Cupcakes for Lindsay

Thursday, June 27, 2013

You know how you meet someone sometimes and know instantly that you're going to be friends? That's how it was with Lindsay and I.

@ashleydtl @kitchenoperas Singing Strong
We initially bonded over our love of musical theatre, singing and Idina Menzel in 2008 and our relationship has flourished since then.

We sing together.
We make delicious gluten free, vegetarian, Ashley & Linz-friendly things.
We take hilarious adventures.
We share a love for tea,  kale, girly things, Pinterest and everything to do with hummus.
And our voices combined reach decibels that only teeny tiny dogs and unicorns can likely hear. (we take our #twosquealingsopranos hashtag quite seriously) 

I adore this woman who is a kindred spirit to me in many ways. And in the years we've known one another, the two of us have been through a lot.

She has supported me through so much, including my Crohn's diagnosis, going gluten free and dairy free (and everything else free), the end of my relationship with my ex-fiance and everything else along the way. She has been one of my biggest supporters in all my artistic endeavors and has always been there to lend a hand or an ear when I needed it most. A couple months ago I was going through a drawn out break up, Linz was there to listen, (gently) force me to eat, distract me with shopping adventures and sangria and give me flexibility to sleep on her couch for a weekend while I needed the extra support.

I've had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with her family as we've prepared for the wedding and they are some of the most delightful people I've ever encountered. Her fiance is an awesome guy and I've had so much fun with both of them over the years; I love their love. She is surrounded by so many beautiful people who love her immensely, which is further affirmation to what an exceptional person she is. Linz is kind, hilarious, talented, charming, empathetic and wonderful; she's one of the best friends I could ask for. I only hope that I've been as good of a friend to her as she has been to me.

@ashleydtl @kitchenoperas wedding shower

It was such an honour when she asked me to be one of her bridesmaids, and I'm grateful that the last year has brought us closer together. The planning process has been a lot of fun and I'm so happy that I got to be so closely involved! This week has been full of wedding shenanigans and formality, culminating in the big day on Saturday. I've already cried so many times (with joy!!) about the wedding and I don't know how I'm going to keep it together this weekend. Thankfully my dress has pockets to store all the tissues I'm gonna need... 

The bridal shower was this past Sunday and I wanted to make extra-special Linz-friendly treats for everyone to enjoy so I pulled together these cupcakes. Based on a few different recipes, I was quite happy with the results and so was the bride-to-be. 

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes for Lindsay 
Gluten free, Dairy free
Makes 18-20 cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
(Aka Lindsay's Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake in miniature form)
Gluten free, Dairy free
2 c. cooked quinoa
1/3 c. almond milk
4 large organic, free-range eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. coconut oil
1 1/2c. organic cane sugar
1 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Line two cupcake tins with 18 liners. Use snazzy ones for extra pizzazz

In a blender, add the quinoa, almond milk, eggs, vanilla, and coconut oil. Blitz until smooth.

 In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Once well combined, add the quinoa mixture from the blender.

Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, so that each is about 3/4 full. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350F, until a knife or skewer inserted into the centre of  a cupcake comes out clean. Put on a cooling rack to cool.

Dairy Free Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Gluten free, Dairy free  

I love to use my pink Kitchen Aid stand mixer for this recipe! This was the first time I had made it with something other than butter. It's a little more fussy and needs to be stored in the fridge (especially in 40 degree heat), but the result is incredible and creamy! 

5 large free-range, organic egg whites
1 cup + 2 tbsp organic sugar
Pinch of salt
485 g. Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool - about 8-10 minutes.

With mixer on medium-low speed, add the coconut spread a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all of the coconut spread has been added, whisk in vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth.

Refrigerate immediately. Whip in mixer before using if not using icing immediately.

Putting it all together

Once cupcake are cool, pipe or frost with the buttercream. I was storing the piping bag in the freezer until I was ready to pipe. The buttercream holds its shape well enough to be piped and looks really pretty, it just needs to be cold.

Drizzle with a chilled dairy free caramel - I used this one.

The cupcakes are best stored in the fridge, but should be taken out of the fridge about 5-10 minutes before serving to allow the buttercream to soften and the cupcakes to thaw a bit. The buttercream is insanely smooth and the texture contrasts nicely with the chocolatey cupcakes. The caramel makes them a bit messy, but caramel + chocolate is a divine flavor combination. All taste testers agreed!! AND they're gluten-free and dairy-free!

gluten free dairy free cupcakes

Can't wait to continue the celebration with Lindsay, her soon-to-be husband and all of their family and friends. It's going to be an incredible day for one of my most favourite people. I love you Linz!


Linz said...

Oh my word, I am so overwhelmed. This is so lovely.

HUGE HUGS and squeals, and can't wait for this weekend to celebrate even more with you!


Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

What a wonderful friendship! And the recipes look delicious!!!

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