Happy World Vegan Day everyone!
Yes, I am aware that World Vegan Day is on November 1st. But, I made these muffins for World-Vegan-Day and they were in the oven by midnight, so that counts – right? Plus it is still Monday in some parts of the world, so there is that.
So – what have we got?
Chocolate Muffins with pink butter cream icing. Yum!
These were pretty easy to make, hadn’t there been several obstacles in my way. Fire alarms, red beet juice, stubborn muffin cups to name just a few… but more on that later.
So. First step. Make the muffins!
I used a chocolate cake recipe from this website. The cake looked yummy, the recipe had good reviews and I actually had all the ingredients on hand (which rarely happens). I was going to make a half-batch first, but then figured: you can never have too many muffins. So I made the full batch instead and got 17 small muffins – not all that much. So, don’t be shy to use the full recipe!
Instead of baking them for 30min, I left them in for about 12-15min. Please do check on them earlier than that, though – because I really don’t remember exactly how long they were in for. After all, there was lots of other stuff going on. I also substituted almond extract for the vanilla extract, which worked really well (if you like almonds).
So while the first batch was cooking, I started to make the icing. I had previously looked into different ways to make your own food colouring (the nutritional stats on commercial industrially produced ones are pretty devastating). After a bit of googling, I stumbled upon this page on the Healthy. Happy. Life. blog.
The suggestion was simple: just use berries, veggies and greens to get the colour you want! Sounds easy enough. I wanted red icing, so I started looking at that section right away. Suggestions are: tomatoes (weird), red berries, aaand – beets. After my wonderful experience with Beet soup just a couple of days ago, I decided to try it. Also, I thought that if beets have the characteristic of staining everything they touch (which they definitely do!), this should work.
Normally, I would have just peeled the beets and thrown them into the blender to get the juice. However, keep in mind it was way past 11pm and a couple of my housemates were asleep already. So the blender, loud enough to wake up a resting stone, was not an option. I had to get creative.
What I ended up doing was to dice the pieces of beet really small and put them into a sieve. Didn’t work.
Then, I grated the pieces of beet and put them into a sieve, hoping the juice would run into the bowl underneath. Didn’t work.
Meanwhile, there was beet juice all over the chopping board, my hands, the knife – but nowhere in a form that I could actually utilize it. I was stuck.
Then, the first batch of muffins was done. This is where the fun part starts. While I was baking, one of my friends was making a sandwich for herself. The toaster is kind of old, so soon we started smelling the smoke. Thinking we were being clever, we turned off the smoke detector in advance so it wouldn’t go off. Unfortunately, that meant that all the emergency exit lights in the house turned on. One of them is directly above my other house mate’s bed – successfully woke up the first person.
Back to the icing.
While attempting to clear up the mess that was the kitchen by this point, I noticed the soy milk sitting on the counter, ready to go into the icing. I thought it would probably make sense to colour the milk first, which would then colour everything. That’s where my genius idea came in: just pour the soy milk over the beets!
And finally, the liquid did wonders. It turned dark red almost instantly. Look at this beautiful colour.
By this point, we assumed it was save to turn the smoke detectors back on. What we did not take into account was that the oven was still on, and the second batch of muffins not quite ready yet. I opened the oven to take them out and – BAM. Fire alarm goes off. I am not speaking quiet beeping, I am speaking full-on shrill siren alarm in the entire house.
This is the note I put on the door to ask for forgiveness. I hope it’ll work! ;)
To make the butter cream icing, I used my old friend Maddie’s golden recipe: put in a tiny bit of milk, a few spoons of butter (Soy milk & Earth Balance in our vegan case), and then just keep adding icing sugar. And stir, until it’s stiff. If you’re not sure if it’s stiff enough, add more icing sugar. Done.
Now, apply the icing, throw them in the fridge for a couple of hours and you’re done! Enjoy.