Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes at Mister Nice Guy!

Mister Nice Guy held an Easter inspired cupcake flavour competition last week and my choc-caramel suggestion was the winner! The prize was a $50 hamper from Radical Grocery, and the cupcakes are being made & sold over the Easter period. Yay!

MNG Easter Competition

The new (possibly limited edition) gluten free flavour will be available from Thursday until Sunday. Store locations and opening hours are below.

Mister Nice Guy’s Bakeshop
151 Union Rd, Ascot Vale

Good Fri: 8am-4pm
Easter Sat: 8am-6pm
Easter Sun: 8am-1pm
Easter Mon: Closed

Mister Nice Guy Cupcakes
Prahran Market, Aisle one, Stall 98
163 Commercial Rd, Sth Yarra

Good Fri: Closed
Easter Sat: 8.30-5.30
Easter Sun: Closed
Easter Mon: Closed

RGS Prize

My prize from The Radical Grocery Store in Melbourne.

Chocolate Tahini Dressing (Or… Chocolate Sesame Snap Sauce)

There have been some changes at Appetite Afflicton recently – most of them are “behind the scenes” things that you won’t notice, others you’ll see if you go looking for them (e.g. my updated “about” page). Somehow in the mix, there has been an issue with my email subscribers list – so if you were on it but didn’t receive the last update or this one in your inbox, you’ll need to re-subscribe via the form on the right hand side of the page. Sorry!

Now onto food business…

I’m on a bit of a tahini bender at the moment, so when I saw Cindy post about her chocolate tahini dressing on Where’s the Beef? last week, I had to try it.

Tahini is bitter, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect here – but I can honestly tell you that what I got was a chocolatey-sesame-snap LIQUID DREAM! (I nearly said “wet dream”, then realised how perverted that sounded. Ohhhh, wait. I said it anyway.)

Cindy served these with bananas which would have been my first choice, but I didn’t have any on hand and figured something a bit different like apricots would be fine (AND OH MY THEY WERE). I also made some other small/simple substitutions with what I had on hand and unintentionally ended up making this sauce raw. Well, if tahini is considered raw – Google can’t seem to give me a definitive answer about this, so I’ll leave it with you to decide for yourself.

Choc Sesame Snap Sauce 1
Chocolate Tahini Dressing (Or… Chocolate Sesame Snap Sauce)

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Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake

A few weeks ago, I found myself channel surfing and consquently fixated on an episode of Nigellissima, where a Nutella Cheesecake was being born. “Utter brilliance”, I thought. I love chocolate-anything. It was a fairly straight forward recipe and all the ingredients were pre-packaged. As I began to mull over how to make a vegan version of this, I found myself getting a little too carried away and complicating things.

I’ve held back greatly on the many ideas whirring around in my head here – the one thing that I wasn’t going to compromise on, though, was a gluten free base. And one that doesn’t use packaged biscuits – because I’ve done that before. I wanted to try something different, so the base is an adaptation of this recipe – literally the first Google search result for “vegan rice crispy recipe”.

Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake 4
Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake

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Death Star Cake Pops

Well, here it is: Mr. AA’s birthday “cake” – a fleet of nerdy, edible Death Stars.

Death Star Cake Pop - Vader 1
Darth Vader endorses Death Star cake pops.*

Despite them being a bit of a “craze”, I didn’t really know much about cake pops until this experiment – and although I did a bit of research and asked a friend of mine plenty of questions, I still ran into a few problems. I’ll talk you through the process with some photos below. Continue reading

Chocolate Mousse Crumble

This is a semi-raw, rich & creamy mousse that’s dairy, gluten and egg free! There’s a hint of coconut flavour from the coconut milk, but you can’t taste the avocadoes at all, I promise. The tartness of raspberries cuts through the richness of this nicely – I recommend serving with fresh or defrosted raspberries (or any other berry), or a berry coulis.

I made this on a whim tonight, with a list on ingredients but no guidance on quantities. A huge thanks goes out to my friend Jodie for the inspiration.

Choc Mousse Crumble
Serves 10

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Late Night Snack: Belgian Hot Chocolate

The other day, Mr. AA took me out for brunch and on the way back to the car, I made a beeline for a boutique chocolate store I’d never been to before – Indulge. The display window was pretty exciting and overwhelming, but none of the pre-packaged shelf items listed ingredients which made me nervous.

After asking about what was vegan/dairy free, I discovered that the choices were pretty limited. In fact, they were sorely disappointing. I was pointed to a small tray of solid dark chocolates in the display case which triggered instant boredom (I think I accidentally made a “face” at them!) – then the lady behind the counter pointed to some Belgian hot chocolate on the shelf behind me – SOLD.

Belgian Hot Chocolate

I had some that night with some fresh, home made almond milk in front of the fire at home. What a perfect way to end a chilly winter evening! It’s been a long time since I had a Belgian hot chocolate – and I’ve never had the luxury of enjoying one in the comfort of my own home; $9.95 for that little bag might seem a little steep, but it’s definitely worth it… Especially if you can make it last.

Choc Beet Cake

I was feeling inspired when I saw Cindy & Michael from Where’s The Beef? post a beetroot chocolate fudge cake recipe. I mean… In what world does that NOT sound amazing, right? They were kind enough to direct me to the original recipe that they adapted from The Fairest Feed, which was vegan. I made this twice with my own little string of adjustments – one of which was the cooking time. Thirty five minutes definitely wasn’t enough, even for my out-of-this-world fan forced oven. I also thought this was just as good (if not better) with a light dusting of gluten free icing sugar, as opposed to icing… And I wouldn’t argue with you if you wanted to serve it with some vanilla or coconut ice-cream.

Below is my adapted recipe, which works a charm even with gluten free flour, so my wonderful celiac readers won’t miss out! Oh and for anyone concerned, you can’t taste the beetroot and it dissolves when it bakes, so you won’t find any stringy red bits in there and if you do, well… You’ve done something wrong.

Choc Beet Cake
Serves 9-12, depending how big you like your slices of cake.

1 1/4 C + 2 TBSP Plain Flour (gluten free if required)
1 1/2 C Caster Sugar
3/4 C Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C Soy Milk
1 C Water
3/4 C Canola Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 C Fresh Beetroot, peeled & grated
Icing Sugar for dusting (gluten free if required)

  • Preheat oven to 180C & grease a cake tin with some Nutelex/dairy free marg. You can use whatever shaped cake tin you like – I used a square one.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift and stir together the dry ingredients.
  • Add the soy milk, water, oil & vanilla. Stir until no obvious lumps remain.
  • Add the grated beetroot and stir until evenly distributed.
  • Pour batter into cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. Forty minutes will leave your cake a little fudgy inside – I thought this was nice, but Mr. AA didn’t dig it because get this – he doesn’t like the taste of raw cake batter! Forty five minutes should cook this right through without drying it out. A toothpick should come out clean. If you have an older/slower oven, don’t be afraid to leave it in for an extra 5 minutes if it’s still wet in the middle.
  • Leave to cool in the cake tin for around 5 minutes before tipping out onto a wire cooling rack. If you get impatient, your cake will fall apart and you’ll cry.
  • When cake has cooled, tip it onto a serving plate and dust with icing sugar, then chow down.

Recipe Review: Snickers Inspired Cupcakes

Snickers Inspired Cupcakes

Snickers Inspired Cupcakes

This recipe caught my eye the other day for a couple of reasons. Firstly, a mere day or two earlier, I’d been reminiscing about Snickers chocolate bars (let’s face it, they’re awesome – but sadly they’re not vegan) and secondly, unlike every other Snickers inspired cupcake I’d seen on the web, these had a peanut butter cupcake base as opposed to a chocolate one. SOLD.

Having to make three different toppings for these might have normally been a turn-off for me, but I didn’t let it phase me today. In fact, once the cupcakes were in the oven, I made the chocolate topping and the chocolate mousse without any hassles. Easy peasy. The only thing I did different was use Tofutti cream cheese instead of Kingland because Tofutti was all I could get.

I was pretty dubious about the mousse. I’ve tried using soy cream cheese before for a savoury dip and it was pretty awful. In fact, one of the non-vegan guests compared the texture to “eating putty”. Sadly, I agreed with her. Anyway, that’s another story and as it turns out, there’s something about Tofutti cream cheese’s texture that has changed in the past couple of years because this chocolate mousse is the best freakin’ mousse I’ve ever had – both pre and post vegan. I might have even eaten a few tablespoons of it on its own. It’s fluffy, creamy and decadent.

I was dreading making the caramel the most because I’ve never made caramel before. Sure enough, on my first try, I failed. It clumped up. I did it all wrong. At this point, instead of taking it as personally as I normally would and bursting into tears, I had a nap, followed by a shower and then tried again. Attempt #2 was perfect; only change that I made was cooking it on low heat instead of high. It was much less stressful and worked! WOAH & HUZZAH!

The Verdict: Excellent. The photo on The Compassionate Cook‘s blog definitely doesn’t do these justice. I’d absolutely make these again and recommend them to others. The toppings are just the right thickness to work with (not too runny or gluggy) – this really impressed me. They’re super sweet though – one is enough. All of my test subjects (family and co-workers) loved these and assured me that there’s no way they would have suspected that they were vegan; and my diabetic father in law naughtily snuck in TWO when we weren’t watching!

Recipe Notes:

  • If you have a fairly new fan forced oven, you won’t want to leave these in for a full 20 minutes; 18 should be plenty. I left mine in for the full 20 because I wanted to stay true to the recipe (afterall, I couldn’t review it fairly if I was doing my own thing!) but I ended up with a crust on them and a few burnt bits.
  • Using three kinds of sweetener in the cupcakes seems a little excessive and the end result is pretty sweet, so if you don’t have/can’t find agave syrup, just leave it out. Honestly, I doubt you’ll miss it.
  • The rice milk & apple cider vinegar didn’t curdle for me and it probably won’t for you either; I think the “curdling” method works best with soy milk. Don’t sweat it though – this doesn’t affect the end result.
  • Refrigerate your mousse before piping it onto the cupcakes.
  • Follow the instructions. For the love of God, just do it. Otherwise, like me, you might have to make your caramel twice… And that’s a whole lot of stickiness.
  • Make your caramel on low heat and dress your cupcakes with it fairly quickly. If you let it sit, it will start to solidify and you won’t be able to work with it.
  • The original recipe says this makes 12 cupcakes but I made 18 and still had some batter left over.

(r)Adelaide: Cocolat & Namaste

Cocolat
283 Rundle Street (East End)
Adelaide SA 5000
AUSTRALIA

Cocolat

Cocolat is, without a doubt, a chocolate lover’s wet dream – however it’s a vegan’s nightmare. So what happens when you’re both a chocolate lover and a vegan? Well – you end up pretty damn disappointed.

I’m not going to lie to you guys – everything in the cabinets at Cocolat looked pretty damn spectacular and if it had been vegan, I would have sampled the lot.

Cocolat truffles/cakes/desserts

About a week in advance, I emailed the store I was planning to visit but never received a reply. At first, I thought it was pretty rude – but there’s a chance my email went to their junk mail folder, so I’ll try not to hold that against them. I decided to risk making a visit there anyway and upon arriving and asking about what was dairy free, I had to wait for someone to call the manager. Admittedly, this was pretty annoying. Shouldn’t there be an ingredients list for all their items somewhere?

The guy (who was actually pretty friendly – zero complaints about the staff in that respect) came back shortly afterwards to tell me that only three items didn’t contain dairy and one of them was sold out.

Cocolat ice-cream & sorbet

I made a dramatic sad face and walked away with a dark “chocolate frog” and an “almond splinter”. The dark chocolate was pretty average/nothing to write home about. I did, however spot some sorbet in the freezer cabinet which turned out to be vegan, so I tried the lemon and the blood orange flavours which were exceptional. The blood orange was just like sherbet! Yummy.

Cocolat Vegan Options

All in all, while everything looked delicious I can’t comment on the taste of many things. If you have a special dietary requirement, Cocolat is not very accommodating. Even though soy milk was on the menu, I couldn’t even order one of their famous hot chocolates because the chocolate was pre-mixed with dairy cream.

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Namaste
41 George Street
Parkside SA 5063
AUSTRALIA

Namaste

My work dinner at Namaste (a Nepalese restaurant) was a far better experience – the menu was clearly labeled with options that were vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and lactose free. As it turns out, some of the vegetarian options are actually vegan if you ask for a tomato dipping sauce rather than a yoghurt one.

I had the “Phulaura” as an entree – they were crispy balls made from black lentils, potato, cauliflower, chickpea flour, spring onion, spinach, and coriander. They were seriously awesome even without any dipping sauce. They were pretty mild in flavour and not overpowering at all.

For my main I had the “Kwati”, which was a 9 bean curry. The serve was pretty huge and the curry was bursting with flavour. Again, it was very mild/not spicy in the slightest.

We ordered some side dishes to share among the table: “buteko vunta” (stir fried eggplant which was a little greasy but sweet and delicious), “pharsi ko tarkari” (a pureed pumpkin curry that was mildly spiced) and “rayoko saag” (stir fried mustard leaves & spinach). Even though the eggplant was my favourite, I couldn’t help but be incredibly impressed with the greens which were still bright – nothing turns me off like over cooked leafy greens.

Namaste yummies!
I’m really sorry about the quality of this photo – I may have been a little tipsy when I took it!

My only disappointment at Namaste was that none of the breads were vegan so I was feeling a little left out when everyone else had the chance to mop up the sauces left on their plates. Honestly though – if that’s the only bad thing I have to say, you’ve gotta realise that this place was pretty impressive. The food was warming and hearty and the atmosphere was cosy.