CupAntCake Project 1: Vegan Marshmallows

There are so many recipes out there that use marshmallows as their base. Homemade fondant, fluff, ice creams, frostings and of course s’mores. I want to try so many different things but I can’t seem to get rid of the wrench in my plan. If you knew how easy it was to make regular marshmallows you would never spend money in a store again. Gelatin free marshmallows however, not so easy. In the United States, Sweet and Sara makes vegan marshmallows that are sold at whole foods. There are a few online retailers in the United Kingdom as well. If you do a google search for vegan marshmallows, you will realize there isn’t too much variety as far as ideas go. There is the popular open source cookbook and recipe by David Soleil. I’m sure it works, since everyone seems to post it on their blogs. Genutine Vegetarian Gelatin and guar gum are not products readily available to me so I can’t try it.

Marshmallow on a Stick

The dilemma started when I wanted to make some Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream with Marshmallows. I eat marshmallows. Gelatin and all. But there’s a lot of people around me that don’t. I tried adapting a recipe for regular marshmallows, substituting agar agar for gelatin. It didn’t work. It thickened and after whipping became the consistency of marshmallow fluff, but it didn’t turn opaque. I think that’s what I need to fix. It stayed liquid even after I let it cool overnight. I was left with a really thick sugar syrup and no marshmallows for my ice cream.

Marshmallow Heaven

So now for my second try I’ve managed to get my hands on to some cream of tartar and arrowroot powder. Not sure yet how they will help but I’m going to look into it and update this post on Monday. Hopefully I will get the time to try another batch by then.

I mentioned Genutine Vegetarian Gelatin earlier. I just looked up the company, La Sactuaire, that sells it and their products are fascinating. They are taking huge steps towards making it easy to be vegan.

Back to the Very Beginning

My sophomore year of college I had a roommate who was a compulsive baker. We always had something in the refrigerator of our tiny kitchen which we shared between seven people. This is when I was introduced to American staples such as red velvet cupcakes and homemade lemon curd. She was always very adept around the oven and kept us well fed. Armed with a few extra kilos and a basic education in baked treats, I began to venture outside the dorm room.  All at once I discovered Manhattan’s numerous bakeries such as The Buttercup Bakeshop, CRUMBS, Magnolia and my favorite, Two Little Red Hens. I still couldn’t distinguish between dry and creamy frosting or understand the importance of moisture and lightness in a cake. All that happened when I moved to Paris and took cooking lessons with a Countess and befriended a self proclaimed food critic. It was a whole new world filled with chestnut butter and olive oil macarons. Those experiences collectively inspired me seven months ago, while I was eight a half months pregnant and desperately looking for something to distract me. Up until then I was always better at eating than baking. When I first gave it a try the cakes came out tasting pretty good but they looked terrible. I’m posting some pictures of my first few attempts so that you can see the evolution from piling frosting to piping frosting.

Blackout Layer Cake

Red Velvet Cupcake

Marble Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Welcome to CupAntCake!

This blog is a place for me to record experiments in the kitchen and foster creativity. I’m always looking for new ideas, flavor combinations and a sweet tooth to satisfy. Baking is a newfound hobby of mine and with some successful outcomes and a handful of epic disasters, all in all, it’s going pretty well. I’ll be posting pictures of what I’ve made in the last six months and also cakes, cupcakes and whatever else strikes my fancy; as well as those I plan to try in the future. If you have a specific request or suggestion please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m looking for reasons to bake and your birthday/dinner party/bar-mitzvah might be the perfect occasion. I try and make everything from scratch to ensure that my food is vegetarian, kosher and if desired even vegan. Recipes are combinations from websites, cookbooks, blogs and some of my own ideas. I’m trying to steer away from the traditional, so if you come across something exciting please do share. With that I will end my first post; which I have to admit felt like writing the introductory paragraph to a college essay. Hopefully it will get easier.