I once worked briefly for an Army Colonel. He could’ve stepped off of the movie set of Apocalypse Now: tall and wiry with a stiff and graying crew cut, a brisk manner and a lopsided, slightly maniacal grin that revealed a mouthful of misaligned teeth. Plus the requisite rich southern accent and an endless supply of (to keep things G-Rated here) “earthy” sayings. I kept a mental catalogue of his favorite expressions, one of which was “it’s an ugly baby.” Well, back on October 27, 2011, I published a post of several ugly babies. The post was titled A Delicious Failure: Sunken Chocolate Cakes and the recipe was based on one by Marcel Desaulniers called Heart of Darkness Cakes. After my failure, tasty though it was, I vowed to try again. It’s taken me over a year to do it. They’re still ugly babies, but my, they are delicious. (If chai isn’t your thing, just leave out the spices and you’ll have a delicious chocolate truffle.) Coming up soon: Black and White Cakes – a vanilla version of the above – which cleverly and thriftily uses the leftover truffle filling made for these cupcakes.
Now for the really important stuff: the winner of a copy of Kathy Hester’s book, The Vegan Slow Cooker! Congratulations to – - - Paula!! You are going to love this cookbook! Please check your email, Paula :-). Thanks to everyone who entered - – and remember that there will be a lot of giveaways happening on the Virtual Vegan Potluck website over the next few weeks – - so don’t despair, you still have a chance to win something! (P.S. Tomorrow I reveal the winner of the $50 forAnima gift certificate…)
And…One year ago today: Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice & Cranberries
Deep Dark Chocolate Chai Truffle Cakes
(filling makes enough for two batches)
1/2 cup dates, roughly chopped, soaked for a few hours
1/2 cup pecans, soaked for a few hours
1 tbsp. crystallized ginger, chopped
1/4 tsp. anise seed, ground
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup coconut oil
2.5 oz. prune puree (baby food)
1 cup vegan, semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp. flaxseed meal + 9 tbsp. water (whisk together then let sit for a few minutes to thicken)
1/2 cup maple sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. all-natural coffee flavoring, optional
Make the truffle filling:
Drain and rinse the dates, pecans and crystallized ginger and put them in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely ground.
Meanwhile, carefully melt the chocolate chips and the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder. When melted and combined, remove from the heat and set aside.
Spoon the mixture date/pecan mixture into a blender and add the almond milk, all of the spices and the chocolate/coconut oil mixture. Process until silky smooth. Pour into an air-tight container and refrigerate for a few hours to firm. I rolled mine into sloppy balls (~20) and placed them in the freezer to firm up – making them easier to handle when putting them into the cupcakes.
Make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly oil 10 muffin tins (fill the empty tins half-ful with water). In a small saucepan, slowly heat the coconut oil and the chocolate chips until melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder. In a smaller bowl, combine the prune puree, flaxseed meal mixture, vanilla extract and coffee flavoring, if using. Whisk the chocolate mixture in with the other wet ingredients and then stir this into the dry ingredients. Batter will be very thick and gooey.
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin tins and bake for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the muffin tins from the oven and drop truffle filling by the teaspoonful+ on top of each muffin – gently pressing the filling down into the cupcakes. Return the muffin tins to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the cupcake is firm and a toothpick comes out clean (from the cake, not the truffle). Let cool for a few minutes before removing cupcakes from the pan. Serve warm.
These reheat beautifully in the microwave. And the freeze well.