I do not wish to brag, but I can eat a mean cupcake.
I’m not so shabby at making them, either.
As I’ve lamented before, most Asian kitchens don’t have ovens, which is a very sad thing for somebody who likes to bake as much as I do.
Luckily, I am staying with my incredibly generous and amazing friends, Eric and Melanie, who have the nicest apartment I’ve ever lived in, period, and by far the nicest place I’ve lived in Asia. They have hot water IN THE SINKS. They have WATER PRESSURE IN THE SHOWER. They have SOFT BEDS. They have AN OVEN. They have A MIXER. Perhaps best of all–they have NETFLIX.
I realize that people who have not lived in Asia or in developing countries will have big question marks over their heads, like–So, why is any of this a big deal? Sounds like a normal apartment to me!
None of the apartments I’ve had in my time in Asia have had hot water anywhere except the shower, and that was only sometimes. Thai beds are hard as freaking rocks (anybody know why?), and the rest I’ve already discussed. Anyway, it’s really nice to be here. Melanie and Eric are super laid-back and have made me feel completely at home. And, yes, they are going to have to drag me kicking and screaming out of here when the time comes.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a vestigial baking limb that felt like it was being cut off due to the lack of an oven, so I’ve been using the oven here a lot. I’m not exaggerating when I say I feel like myself again when I mix some stuff together and then shove it in an oven to turn into food.
I decided to make chocolate cream cheese cupcakes the other day because they are one of my absolute favorites. I know I’m not a food blogger, but I’m going to post the recipe, anyway. BECAUSE I CAN.
I used a vegan chocolate cupcake recipe as the base because I find vegan cupcakes to be lighter and moister than traditional egg- and butter-based cakes. Seriously, give them a try. Nobody will ever know they’re vegan, I swear on my life. Vegan food gets a bum rap sometimes, but as long as you ignore the oft-annoying ramblings of vegan warriors, you can find a lot of good stuff.
This recipe is actually from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which is worth every single penny it costs. I’ve used my copy so much that it’s falling apart. And now you will make these cupcakes and then you will buy the book and everybody will be happy, yes?
Stuff You Need for Cupcake World Domination:
- 1 cup soy milk (I used regular milk)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (I think regular vinegar would work)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F and smack some liners into a muffin tin. Or place them gently. WHATEVER.
- Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. (The real milk curdles quite a bit; soy not as much.)
- Think about the word “curdle” for a bit. It’s kind of a funny word, isn’t it? Curdle. Curdlecurdlecurdle.
- Gather yourself together and proceed to the next step.
- Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the milk mixture and beat until foamy.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. (I didn’t sift.)
- Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- 6 ounces chocolate chips
- Mix together the first 4 things. You can use a mixer or just a fork, like I did.
- Add the chocolate chips and stir it all around.
- Eat some of it and then remember there’s raw egg in it and you shouldn’t eat it, especially as eggs aren’t refrigerated in Thailand, which I REALLY don’t understand. (You could probably skip that step if you wanted to.)
- Pour the chocolate batter into liners, filling 1/2 way. If you fill more than halfway, you won’t see the cream cheese swirl and you will be very disappointed.
- Add a big spoonful of cream cheese filling.
- Bake 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Or, if you’re me and Melanie, eat them immediately after they come out of the oven and curse the molten cream cheese and chocolate chips while simultaneously saying how these are the best cupcakes EVER. Repeat until you feel a little sick from all the deliciousness.