I recently decided to cut back on / cut out dairy, and while browsing cookbooks at the library I came across the Babycakes cookbook by Erin McKenna. I have never been to Babycakes, but I have heard so much about it from friends who live in New York or who visit frequently. I was intrigued by the recipes, which are dairy- and gluten-free, because some of the best cupcakes I've ever had have been vegan. I was also intrigued by the use of agave nectar as sweetener. I have too many family members with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, and I'm concerned about that; agave nectar tastes fantastic and is relatively low on the glycemic index (just a tip).
I also like the cookbook because the photography in it is so pretty! The uniforms were designed by Wendy Mullin of Built By Wendy (although the blog tells me that they have new uniforms, designed by In God We Trust)! Pretty clothes and desserts? A girl of my particular demographic and with my particular interests is powerless to resist. (I do find the celebrity endorsements sprinkled throughout a bit unnecessary, but I guess the publishers thought that food that is kind of "weird" could benefit from, I don't know, Jason Schwartzman's picture?)
I spent yesterday morning trying to track down the ingredients for vanilla cupcakes and vanilla icing. I bought agave nectar at The Big Carrot last weekend, and I had other basics (baking soda, salt, lemons, etc.) already. I bought garbanzo-fava bean flour, potato starch, coconut oil, coconut flour, and unsweetened soy milk at Whole Foods. I bought xanthan gum from the bulk food section of Noah's. Geoff bought arrowroot in bulk from Strictly Bulk. I did not find dry soy milk powder anywhere, so I cheated and bought skim milk powder in bulk. For the record, Whole Foods had everything except the elusive soy milk powder, but I tried to find some of the ingredients in bulk to save money. (EDT: the book lists resources, but a lot of the ingredients can be ordered directly from Bob's Red Mill online.)
These ingredients cost a small fortune, and even though I halved the recipe, I still went through half the containers of coconut oil and agave nectar. Still, I have most of the ingredients in my pantry now, and I feel good about how wholesome they are. It was about $50 worth of ingredients, but if I were making a cake from scratch with fresh eggs and organic milk and things like that, it would have been about the same. (I am trying to justify this expense, you see. It was not a very wise financial decision for me at the moment -- I mean, there was no occasion.)
I made the cupcakes as soon as I got home from work because I was so excited -- and I never get excited about food preparation! Of course, the cupcakes don't taste like a "regular" vanilla cupcake would, and my cupcakes aren't particularly beautiful to look at, but I love them! We ate ours accompanied by a cup of homemade chai, inspired by Melinda. Yum yum. The perfect little treat for the start of my weekend.