This post will be somewhat personal...I don't think that having a blog would be complete without some personal and slightly emotional content (related to food, of course!). There are many, many reasons why I am vegan today. My dear friend Emily introduced me to the lifestyle in highschool. She was a vegetarian when I met her. She introduced me to wonderful staple foods like hummus and falafel that were quite foreign to me at the time. These are now part of my normal diet and I absolutely could not thank her enough for leading me to them!
As I was becoming vegetarian, Em was trying to become vegan. I thought I was having a tough time! I remember she would stash hummus in her purse to smear on bagels. She also switched some clothing and accessories for cruelty-free materials. The hardest part about the transition for her was giving up ice cream. It probably didn't help at all that we both worked at an ice cream shop....
Needless to say, she phased in and out of veganism for a while before quitting. I believe she may have picked it back up after highschool, though. I know it's been a long, long journey for me. I didn't even entertain the idea of veganism until I graduated college and began to read inspirational literature like The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life and Food, Inc.. Over all, I look to this lifestyle as a way of minimizing suffering and maximizing positive vibes (the health benefits and feelings of closeness to the earth are added bonuses!). Emily was still my first exposure to veganism, though. I was always inspired by her interests in activism, animal rights, and conscious living. Another big reason for my adherence to this diet and lifestyle is the preservation of her memory.
For reasons still unclear, Emily's life was taken while she was away at college in Gettysburg, PA. This came as a shock to everyone who knew her and to her school community. This tragedy shook us all to the core. We have all tried desperately to keep Em's spirit and memory alive in any way we can. Her family created a memorial fund in her honor; memorial trees, plaques and peace poles were erected in places her life greatly affected. Em's ashes were also scattered around the globe in amazing places that she would have loved to travel to.
As one of my dearest friends and greatest role models, Emily will always have a place in the forefront of my mind and heart. I try to do right by her every day in all the ways that I can. As you can see, this effort has manifested into the creation of vegan food. The recipe I'm sharing with you today is based on flavors that Em loved (she had great taste) and her favorite flower. I made these to celebrate her birthday which was yesterday. Every year, I try to either make and/or eat a delicious vegan cupcake for the occasion. I don't think she'd have it any other way. :)
So, without further a-do, I present (Emily's) Loaded Sunbutter Cupcakes! These babies are basically a twist on a Take 5 candy bar, which Em was rather fond of. Instead of peanut butter, I used sunflower seed butter to pay homage to one of the most beautiful and dramatic flowers on Earth. Each cupcake is: sunflower seed butter cupcake filled with a dark chocolate mousse and topped with a sunflower seed buttercream frosting. I sprinkled sunflower seeds and gluten-free pretzel crumbs on most of them for garnish. For one, I piped a sunflower and finished the center with chocolate chips. This can be done with plain buttercream and colored yellow, but I wanted the flavor of the sunbutter on mine. Get creative with yours! These are supposed to be fun! :D
Emily's Loaded Sunbutter Cupcakes
Yield: 15 cupcakes (I used 2 mini ice-cream scoops for each)
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
(She's the vegan cupcake GENIUS! If it weren't for this book, I may not be a vegan...maybe....) ;)
For the cake
Preheat oven to 350 F.
For the mousse filling
For the Sunbuttercream
**To make this frosting completely natural/clean, sub the processed fats for refined coconut oil/palm fruit oil; Just make sure the frosting stays cool...otherwise, it may be a bit runny.**
I hope you enjoy making these cupcakes as much as I did! They're also fun to eat, too...
For more information on my girl Emily, you can visit her memorial fund website. She was truly an amazing soul. I hope I've inspired you like she's inspired me time and time again.
Peace, Love, Cupcakes <3
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.