I made these cakes for a Big Number Birthday yesterday. The brief was that they had to be gluten-free, low-FODMAP and vegan, which does, in combination, take a lot of the fun out of things – but fortunately, nuts were allowed, giving me a bit more leeway in terms of flavour and texture. They are based on my insanely spicy Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes with Smoky Chipotle Mousse. This time, instead of insane heat, I went with insane alcohol levels.
Apparently, there’s just something about these cupcakes that brings out the insanity in me…
I have no idea why he filling is called Scream de Menthe, but for some reason there is no other possible title for it. None whatsoever. Some things just are, and one cannot deny them. I suspect it has something to do with the positively poisonous green colour and the undeniably alarming alcohol and sugar content.
The really important thing to know here is that these cupcakes were yummy. And alcoholic. And should probably be kept out of reach of children…
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1 cup cashews (raw, or at least, not toasted)
1 1/3 cups almond milk + 30 ml for the mousse
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar (or cider vinegar, if you are less worried about FODMAPs)
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cups rice flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2/3 tsp xanthum gum
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarb of soda
pinch of salt
3/4 cup crème de menthe
225 g dark chocolate
250 g silken tofu
30 ml crème de cacao
Now what will you do with it?
Put your cashews in a bowl and cover with plenty of water to soak. They need to soak for at least 2 hours, and overnight or all day are both good.
Now make the cupcakes! Put the almond milk in a large bowl with the vinegar and leave for a few minutes to think seriously about its life, while you pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
Once you feel that the almond milk is sufficiently aligned with its purpose, add the sugar and sunflower oil, and mix together well.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flours, xanthum gum, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb of soda. Stir them into the almond milk mixture, and beat well – the mixture will thicken a bit as the rice flour absorbs a bit more of the liquid.
Divide the (really quite runny) batter between your prepared cases, and bake the cupcakes for around 20 minutes. A skewer should come out fairly clean, but if it’s a little muddy, that’s OK too, so long as you like a slightly denser cake.
Cool the cupcakes on a rack until cold.
Now prepare your Scream De Menthe filling! This is very easy. Drain your cashews, and place in a blender with the crème de menthe. Blend until smooth. I make that sound so easy, don’t I? You will probably need to scrape the mixture down several times in the process, and you may well need to add more crème de menthe to get a blendable consistency. You are aiming for a thick, creamy filling, that is a terrible, terrible, shade of green. Transfer this mixture to a piping bag with a plain nozzle.
Run hot water into the blender and rinse it out, you will need it again in a minute.
Take your cupcakes and use a small knife to cut a small, deep, well in each one (’tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door, nor but ’tis enough, ’twill serve…). Stick the nozzle of the piping bag into the hole, and press in a little further, then pipe the scream de menthe into the hole, withdrawing the piping bag as you go, until the hole is full and there is a little hill of scream de menthe sitting on top of the cake.
Now make the chocolate tofu mousse. Chop up the chocolate, and heat gently until thoroughly melted. I use the microwave – 50% power and 30 second bursts, swirling it around in between bursts. You want it thoroughly melted because the tofu is probably cold, and if the chocolate is only just on the cusp of being melted, it will solidify on contact and become hard to blend (also less pretty).
While the chocolate is melting, blend the tofu with the extra 30ml of almond milk and the crème de cacao until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and blend again until the mixture is shiny, smooth and homogenous. Transfer to a piping bag, and let cool slightly (again, not too much or it will be a pig to pipe, but if it’s still really soft, it will be un-pipeable).
When the mousse is ready, pipe it in a spiral mountain on top of each cupcake, thoroughly covering the evil green interior. This cupcake should maintain an absolutely innocent mien, the better to slip beneath people’s guard.
Decorate with little gold stars or hearts, if you wish.
You know you want to do this with blue curaçao, right? In fact, that sounds like a plan for Eurovision – you bite into the mousse and get a lairy blue costume reveal!
These cupcakes are gluten-free, vegan and low FODMAP, as per the brief. They are not remotely low-GI, and of course they have nuts both in the flour mixture and the filling. You could use a nut-free gluten-free flour mix easily enough; the filling is rather reliant on cashews (I don’t think you’d want a tofu-based filling *and* a tofu topping), but you could make these into Sachertorte cupcakes by filling them with apricot jam and adding some peach or apricot schnapps to the mousse. This would no longer be low FODMAP, however.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, the other cupcakes in the picture are the Fresh Ginger Cupcakes I made for a wedding a few years ago, but instead of a rhubarb filling, I cooked down soy condensed milk with a little almond milk and golden syrup to make a caramel filling, topped the lot with an icing made from icing sugar, lime zest and juice, and a smidge of coconut oil, and then added some lollipops made from macadamias dipped in toffee, or crystallised ginger on toothpick sticks.
Essentially, this is a recipe for YUM. Have some more photos!