Maple Wheat Bread and Red Velvet Cupcakes

What’s the time? B-b-b-baking time!

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I am house-sitting for my parents this week. I had a “mini” day off today, where I technically had 24 hours between the end of my last shift and the beginning of my next. It’s “mini” because I am still scheduled both days and do not have an extra sleep between the two. This day off tends to be boring for me, because I spend most of the time trying to adjust to the idea of working from midnight to dawn. After today, I might make all mini-days-off into baking days, and I might have to beg my parents to let me use their kitchen each time!

Their kitchen not only has more equipment than mine, but also includes an island counter-top and amazing lighting. I’m afraid I’m going to get spoiled.

I decided to make a bread and a sweet, and to prep a sourdough starter for use next week and beyond.  For the bread, I chose “Whole Wheat Loaves” from Baking With Julia, with some changes. For the sweet, I decided on “Red Velvet Cupcakes” with “Cream Cheese Icing”, both from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Since this was my first attempt at vegan cake-making, I decided to play it safe on the cake. The only adjustments I made were doubling the icing, using gel food coloring instead of liquid, and following the in-book substitution for people who have never heard of chocolate extract and can’t seem to find it in any store.

For the bread, however. . . I really wanted to use my new cookbook, which hasn’t been used for actual baking since it was given to me in December. But I forgot to pick up malt extract and don’t eat honey, so I made some adjustments.

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Maple syrup. the adjustment is maple syrup (for both, yes). I also halved the recipe, because I really didn’t want an excess of bread if it didn’t turn out

Here we have some fungus-y tree sap doing its thing.

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Aaand there isn’t a good shot of the bread itself mixing because the mixer ran away. I had turned around to start flouring a cutting board, when I heard a loud crash. I turned around and found that the mixer had fallen, still plugged in and with the bowl still attached, into the kitchen sink. (Luckily, the dough was sticky enough at this stage to stay in the bowl and not touch anything.)

Apparently this mixer is a little old and unbalanced, and likes to throw a fit if you don’t give it proper attention! NOTED!
Now I wish I had brought my own mixer. It’s brand new, but I decided not to bring anything that my parents already have. . Oh, well. Can’t beat the laughs!

Eventually, the mixture turned into what looks slightly less than appetizing.

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But the mixer was a sweet assistant, going so far as to knead for me. . . Under careful watch. . .

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And then I had a pretty little ball!

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Meanwhile, while the dough rose, I stirred up my dry ingredients. . .

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And some nuclear-looking wet. . .

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And combined them!
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I may or may not have shared the liquid bowl. . . It’s. . . A lesson in sharing? Annie (bichon) failed.

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While the cakes baked, I finished prepping the bread and threw together my starter.

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Then, having switched the cake for bread in the oven, I let the cakes cool and got to work on my icing. (Yes, gasp, I still use refined cane sugar! I know some people view this as un-vegan, and I’m kind of on the fence. But I figure I might as well use up what I have!)

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I ended up doubling the icing, so I could practice my poofs.

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Meanwhile, my possibly-too-dense Plain Jane bread came out of the oven. It didn’t rise as high as I had hoped, but it still tasted great! Peanut butter jelly, here I come! Next time, I’ll try garnishing the tops with some seeds, for some prettiness.

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And because I fall victim to the chubby puppies and their spoiled ways, I did end up sharing my icing bowl. . . And the heels of the bread!

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Some of the prettier poofs, topped with Cupcake Gems (top), red glitter sugar (middle), and chocolate covered cacao nibs (bottom). Taste-wise, the best is the cacao nibs. Hands. Down. Appearance? It’s all about the pearls. They look elegant, perfect for such a sophisticated flavor! Meanwhile, the delicious cacao nibs ended up looking like rat droppings. Or raisins. Or raisin rat droppings. The sugar comes in last for both categories, giving the taste and appearance of a marshmallow peep.

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But look at those poofs!

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The bread ended up looking much prettier on the inside. It’s just too bad I can’t cut even worth a damn!

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Or choose proper bread bags? The bags I bought weren’t the right size for the loaf, and even without heels or a couple slices that I snacked on, they didn’t have enough room to tie! So I taped them shut and snuck the tie underneath for safe keeping. Meanwhile, these adorable stickers I saw near the bags. . . Well. . .

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I couldn’t resist.

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