Two posts ago, I wrote about a gluten-free cookbook I received for review. Today, I am going to write about another cookbook—United States of Cakes by Roy Fares. Crazy, right? But don’t worry. I’m not going to turn into a manic cookbook-reviewing monster anytime soon, even if I am already a closet cookbook addict behind my sugar-crusted keyboard.
Between the covers of this cookbook are five chapters—soft cakes (whatever that means); cookies and sweets; cakes, pies, and cheesecakes; cupcakes and cake pops; and sweet breakfast. I have to admit I am a bit confused by the way the recipes are grouped. First of all, the “soft cakes” chapter includes some simple bundt-type cakes as well as some brownies. The “cakes, pies, and cheesecakes” chapter is a bit thick, given that it covers so much material, with the cupcakes separate from the layer cakes in their own chapter...alongside cake pops? And I couldn’t help but notice the inclusion of banana chocolate chip pudding in the “sweet breakfast” section. I dunno. Maybe he thinks Americans are so fat that they eat banana chocolate chip pudding for breakfast. Which they totally could if they wanted to. Because freedom.
Well...that entire paragraph was not relevant at all to this review, except for maybe the first sentence. Let’s just say I disagree with some chapter-organizing choices in this cookbook; and as you can see I feel very strongly about chapters and how they should be organized in regards to, well, anything that has chapters. MOVING ON. Let me tell you about the actual recipes. They look terrific. Seriously. The professional photography probably didn’t hurt, but damn if those peanut buttah doughnuts aren’t some hot stuff.
|AYE AYE AYE. Oh, and please don't pin this picture because it isn't mine.|
Looking at this cookbook may have given me secondary sugar high, which I believe is a very real thing despite all evidence to the contrary. Some recipes that caught my eye: fudge brownies with flaked salt, blueberry bars, espresso cake, Snickers cheesecake, and s’mores cupcakes.
And here’s where I crush you all with the truth: none of these are vegan. I know, I know. But, as I said, I know that there are a lot of non-vegan bakers out there reading this blog, so I felt it would be morally okay to talk about the cookbook for a little bit.
Emphasis on “okay”. Because you have mwah, the veganizing genius! who uses the power of Google to figure out substitutes to basic ingredients like eggs and butter!
Anyway. One more thing about United States of Cakes: there are really a lot of pictures of this Roy Fares guy in here. Not a terrible thing, since he’s somewhat of a fine-looking bloke (with a professional stylist, as indicated by the acknowledgements), but I’ll admit I was getting a bit sick of looking at pictures of him eating shit and hanging out with the cool kids over in California. All right all right I admit it’s probably the winter blues / jealously / lack of hipness talking. My point remains.
And at last, here’s the recipe I decided to share with you today, cappuccino cupcakes!
|Kind of spooky-looking, I know.|
I did promise not to use fake cream cheese and all that jazz a while back (didn’t find the link because I’m lazy as fuck), but today I’m going to break that promise as you probably all predicted and break out the Tofutti again. Just trying to maintain the integrity of Mr. Fares’ recipe here.
And it’s worth it, really. The frosting is nice and smooth, so soft in fact that I had a bit of trouble piping it in an orderly manner. Probably because I don’t have any real piping bags available, which complicates the act of piping more than I’d prefer. Not that it matters. Tastes the same.
|I'm pretty shitty at sifting cocoa powder.|
And the taste? Just wonderful. The chocolate espresso cake is light and tender and has just the right amount of espresso flavor, though I’d add a bit of espresso powder to the frosting the next time around. The final product isn’t exactly like a cappuccino—more like a mocha, I’d argue—but it’s still delicious, and as a coffee lover I can appreciate this opportunity to get in caffeine and dessert at the same time.
I’m done blabbing for now. Here’s the recipe.
Adapted from United States of Cakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
120 grams • all-purpose flour • ¾ cup
40 grams • cocoa powder • ½ cup
150 grams • granulated sugar • ¾ cup
2 grams • baking powder • ½ teaspoon
2 grams • baking soda • ½ teaspoon
3 grams • salt • ½ teaspoon
7 grams • flaxseed • 1 tablespoon
45 grams • warm water • 3 tablespoons
75 grams • nondairy milk • 1/3 cup
2 grams • vanilla extract • ½ teaspoon
45 grams • vegetable oil • ¼ cup
50 grams • warm espresso coffee • ¼ cup
300 grams • nondairy cream cheese (like Tofutti), room temperature • 1 ¼ cups
112 grams • coconut oil, softened • ½ cup
240 grams • powdered sugar • 1 ¾ cups
30 grams • cooled espresso coffee • 2 tablespoons
Cocoa powder, for dusting
To make cupcakes, start by preheating oven to 350 degrees F and lining 12 cupcake tins with paper wrappers.
Sift flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients except for espresso. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until combined. Add espresso a little bit at a time and stir to combine.
Divide batter evenly between prepared cupcake tins. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make frosting, place cream cheese and coconut oil in the bowl of an electric stand mixer; beat until smooth. With mixer on low speed, add powdered sugar. Add espresso and beat until fluffy.
Pipe frosting on cooled cupcakes. Sift cocoa powder on top. Munch.
|I just love that cup. Cutest piece of shit we own.|
While you’re here, stop by at some of these other delicious cupcake-related posts.
Avocado pound cake cupcakes with salted ganache. You’d be surprised to see what avocado does for cake.
Chocolate coconut zucchini cupcakes. They’re really all about that chocolate chip cookie frosting, though.
Lemon cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream and lemon curd. Man this post takes me back.
Fudgy zucchini brownie cupcakes with lavender frosting. That lavender frosting though.