There is a great line from one of my favorite bands. It goes, “I wake up, I rise to the sun, I go to work, and I come back home.” When I first heard it, I thought damn this sounds a little too familiar. Is my life really this mundane?
Creatures of comfort. Comfort creatures.
Is that really what we are? Or is this society’s way of molding humanity into a tidy phrase, like a perfectly rounded capsule of Excedrin.
I don’t think many of us like the idea that our daily existence can be summarized in a mere 17 words. But even the most adventurous of spirits, may feel the gravity of these lyrics from time to time. For me at least, they have taken on a whole new meaning.
As some of you may know, I made a big move recently. From Columbus, Ohio to Berlin, Germany. I looked at the creatures of comfort notion and spat in its face. I wanted to live life and step out of my “comfort zone.” I wanted to feel on edge. Despite these desires ( that some may go ahead and label as naive), I can feel myself slipping into old habits.
I crave a routine. I’ve been avoiding the strange.
I am afraid to enter a new area without an exact destination in mind because then I will be forced to test my lousy map skills. I rarely talk in stores and restaurants because I don’t want to speak English and am afraid of sounding stupid in this new language. I try to remain open and warm to strangers but I can feel myself closing up when there is no beer in my hand to grease the wheels.
And so it goes..back into the ways of the familiar. It irks me. It gives me the feeling that I am missing the point. But now, at least, I am aware of the limits I place on myself. So it is time to slowly loosen their grip and marinate in the unknown that surrounds me. As a friend said to me, “ I hope you’re enjoying the nervous energy… It’s unsettling and beautiful.”
He couldn’t be more right.
That’s why I’m going to leave the comfort to the baked goods, where I always turn to feel at home. Maybe not so good for the waist line but always delicious. Especially the recipe I will share with you today: Vegan chocolate cupcakes with matcha green tea frosting. Come to think of it, they are the perfect mix of the familiar with the new. The classic chocolate base pairs wonderfully with the slightly exotic green matcha flavor. Damn, did I plan this well.
Start with avocado. Yes, avocado. Sounds a little weird, but just trust me on this. The avocado replaces butter in this recipe. Woo. Omega 3 action.
Avocado + fresh whole wheat flour from Georgia (The flour was a Christmas present. My mom knows me well.)
Mash it up. Maybe mash with some Ray Charles on in the background. Good combo.
Behold the mixing art.
I threw in some white chocolate chips for good measure. Rachel was happy about this.
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used almond oil)
1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
About half a bag of white chocolate chips (if you like)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift together all of the dry ingredients except the sugar. Set that aside too. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, including the super mashed avocado. Add sugar into the wet mix and stir. Mix the wet with the dry all at once, and beat with a whisk (by hand) until smooth. Pour batter into lined cupcake tins. I was able to make 12 full size cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cakes cool before frosting.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoon matcha (green tea powder)
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Beat the butter in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed for a few minutes. Add the powdered sugar and matcha. Stir on the lowest speed possible (or give it a few turns first by hand to avoid sugar flying everywhere) until the sugar is incorporated into the butter. Then beat on medium speed and add the vanilla extract and salt. Beat for 3 minutes, then beat in a tablespoon of milk, adding more (or less) if necessary. More milk will make a thinner frosting, more sugar will make a stiffer frosting. Spoon the frosting onto one cookie and top with another.
I hope you enjoy!
These cupcakes were a serious hit! I highly recommend. And I realize that they are only half vegan. But here are some vegan frosting options, if you want to go all the way:
Matcha frosting: http://www.peasoupeats.com/2011/02/21/vegan-matcha-cupcakes/
Cream cheese frosting: http://www.naturalsweetrecipes.com/vegan-lemon-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting/