I’m not an expert on ‘healthy’ and while I’m not a ‘health nut’ I do like to eat as healthy, natural and local as possible (and convenient… and relatively not bank-breaking). So when my friend Nuchtchas told me about Seltzer/soda water/whatever in cakes, I thought this was really interesting! It wasn’t until this weekend that I actually took the time to try it for myself.
Let’s start with the frosting, though, and the reason for making these cupcakes in the first place. Due to a ‘failed’ experiment, which I won’t go into here, I had a bunch of left over ganache to use up, so I decided to take this opportunity to try making cupcakes.
- 9oz chocolate (I used light chocolate wafers)
- 1 cup whipping cream (including any flavourings – I used baileys. YUM!)
Heat the cream and then pour over the chocolate and mix until it’s all melted and it’s at the consistency you want. I’ve also seen recipes that use coconut milk for those who don’t want dairy. I filled the cupcakes with the icing, which was another tip I picked up from Nuchtchas.
Like I said above, I wanted to experiment with using seltzer in baking. Unfortunately, all the recipes/instructions for it were for cake mixes. Basically, the seltzer is suppose to replace the oil and eggs in the recipe. (If you’re interested, the instructions are: ignore box ingredient list – 1 box cake mix; 1 can seltzer). I don’t like using mixes, but could not find anything for cakes made from scratch. The closest I could find was this recipe, but though it called for seltzer, it also called for oil. Not helpful, but it was the best I had, so I printed it out.
To complicate things further, I also wanted to replace the sugar! Well, there really wasn’t anything out there, unless I just wanted to replace sugar with splenda or something which wasn’t really what I was going for. While I couldn’t find a helpful recipe, I did find some hints on replacing sugar with honey.
Armed with these two pages, I created a Frankenstein recipe. I didn’t hold my breath as I’m not really good and making this stuff up, especially with baking. Surprisingly, it turned out really good! My observations/experiment led me to the following basic recipe:
- 1 1/3 cup flour, etc.
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup of liquids
- 1 tsp (ish) vinegar (after it’s all mixed up)
So, the recipe (linked above) is modified as such:
- 1/2 cup honey (about half the amount it called for sugar)
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt (I just used one turn of my salt grinder)
- 3/4 cup seltzer water
- 1/4 cup coffee, brewed strong and cooled (I actually used a teensy bit less)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp vinegar
325*F; 20-25 minutes. Makes 12 cupcakes (I only got 8 cupcakes)
Sift (SIFT? I never sift anything. I did run the whisk through the dry ingredients before adding the wet) the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
Whisk together the water, coffee, vanilla and honey.
Add the wet to the dry and whisk until just incorporated.
Add vinegar and incorporate (fun chemistry happens! Not that I really understand it :P). Do not over mix the batter.