the measuring cups using a spoon. Scooping directly with your measuring cups may result in you getting more that what you need.

The next I did was to measure everything before I start mixing the ingredients. This is a very easy cake recipe with just five ingredients and does not require mixing the dry and wet separately.

Because I don’t have a food processor, I mixed the ingredients by hand. Tip 6: do not overmix. Then, I spooned the batter into the lined muffin tin. Since I expected that the cake will rise during baking, I just filled them halfway. (Plus I intented them to be small to halve the calories so…) Gently tap the tin on the table to get rid of air bubbles.

Once the oven reached the desired temperature, I popped the tin into the oven and patiently waited. Yesterday’s recipe had a baking time of 20 minutes but since this recipe is just half of that, I estimated the baking time to be 12 to 15 minutes.

Since these are muffins, you can tell the cakes are done when cracks form on top but they still look moist. Tip 7 comes from baking goddess Anna Olson: it’s better to slightly underbake than slightly overbake. Using the toothpick test, I removed the cakes from the oven at 14 minutes.

Now here’s Tip 8: Cool the muffins in the tin for just a few minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack. Leaving it even a tad longer in the tin continues the baking through residual heat, risking overbaking.

The muffins turned out this way:

Observations:

  1. The muffins did not rise as much as I wanted. I wanted them to double but that’s stretching it too far, right?
  2. The coffee flavor was really pronounced this time. Unlike the first version, which tasted more like sugar, this tasted like black coffee.
  3. They definitely are cupcakes, not muffins. Hahaha. Truth is the tops are ugly. (None of the beautiful cracks I was aiming for.) They definitely need frosting but I didn’t care for the extra calories.

All in all, I am pleased with how these muffins turned out.

Healthy Coffee Cake Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour  (measure from mixture of 1 cup flour plus 1 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4-1/2 tsp salt)
  • 1/2 cup muscovado sugar, lightly packed
  • 2.5 tbsp fine coffee powder, decaffeinated (I used Nescafe instant) – you can use less coffee is you want a subtler flavor
  • 6 tbsp cup soymilk
  • 1/4 cup cup oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line muffin tin with 12 liners.
  2. Mix together all ingredients and divide batter into muffin liners.
  3. Bake at preheated oven for 12-14 minutes.
  4. Cool on a rack.
  5. Eat.

So there you go. Try it and tell me what you think! Happy vegan baking!

P.S. Francis’ verdict:

Q: Regardless of the calorie count, which muffin do you prefer?

A: I prefer this one.

Q: How many of these will you eat without feeling guilty?

A: 5

I so love this man.

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Coffee Cake Muffins (Version 1)

In this age of coffee shops, I consider myself an anomaly: I hate coffee. First, because it gives me palpitations. Second, because it wakes me up. Being someone who prefers sleep over everything (yes, even chocolate), I naturally gravitate towards the calming, soothing, sensual route of tea.

Having said that, coffee is indispensible and irreplaceable in my baking arsenal. I love chocolate second only to sleep and coffee plays a huge role in that: in baking, coffee gives depth to chocolate and enhances its goodness. Therefore I always make sure to add coffee even if the recipe doesn’t state it. (Truth is I wouldn’t know if it affected the finished products since I never tried not mixing coffee.)

So to pay my respects to this ingredient (and do a little something for coffee-loving F), I made coffee cake. Which I turned into cupcakes. Because I’m a cupcake person.

I followed the coffee cake recipe from my favorite Facebook page, Bosh, although with some modifications: I used whole wheat flour (because I’ve recently decided to bake only with whole wheat and gluten-free flours for fitness reasons), used muscovado instead of light brown sugar (because I’m just finishing off the remaining muscovado – which I thought was unrefined but turns out isn’t – and then I’d switch to coconut sugar), and used 5 tablespoons of coffee instead of three.  (I know. Five, right?) Also, as I said, I turned it into cupcakes thus reducing the baking time from 25 to 20 minutes.

(I was scared because the recipe didn’t call for any rising agent but I stopped myself from adding in baking soda and vinegar and decided to trust Bosh. Needless to say, naturally, it didn’t rise. Not that it was meant to.)

The finished product are twelve dense yet yummy cupcakes. There’s a nutty flavor and texture from the whole wheat which I love. For the icing I just melted Malagos chocolate in soymilk and coconut butter and whisked it with a little powdered sugar with a hand mixer. It was runny but I’m yet to learn frostings. And a sprinkle of cocoa nibs on top. Because I have to have chocolate.

For a first try, not bad. Not bad at all.

And yes, I’m palpitating right now.

Coffee Cupcakes (makes 12)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup muscovado sugar
  • 5 tbsp fine coffee powder
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 3/4 cup oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line cupcake tin with 12 liners.
  2. Mix all ingredients and whisk.
  3. Pop in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Once done, cool for a few minutes (maximum of 5) in the tin before letting cool on a rack.
  5. Eat as it is or frost as you wish. 😊

P.S. The cake is going to be heavy and dense. F said he won’t snack after eating one. One of these days I’m going to experiment and add a rising agent. Maybe I could double the yield to halve the calories too. For the meantime, I’m going to drink tea to ease the palpilations. Lol.

Monster Banana Muffins

If I become the president of the republic, my first executive order has to be to make bananas the Philippine national fruit.  My second is to serve bananas at at least one meal in all official functions of all government agencies.  And then I will call the chef and ask her (or him) to bake me the most delicious vegan banana cake in history.

Because the humble, delicious banana is happiness.  There’s even a joke at the office to make anyone in a bad mood eat bananas.  And because my Boy Scout was in a bad mood yesterday, I made banana muffins.  (Okay, okay.  His bad mood was just an excuse to bake since he was already fine yesterday afternoon.  But still… bananas, right?)  Truth is, he told me banana is his least liked bread/cake but because I love banana bread/cake (and it’s the easiest to make), he consented to eating this for breakfast today.  We pretended we joined the city’s fun run and this was our post-run food.  (By the way, bananas are excellent post-run.)

I’ve made countless batches of banana bread/cake/muffins before since as I said they’re a breeze to bake.  And I hate to admit this but my favorite version is those I’ve made back in my lacto-ovo days.  They had a good rise, moist on the inside, and had a crunchy top.

But those lacto-ovo days are definitely over so I don’t even look at non-vegan recipes anymore.  Unfortunately, the recipe I’ve been using since then, my favorite vegan Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s banana bread, was more pudding than cake.  (I’m not sure if I’ve been doing it wrong.  But since mine and hers look the same, I don’t think I was.)

So this morning at 4 a.m., I decided I will make banana muffins.  I pre-heated my oven and made the following changes to my go-to recipe:

  • I sifted the dry ingredients.  Chef Chloe’s recipe doesn’t call for sifting, and in fact I’ve read that I must not if the recipe doesn’t call for it.  But for some reason sifting makes my whole wheat cakes lighter so for now I’m not giving it up.
  • I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour because whole wheat pastry flour is healthier.
  • I used ground cinnamon and omitted nutmeg, cloves and ginger because I didn’t have them at the moment.
  • I used regular soymilk instead of coconut milk because I thought maybe coconut milk is causing the cake to be dense.
  • I used 3/4 cup muscovado sugar instead of 2 cups sugar because muscovado is healthier and 2 cups sugar is just too much.
  • I used a blender to mix the wet ingredients so the bananas are practically invisible when you bite into the cake.  I just thought that will make my cake lighter.

(Mama always reprimands me for attempting to healthify recipes which sometimes end in kitchen disasters but. No. One. Can. Stop. Me.)

I meant to bake my muffins for just 25 minutes but I overstayed in the bath so they baked for 28 minutes.  I inserted a skewer and was pleasantly surprised that they were perfectly baked.

The result of my 4 a.m. experiment?

  • Just right sweetness.
  • Nice rise.
  • Top is crispy.

Beautiful.  And yes, I almost cried.

I’m not saying it’s healthy because of it’s size.  (One muffin has probably 600 calories.)  But all the ingredients are good for you.  It’s vegan, whole wheat, and refined sugar-free.  You can healthify it further by making them smaller but at the moment, I’m happy.

By the way, it’s not yet Christmas.  Pardon the pretty, pretty liners.

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Patti’s Monster Banana Muffins

Yield: 6 monster muffins

Ingredients:

Dry:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup muscovado sugar

Wet:

  • 1 cup overripe lakatan bananas (3-4 medium)
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Optional:

  • 6 pcs Malagos 65% dark chocolate, quartered

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius (325 degrees Fahrenheit) and line a six-cup muffin tin with large cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon before adding in the muscovado sugar and mix them well.
  3. Add in all wet ingredients in a blender and blitz.
  4. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir just until incorporated.  You know the golden rule: Thou shall not overmix.
  5. Pour the batter into prepared muffin tin and if you want, add your choice of topping.
  6. Bake in the oven for 25-28 minutes.  The muffins are baked when a bamboo skewer (a toothpick will not suffice for muffins of this size) inserted at the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool a bit and enjoy!

Here’s the instruction:

Banana Muffins

Tips:

  • The recipe will also make 12 regular muffins, 24 mini muffins, or 1 cake.
  • Pre-heating the oven as accurately as you can makes all the difference in baking.  A local pastry chef advised me to get an oven thermometer and my baking has definitely improved since then.
  • Use overripe bananas.  The ones with some black spots.
  • You may blend your wet mixture by hand.  Of course.  But you’d want to mash your bananas first.  Of course.
  • It is important to work really fast when baking using baking soda and vinegar as egg replacer.  If not, this mad scientist trick will not work.
  • I’ve tried brown sugar and chopped nuts for toppings, too, and they’re amazing!

By the way, here’s the nutritional facts from Spark People Recipe Nutrition Calculator.

monster

Cupcakes for Breakfast?

I’m on a diet. 😭

Seriously.  Because I’m meeting up with my UP girlfriends on February 4.

I tweaked the recipe from the book “Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Cooking” by using brewed coffee instead of water, halving the sugar, and subbing muscovado instead of coco sugar.  Anyway, I’m not very happy with the result – it’s not sweet at all… to the point of tastelessness – so I’m not going to post the recipe yet until I’ve perfected it.  I’ll try again later.  My problem now is who’s gonna want to taste a tasteless cupcake?

Double Chocolate Pancakes

Contrary to popular belief, I am not a vegetarian for health and fitness purposes. In fact, I have a helpless and hopeless love affair with all things sweet and indulgent. If it’s legal to marry chocolate, I will.

November last year, I had an obsessive one-morning-stand with then-new breakfast offering from McDonald’s: double chocolate pancakes. It’s two pieces of pancakes with unhealthy drizzling of chocolate syrup and sprinkling of crushed Oreos. I ate it just once: it was too sweet and one-dimensional. But it seriously gave me nightmares. All I could think of was making a dairy-free and egg-free version once my 21-day Daniel Fast in December was over. But when the 21 days were done, I still had to finish all the New Year’s fruits and soy milk in the fridge so I didn’t have the opportunity to live my pancake fantasy.

Then, last night Mama said she wanted pancakes for breakfast. Being Filipinos, my family is the rice-for-every-meal type of eaters, so Mama asking for a Western breakfast happens once in a blue moon and which I’m just too happy to oblige. Finally! The opportunity for my double chocolate pancake dreams.

 
(Okay, so it doesn’t look as neat as McDonald’s but I swear it’s better in so many ways.)

Here are the ingredients and methods for 4 servings:

For the pancakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the chocolate syrup

  • 4 pieces Malagos 65% Dark Chocolate (purchased from The Gift Farm)
  • 2-4 tbsp soy milk (depending on the consistency you’re going for)

And…

  • 8 pieces mini Oreos, crushed (Oreos are accidentally vegan, FYI)

Method:

  1. Heat a slightly greased non-stick pan over low fire.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Add in soy milk and oil and stir until just combined. (Every pancake-loving person knows the commandment: Thou shalt not overmix.)
  4. Ladle 1/8 cup batter to the heated pan. Flip when bubbles form.
  5. Plate. The recipe makes 8 pancakes. Serve 2 for each person.
  6. Using the bain marie method, melt the chocolate with the soy milk.  Adjust liquid according to your personal preference. (I improvised using a bowl over a saucepan with simmering water.)
  7. Drizzle chocolate over pancakes and sprinkle with crushed Oreos.
  8. Enjoy!

That’s basically it. Easy, peasy vegetarian double chocolate pancakes. I love the darkness of the chocolate syrup, unlike the sweet-on-sweet-on-sweet McDonalds version.

Heaven is dessert for breakfast.

Champorado

Because I’m a chocolate girl and I’m not friends with the cold mornings of January.  This recipe was adapted with some modifications from The Sexy Chef cookbook, Eat Clean Love (2016).

champorado

Ingredients:

  • 8 pieces local unsweetened tablea
  • 1/2 cup black/brown/red rice or glutinous rice, soaked in water overnight
  • 2 cups canned coconut milk, mixed well and divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons muscovado sugar
  • Dash ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Combine 1 cup coconut milk and water in a saucepan.  Add in soaked rice and tablea.  Let simmer over medium heat until rice is cooked, about 20 minutes.  (Be extra watchful because coconut milk burns easily.)
  2. Remove from heat.  Stir in sugar, the rest of the coconut milk, and cinnamon.
  3. Enjoy!  (If you’re like Papa Bear, you’d like it hot.  If you’re like Mama Bear, you’d let it cool.  But I’m like Baby Bear, so I love it just warm and perfect.)

Nutrition Facts (4 servings)
  • Calories 187.4
  • Total Fat 15.0 g
  • Saturated Fat 10.7 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 2.3 g
  • Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • Sodium 57.6 mg
  • Potassium 121.3 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 15.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.7 g
  • Sugars 5.1 g
  • Protein