Mmmmm. . . nothing beats the lovely aroma of roasting apples with a good dose of cinnamon and a nice coating of agave nectar. I was in desperate need of some baking so I deemed the upcoming saturday to be “babycake saturday”. I recently purchased the babycakes cookbook at a a candy shop in the Hotel del Coronado and have since been waiting to try the famed cupcakes. So on the Friday before my babycake holiday, I made homemade apple sauce. The recipe calls for homemade applesauce (or store bought), and I just felt I wasn’t doing the recipe justice if I -heaven forbid- bought applesauce. So, Friday night, when most of the world was kicking back to relax after a long week, probably with a cold drink in front of them, I was in my own way relaxing too. . . just with a hot oven in front of me instead of a cold drink!
The aroma of roasting apples lured my beast of a yellow lab, Chief, into his favorite spot in the kitchen, watching me bake and hoping and begging with those puppy dog eyes for just a taste of what I was concocting.
I just couldn’t resist taking this photo once they were out of the oven; they were beautiful. I used a mix of granny smith and gala apples. I wanted pink lady in stead of gala, but my local king sooper didn’t have them. The next day I saw them at Natural Grocers, oh well!
The next morning it was into the blender with a little more agave and hot water. . .
Ok, this really is the best applesauce I have ever had. I tied on my fresh white apron, put my hair up, and I was ready for babycake saturday! I gathered all my ingredients and was equal parts excited and intimidated by my new and unusual mountain of ingredients.
Coconut oil? This stuff was solidified at about 77° and had to be melted first. Of course the first thing I did was to smell it (and so did my husband when he walked in later), expecting a very coconutty scent, but to my surprise it had a very neutral scent. The book said to get unscented coconut oil, and of course I read this part after shopping, but apparently I got the right stuff. And, the big surprise ingredient was agave nectar, and NO sugar. Now, I had become a big agave nectar fan back when I realized it dissolved very easily in cold drinks, like my favorite afternoon drink, iced tea. But agave in cupcakes, INSTEAD of sugar, hmmm. I love experimenting and this book was challenging me! I couldn’t decide whether to make the vanilla or chocolate, so in honor of babycake saturday, I made both! First the vanilla . . .
I was relieved that they at least looked like normal cupcakes. Yes, you are right, one is missing, you caught me, I couldn’t even grab my camera before trying one! Of course I burnt my mouth, but it was GOOD. Actually very good. The lemon zest was an especially nice touch. Wow, I was impressed. I was starting to wonder if anyone would even guess they didn’t have butter, or egg, or *gasp* sugar. Oh, and yes that is my agave sweetened iced tea. Next onto the chocolate!
These were pretty good as well. I do have to admit I like the vanilla better. But, these were moist and had a very rich chocolatey taste (perhaps enhanced by my Peet’s Sumatra coffee). I do believe in baking with good quality chocolate too. I used to work for Ghirardelli when I lived in California (ask me how much I gained when I worked there! or actually please don’t!) and it does remain one of my favorite chocolates to bake with.
Once they were on the cooling racks, I realized they were only safe as long as I was guarding them. Perhaps in a normal household, these would be safe from family pets, but looking over at my drooling beast . . . just waiting for me to turn my back . . .
I decided to put them in my fall back Chief-proof location; on top of the fridge.
Why am I surprised . . . ? But the cupcakes did survive! My frosting adventure later that day will be another entry. Whew, my first successful babycake saturday.