Saturday 16 May 2015

Kale cheesecake surprise choc mint cupcakes for a vegan bakesale

I didn't sleep well on the eve of ANZAC Day.  I went to bed early in preparation to rise at 4am for the Dawn Service but the two little girls in the bed did not want to sleep.  My mind wandered to kale.  Kale and cake competitions.  I had decided that kale cake would be creative enough for the bake off at CERES held by Animal Liberation Victoria as part of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale.  But as I lay there mythoughts wandered to hidden fillings in chocolate cupcakes and what if it was green and cheesecake.  Now that would be a challenge.

The 4am rise on the Saturday meant I was too tired to make the cupcakes in the afternoon.  They had to wait until the next day, the morning of the competition.  No matter.  At least they would be fresh.  Unfortunately it left no room for mistakes or missing ingredients.

Unfortunately it wasn't until morning that I discovered I had very little cocoa or vegan chocolate in the house.  Fortunately I bake a lot of chocolate cakes.  I was able to improvise with cacao nibs.  I wanted to finely grind them in my good blender but as it was still wet from making the cheesecake mixture, they were roughly ground.  The slight texture of the nibs actually worked well in the cupcakes.  

You might think me a bit crazy to attempt vegan cupcakes with a kale cheesecake filling on the morning of a cake baking competition when I had never made them before. Yet it wasn't quite a crazy as it seems.

I was drawing on experiences of adding kale to scones to make them green, of making vegan cheesecake, of baking vegan chocolate cupcakes and of hiding something in cupcakes.  These previous baking adventures all contributed to my planning.  While I make a lot of new recipes, they often build on previous experiences.

The icing had me stumped.  I had mulled over whether to add green food colouring the previous evening.  Then I realised the solution was staring at me in the face.  I had plenty of leftover cheesecake mixture which gave both brilliant colour and a great creamy texture to the frosting.

I was happy that the frosting held its shape.  As you can see above, I am a novice at frosting and had to try and try again.  I didn't have quiet enough frosting so I had to keep reusing the frosting I had piped onto the dodgy cakes to try again with the unfrosted cakes.  And though the swirls look so pretty, I prefer only a small amount of frosting on my cupcakes so if I wasn't making these for a competition, I would just spread the frosting on with a knife.

By the time we had dropped Sylvia off for a play date and was heading into CERES with my cakes on a plate in the cake carrier, I was feeling like I had done a pretty good job.  I had tasted the cakes and congratulated myself.  I had only put four cupcakes on the plate because I had been told by the CWA lady at the last cake competition I entered that I shouldn't crowd the plate.  And besides, I didn't have many frosted cupcakes that looked presentable.

I lined up to register my entry and looked around at the competition with a sinking heart.  This amazing farmyard cake was actually a winner.  However there were heaps of entries of varying quality, some very beautiful, some very colourful, some very quirky and some just looked delicious.

I wanted to take more photos but the organisers were keeping punters out of the area until the cake sale began.  It was a rainy overcast day and not at all suited to taking photos, especially when under a marquee.  So if you want some really good photos of the cakes and the day I suggest you head over to the post by Veganopoulous.

I would have liked to have lingered and admire the cakes.  As well as those for the competition, there were heaps donated to help raise money.  I really wanted some of the slices above but I just am not keen on queuing for ages for food.

By the time the cake sale opened at  12 there was already a huge queue.  We wandered off to watch a sausage making demonstration.  After that we found that there was even a queue at the sausage sizzle.  We didn't have to wait too long to buy ourselves sausages.  It was a treat to have really well cooked vegetarian sausages and a choice of three different flavours.  I had the tomato one which was great.

Rather than join the huge queue for the cakes we wondered over to the CERES marketplace where there were a few stalls selling vegan foods.   I really loved the pretty display of cakes by Vohn's Kitchen.  We had a coconut layer cake which was nice but I was disappointed that it didn't have dessicated coconut through it.  When I was growing up 'coconut' always meant dessicated coconut.  These days coconut can mean so many things.

We sat and ate it in the courtyard by the market.  It was really quiet after the busy cake sale area.  We sat with a couple who had come to the bake sale but decided to have lunch in the marketplace.  Apparently the lentil pie was really good.  We also tasted the Damona cheeses (it seemed to taste a lot of coconut oil, which is not so much my thing though I know others love the cheeses) and some yummy Smooth as Fruit sorbets.

I was curious to see the competition at the bake sale.  A slice of cake or one cupcake from each offering was set out for each entrant and the rest of the cakes were then sold to raise money for Animal Liberation.  I was pleased that I got an entry in even though the competition was tough.

I had watched Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death the previous night in which the judge in a food competition was poisoned.  Fortunately, I found that people really friendly at this event. 

It was great to see a few familiar faces.  I spent some time chatting with Faye from Veganopoulous while she queued for cakes and while we chatting the line hardly moved. It made me even more sure that while I would have been eager to buy some cakes, I was not prepared to queue for them.

By the time we had arranged to pick up Sylvia from her friend's place, I was ready to leave, even though we missed the judging.  Kerin had been interested in the cupcakes and I remembered I had a couple of spare cupcakes in the car in case of an accident.  So we took them into her house and cut them up to share.

Sylvia had taken a dislike to the cupcakes because of the kale.  E had decided he didn't like them because he is not keen on mint.  So I was pleased to share them with Kerin and family because they were most appreciative.  Kerin even declared that she would have chosen me as the winner.  Awww...

I am sending these cupcakes to Shaheen at A2K for the Eat Your Greens event, to Casa Costella for Bake of the Week, to A Mummy Too for Recipe of the Week and Jibber Jabber for Love Cake (Colour me Pretty).

I am also sending these cupcakes to Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays 48 at Rock My Vegan Socks.

More kale recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Kale cake (v)
Kale, cheese and mole quesadillas (v)
Kale scones (v)
Potato and kale enchiladas (gf, v)
Tahini lime rice with kale and cashews (gf, v)
'Teriyaki' tofu with brown rice and kale (gf, v) 
Tomato and kale soup with pistachios (gf, v)

Kale cheesecake surprise choc mint cupcakes
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
With inspiration from Green Gourmet Giraffe, The Savvy Vegan and Vegan Baking
Makes 12 cupcakes

Mint-kale cheesecake:
50g kale
1 cup cashews
1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp peppermint essence
1/8 tsp salt

1 cup soy milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup plain white flour
2 tbsp plain wholemeal flour
2 tbsp cocoa*
40g grated dark chocolate*
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup rice bran oil (or neutral oil)
1/4 cup roughly ground cacao nibs*

Cheesecake frosting*:
butter or margarine (1/4 o 1/2 cup)
icing sugar (1-3 cups)
leftover mint-kale cheesecake mixture
peppermint essence (1 tsp)

Preheat oven to 180 C.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake papers.

Make the cheesecake filling:  Place kale in cold water in a saucepan.  Bring to the boil and then rinse under cold water and press water out in a colander or sieve.  Place with remaining ingredients in blender.  Blend until smooth.

Make cupcakes: Mix milk and vinegar and set aside.  Mix flours, cocoa, grated chocolate, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt .  Mix sugar and oil with the milk mixture.  Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix.  Mix in cacao nibs. 

Spoon about a heaped tablespoon of mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup.  Now spoon a heaped teaspoon of cheesecake mixture on top of the chocolate mixture and then cover with another spoonful or two of the chocolate mixture until you have distributed all the chocolate mixture evenly among the muffin cups.  Set aside any remaining cheesecake mixture.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until cupcakes feel spongy to touch (rather than gooey).  The cheesecake filling does not need to be baked through so it is a bit easier to make sure the outside cake mixture is baked.  Cool on a wire rack.

Make cheesecake frosting:  Mix together enough butter and icing sugar to make a creamy icing.  Then mix in remaining cheesecake mixture and some extra peppermint essence.  This made enough icing to pipe swirly frosting on most cupcakes but might be too much if you just want to spread it on with a knife.

NOTES: *I didn't have enough cocoa powder so instead of 1/3 cup cocoa, I used 2 tbsp cocoa, 40g dark chocolate and 1/4 cup ground cacao nibs.  The cacao nibs weren't quite as well ground as I have hoped but it worked.  I didn't measure out ingredients for the frosting so I have given approximate amounts.

On the Stereo:
Shadows in the Night: Bob Dylan


  1. They sound good! I love the idea of using kale for the centre. Wow there are so many delicious looking cakes x #BakeoftheWeek

    1. Thanks Kirsty - yes i was happy to be part of bake of the week

  2. Despite drawing on your experience from past recipes, I am impressed at your efforts all coming together on the day they had to! The cupcakes look great and definitely have a surprise twist to them. The clitoris cake is surprising too but funnily enough I'm not sure I'd want to eat it...!

    1. Thanks Kari - Yeah I would be interesting to see how the clitoris cake sold

  3. I read your blog post and get all giddy with excitement. Your cupcakes look awesome, Thanks for sharing with #EatYourGreens I am also a novice at icing cakes, so am in complete admiration of your efforts. Like you I don't cue for food either, the last time I saw a long cue was for vegan cakes at a Vegetarian Food Festival - maybe someone should open up a Vegan Cake shop in South Wales. PS I saw the clitoris cake on Veganopolus blog a while back and it made me smile - like Kari though I am not sure I would want to eat it though.

    1. Thanks Shaheen - we have a few vegan cake shops and yet the queues are still here in Melbourne. And I did think that the creator of the clitoris cake took on board the "creative" criteria.

  4. Congratulations on entering the competition. It looks like there was some stiff competition. I love the farmyard animal cake - so beautifully decorated. Shame about all the queuing. I like the sound of the three different flavoured vegetarian sausages xx

    1. Thanks Charlie - three different flavoured vegetarian sausages is a real treat. The farmyard animal cake was very professionally decorated and those animals are so cute.

  5. I would have liked to try one but by the time I reached the tables there wasn't much left! I would have been very happy for my family not to like them so I could eat them all ;) Thanks for linking to my blog, every now and then I look at the photos and start thinking about what I'll make next time!

    1. Thanks Faye - I can't believe there wasn't much left by the time you got there - because there seemed to be heaps of people still in the queue after you. I wish I was so organised as you to plan in advance - it would help to practice beforehand. At least I wouldn't worry how it would turn out.

  6. Wow now there are some memorably entries there! I have to admit I'm not really taken by the sound of the cupcakes although I'd try one because how often do you see a kale cupcake!

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I just love the colour of kale in cake - you can't taste the kale esp with a good blender to blend it up into a smooth puree. And I particularly love the colour green with mint but love to be able to do it without food colouring.

  7. I have to admit.... that is a highly unusual flavoured cupcake! Great colour, but I can't quite get my head round what it would taste like. Would have loved to try one, but not sure I would risk making a whole batch!!

    1. Thanks Kate - I think the kale is more about the colour than the flavour - perhaps you would like it more if you didn't know it had kale in it and was just told it was choc mint!

  8. I am a huge fan of hiding greens in cakes, kale looks perfect for the job.

    1. Thanks Coombe - I don't mind hiding a few greens in cakes myself!

  9. The kale infusion is so original!! I would have likely chosen you as the winner also!

    1. Thanks Joanne - I thought the kale might tick the boxes for 'creativity'

  10. These are brilliant! I've never made filled cupcakes but they always look impressive.
    I'm no stranger to vegetables in baking and I think there are some chocolate kale cupcakes in the book Greens 24/7? Maybe it was spinach?

    1. Thanks Emma - I got the idea for the filled cupcakes from Choclette's cupcakes filled with easter eggs which I tried - now that I am into it I am keen to try more. I bought some beetroot powder recently which would do a nice pink version. I find doing the kale in baking easier since I got the high speed blender to blend it up really smoothly.

  11. Wow! Kale in cupcakes, who'd a thunk it! Great idea and they look super delicious #recipeoftheweek

    1. Thanks Truly madly kids - I came across the kale idea quite a while back in a layer cake - it is has stayed with me ever since! highly recommend it

  12. Oh my, that glitorus creation is outrageous. Who thinks of making things like that?! Between that and the vegan sausages this bake sale was positively pornographic. Your cupcakes are very fetching though, I love the idea of the cheesecake middle.

    1. Thanks Lucy - obviously the clitoris cake is putting ideas in your mind about those sausages :-) it is pretty outrageous - one of those cakes you look at in curiosity and then realise exactly what you are looking at and wonder if you should be looking quite so intently.

  13. Wow! That is such an awesome creation. They look amazing!

  14. Such gorgeous cupcakes Johanna! I would have never thought of incorporating kale into cupcakes. Love the idea =) Love the peppermint addition too. I would have made you a winner for sure! The farm cake looks amazing, but I'm not sure how good it would actually taste...
    Very interesting themes with some of the cakes ;) Interesting people for sure.
    I would LOVE for you to share these at Healthy Vegan Fridays =D =D =D

    1. Thanks Kimmy - I wanted to put them in to Healthy Vegan Fridays but wasn't sure they were healthy enough - if you are happy to have them, I'd love to share them with you - notice this week has changed so will put them in next week.

    2. They have kale in them!!!! =D
      Thank you for sharing. I'm pinning these gorgeous cupcakes and they are being featured at HVF this week.

  15. Oh I love your Kale Cupcakes - I bet they tasted incredible. I much prefer them to the other cake on display and I'm not talking about the farm yard cake! Thanks so much for joining in with #Bakeoftheweek great to have you join the gang. New roundup now open x

  16. I really, really have to salute you for this one! Putting kale into cupcakes is like bringing together two of vegans' favourite things in one. I would certainly have queued to get my hands on those creative beauties!

  17. These cupcakes look amazing! I wish I lived in Melbourne too, no vegan bake sale here in Tamworth :(

  18. What a fantastic natural colour! I'm really intrigued by the use of the kale in the cupcakes. I think it's about time to start growing some at home now I know it can go in cakes!

  19. How brave of you to enter a cake competition - well done. I love your kale cheesecake frosting and the colour is brilliant. I've used matcha and avocado for green, but my imagination hadn't stretched quite this far. I know what you mean about copious amounts of frosting, but they do look good.


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