Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Birthdays and other auspicious beginnings. Spring is the perfect time for both. That's probably what spurred me on a year ago to start blogging about all of the stuff that we'd been through and where we were heading. Yep. This week marks one year of blogging for me. Whew. Never knew I had that much to say. Well, an exasperated former supervisor probably knew it. There may come a day when I run out of things to say, but Breatharian, today is not that day.

Along with the beginning of blogging, this week celebrates another beginning: the day Princess emerged into the world. Each of my pregnancies and deliveries were radically different from the others. Dog, being a recalcitrant, unrepentant transverse position, required a c-section, even resisting two attempted versions. Bug was an unmedicated v-bac (natural birth after Cesarean) in a hospital birthing room with a midwife. While we hadn't planned on another baby, when I became pregnant with Princess, I swore that I was going to have a home birth. Fortunately, my birthing success with Bug paved the way for finding a midwife who would accept me as a client. Other than being very tired and cranky...the whole Breatharian thing had descended upon us by that was a pretty good pregnancy, especially for someone tipping the Big Four-Oh.

My final visit with the midwife informed us that the delivery could be at any time...which turned out to be that night. I'd gone to bed early with the benefit of some Benedryl courtesy of a cold shared by Bug. Thanks, Bug! Shortly after midnight, I was pinched awake by the contractions. Leisurely strolling to the phone, I informed the midwife that we were getting close. Bug's arrival was prefaced by twenty-four hours of labor, so I wasn't anticipating anything precipitate. I should have known better. Princess has always been determined to set her own pace. From the start. So far, nothing has changed. Heh.

When it became apparent that things were moving faster than the arrival of the midwife, Tool Guy, in a spousal state of panic, tentatively suggested heading toward the hospital. When this was greeted with gutteral growls, he retreated to the laundry room to warm up some towels instead of warming up the car. Good plan. Suggestions to change locations or change positions were equally death-defying efforts. He lapsed into supportive silence. Not for nothing has this man been married twenty years.

With all of the aplomb of a runaway train, Princess bound out into the world and decided to stay. Fifteen minutes later, the midwife arrived and, looking over the situation, informed me that she never had any worries about us. It was nice, though, to have someone tuck Princess and I into bed and take care of the rest of the details.

Princess requested cupcakes for her birthday this year and since Sin on a Spoon is essentially an icing recipe, I decided to play around with toppings on our standby cake recipe.

I had planned on photographing the mouthwatering outcome of my labors. Unfortunately, there was an unanticipated "earthquake" in the refrigerator and the results Oh, they were still delicious enough for a Hobbit to gobble, but their appearance didn't do the cupcakes justice.

Caramel Carob Cupcakes

First make the cupcakes:

Red Devil Cake

2 cups flour (I used 1.5 cups rice, 1/4 tapioca, 1/4 potato starch)
1 c sugar (I used 1/2 c date sugar, 1/4 c vegetable glycerin)
1/2 c cocoa powder or carob powder
2 t double acting baking powder (I used cream of tartar)
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
1 t guar gum or xanthan gum
1 c diced cooked beets (I used pear puree)
1 c water or water to appropriate consistency (My uses average 1/4 cup)
1/3 c olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350* F. Lightly oil or spray two 8" square baking pan (I used a 9" round). Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl, combining well.

If using flax instead of eggs (see substitutions below), grind to meal in coffee grinder. Place 1/3 cup water in blender, start blending while adding flax meal. Blend 30 seconds. To flax mixture or to eggs in blender, add beets, 1 cup water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. While mixing, add guar or xanthan gum. Process until frothy and well blended.

Pour this quite thick liquid mixture into dry ingredients. Mix quickly just until everything is moistened and incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans and immediately bake for 35-40 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Watch carefully as it may take less time.

Frost when completely cool.


Add more cocoa/carob and chips to get a richer flavor
Sub 2 eggs with 2 T flax and 1 cup water
Sub 1/3 c mashed banana instead of eggs or flax
Sub carob instead of chocolate
Sub sweet potatoes, yams, squash, pears, or pumpkins for beets
Make cupcakes instead of cake (approx 15)

Sin On a Spoon Icing
(All ingredients/amounts negotiable)

8 T ghee
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 T coconut milk
2 T vegetable glycerin or agave nectar or
8 drops stevia
2 tsp. lecithin

Blend ghee with balloon whip mixer attachment on high until soft. Pour in cream/coconut milk, lecithin, and sweetener, whipping until blended. On stir setting, add cocoa powder, turning speed up to high as the powder becomes incorporated. Mix until the desired consistency, adding more lecithin if necessary to emulsify the ghee and coconut milk.

Caramel Topping

2-4 T maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. ghee
Enjoy Life chocolate chips

In heavy sauce pan, combine ingredients and boil until syrup reaches the string stage. Allowing the syrup to cool just enough to not melt the icing (stirring the whole time), drizzle over the iced cupcakes. Garnish with chocolate chips.

To avoid refrigerator earthquakes, these are best served immediately.

Five years ago. Today. Snuggling the latest baby to bless our homeschooling group, I had some flashbacks and baby yearnings. Briefly. It's pretty exhilarating to be the mommy of an exuberant five year old. Think I'll keep her.


Anonymous said...

My daughter just had her birthday as well, and a friend mentioned to me that my daughter's birthday is mine as well. It is my own anniversary and time of remembrance of the feat I accomplished that day. It feels satisfying to reflect on that day and the years that have gone by, and breathe a breath of gratitude for it all.

Your writing is so eloquent! Looking forward to more.


Loztnausten said...

That's a very connected way of looking at it, Jessica!

Thanks for the kind words. :)

Anonymous said...

so for the the lecithin integral? i realize what lecithin is used for, i just don't have any & was so looking to ice some mock brownies this week (w/o a store trip). i see on the original recipe it's lecithin-less but i'm thinking that makes it less....icing-friendly? more clumpy?

& last, are you using granules or liquid (i assume granules, but no good basis for my assumption other than i've only seen the liquid version in soy)?

Loztnausten said...

Tweaking from a dairy recipe needs a little help. Milk and butter will emulsify together, but coconut milk and ghee less satisfactorily. Last time I made it, they separated...the result was rather runny. Using lecithin helped them to blend together more effectively.

I used granules, but I'm meditating on

Renee said...

I don't know much about lecithin and how it works, so I don't even know if this is a silly question, but would using an egg yolk work instead of the lecithin? I want to make this tomorrow but don't have lecithin. Or would coconut milk and butter emulsify together?

Loztnausten said...

If you're comfortable using egg, it certainly will emulsify. IME, coconut milk and butter separates, so you're going to need something to bind them.

If you use the egg, please report back about how it turned out and how everyone liked it!

Renee said...

I made it without the egg- so just with coconut milk, butter, cocoa, and honey and it turned out great! It didn't seperate at all and was delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

Loztnausten said...

Woohoo! Glad you had a winner! Thanks for letting me know. :)