Thursday, November 10, 2011

Friends, babies, and vegan chocolate mint cupcakes

This week, I...
  • Received an invitation to a(nother) baby shower in December;
  • Had workplace farewells for a work friend who is going on maternity leave with her second child;
  • Have another friend (the one of the first baby shower) due to deliver her baby literally any day, with an induction booked for tomorrow if things don't start before then; and
  • Have a wedding to attend with Mr Bite tomorrow night. For one of my friends, naturally, because my social circle seems to be the one who is marrying and breeding!

Can you guess that I am in my mid, rapidly heading towards late, 20s?

The nice thing about this week is that unlike this experience, and this one, I am not making unfair comparisons between my friends who are marrying / having children and myself. I am genuinely excited about meeting the new babies that are soon to be born, and recognise that it is an honour to be invited to someone's wedding. I am also likely to send apologies for the December baby shower, for various reasons, and feel okay about doing that.

The other nice thing about this week?

My going-on-maternity-leave friend, who I will christen G. for the purposes of this post, gave me an opportunity for more chocolate mint baking. She has a real affection for chocolate mint, and I was more than happy to cater to this for her farewell morning tea.

What is more, in addition to chocolate mint baking, G. provided me with an opportunity to visit Wagamamas for her farewell lunch. You see, I live quite close to a Wagamamas but have never been, and this was starting to play on my mind.

(In case you were wondering, yes, there was a farewell morning tea and a farewell lunch. One was workplace wide, and one was not. These things can be tricky to fit in!)

I will leave Wagamamas for another day, but am rather excited to share this recipe for chocolate mint cupcakes, which are adapted from these ones at Chocolate Covered Katie. Whilst vegan, I can promise you that no one will know if you don't want them to. I gave them to friends and strangers alike and there were certainly no complaints - and no questions about eggs or milk.

Vegan Chocolate Mint Cupcakes
Makes 12 standard sized cupcakes

Cupcake ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup good quality cocoa
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp oil

Icing ingredients:
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp non-dairy spread (I used Nuttelex), at room temperature
  • 1 tsp soy milk
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 drop (literally, 1!) of green food colouring
  • Non-dairy chocolate chips, extra, for decorating


1. Pre-heat oven to 180'C and prepare a 12 pan muffin tray.

2. Combine cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and corn flour in a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla and peppermint extracts, soy milk, soy yoghurt, apple sauce and oil and whisk to combine.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix through.

5. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin pans. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched.

6. To make the icing, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric beater until well-combined and fluffy. Allow to cool completely before icing.

The cupcakes themselves were good.

But the cupcakes with icing were even better.

Mr Bite liked them.

G. liked them.

The rest of the workplace liked them.

If you like mint and chocolate, I think you will too.

What has your week featured?


  1. Kari, I am so proud and happy for you for greeting these events with joy and calmness and surety about the fact that they have no impact on the amazing life you're leading and the fact that you're in the perfect place (and not alone! xo) for you. Hurrah! And hurrah for chocolate! xo

  2. Dude, you are totally surrounded by babies. Everywhere you turn, babies. I admire you, me and babies, even the ones that are still cooking freak me out. My week, hmmm... Work, more work, a spot of cooking, work, dinner with my family and work. Oh and a bunch of random phone calls with Hannah. :) love the muffins. SOOO good!

  3. Babies are cute when you don't have to clean up after them or wake up every 2 hours to feed them. In my opinion, you got the good end of the stick. :)

  4. I always found the 'comparison' trap hard - and still do! I need to CHILLAX!

  5. Given that I'm in my early 30's nearly all of my friends are married and/or have babies. There are plenty of times when I feel the odd one out. However I got over the whole comparison thing a few years ago.

    You see I managed to have my mid-life crisis at 25 (although I do hope it wasn't mid-life, that would be depressing). At some point, probably when I was about 12, I had decided that I would be grown up at 25. I would be married, own a house and have a baby. Then 25 arrived, I was single, still living with my parents and no thought of kids. For a few days I was really depressed. Enough that when I turned 30 people treated me with kid gloves in case it happened again.

    But the reality was that I eventually realised that while I had not reached those arbitrarily set goals, I was happy. My life was great, so what was I worrying about? Since then I've seen people divorce who married too young, others tied down with kids while I've gallivanted around the world. I've learnt that you need to live the life that is right for you. And I've learnt that you can't plan your entire life, if you try to, you end up disappointed and may miss the true path to happiness.

    So I enjoy my friends weddings, I adore their children and I love my life. I hope that a wedding and babies will be in my future too, but I don't stress any more, and I think that makes all the difference.

  6. I'm not much of a chocolate lover but when paired with mint it's a lot more enticing. Will have to add this to my long list of bookmarks. ;)

    I got over the comparison thing years ago as my life has been anything but the norm. I hadn't even reached my twenties when I had my son! Although many people get married and have babies at similar stages of their lives, not everyone does.

  7. The cupcakes look glorious. Although i could just eat the frosting and be good!

  8. Thank you lovely Hannah - it certainly helps knowing there are people out there who relate :) I am quite thrilled that this time around my reaction is different to in the past. And yes, definitely hurrah for chocolate!

  9. Your week sounds delightfully baby free :D It is odd how they start popping up everywhere! Luckily I don't mind them but it's just a bizarre experience.

    Glad you like the look of the muffins :)

  10. Hehe, true! I'll remember that :)

  11. It's hard to change huh? Certainly easier said than done - but worth while :)

  12. Lisa, this was such a lovely comment. Thank you! I really appreciate your sharing this and your thoughts really ring true (as an aside, at age 25, I was also living at home, single, and certainly had no thought of children :P). I certainly hope that 'mid-life' crisis describes the experience and not the mid-point (!) but it sounds like you hit some huge realizations. I'm going to tuck the phrase 'you need to live the life that is right for you' away as a reminder.

  13. There is something magical about chocolate mint isn't there? :)

    I like your reminder that things can vary from the norm in all directions - life stages aren't consistent at all. I'm glad you left the comparisons behind, I'm trying to persist with doing so myself!

  14. In my experience it is not a matter of whether people are having babies and getting married but also about how they go about it - I have had plenty of friends do it very traditionally and plenty who have been a little less traditional and I usually prefer to latter - especially as, like Lisa commented so eloquently, it is not always the be all and end all but life just keeps on changing.

  15. That's actually exactly it - but sometimes hard to express. I tend to prefer the less traditional too :)


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