Sunday, 20 July 2008

quinoa and apple cupcakes...a healthy kickstart to the day!

quinoa is a powerful little seed. its nutritional value is superb and i think everyone should find their own way of including it in their diet. as wikipedia says...

quinoa has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source.[5] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest.

i usually eat it as part of a salad with chopped tomatoes, cucumber and spring onion and lots of fresh herbs like coriander, mint and basil. add to this some fresh lemon juice, soya sauce and salt and pepper and i have a salad that i can eat with anything or just eat on its own. however, i have wanted to experiment with it in a sweet dish and of course the natural choice is a cupcake.

i searched on the internet and thought i would try something already tested for my first go. so i followed a recipe i found on the blog, Cupcake Project. the recipe was pretty straightforward and i didn't really alter much - just used regular flour instead of rice flour, mainly because i didn't have rice flour and wasn't fussed about making these gluten-free. i liked the idea of including stewed apples in the middle of each cupcake. a cooked in filling sure beats the time it takes to cut out cones, fill and then ice. the recipe called for cooked quinoa which i proceeded to do using the rice cooker. quinoa is really simple to cook and you just use the ratio of 1:2 that's 1 cup of uncooked quinoa to 2 cups of water.

so what was the result...hmmm, i'm a little undecided on this one. i can't say that it ranks up there with my favourites. the taste is interesting...the quinoa adds a real texture to the cupcake that i guess i'm just not used to. the stewed apples were barely tastable and this was disappointing - if i make these again i would definitely make more stewed apples and have a bigger spoon of it in each cupcake. i did find the cake texture quite dry and definitely think the suggestion on the recipe to perhaps add the stewed apples straight into the batter a good idea. it might just add that little bit more moisture to the finished result. i definitely think i will experiment again with cooked quinoa but next time i might try it in a chocolate cupcake...i could never give up so easily on such a nutritionally powerful little seed and ways to include it in my diet. these however would definitely start your day off with a serious blast of protein and a huge sugar rush. i used the recipe for the icing also given called penuche icing which was made with brown sugar...but again i cannot say that i am a big fan. i found it very sweet and might have preferred a cream cheese of even a vanilla buttercream. however, it is good to experiment and explore new flavours and so i look forward to more explorations with the wondrous quinoa.

9 comments:

Nikki Miller-Ka said...

I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the quinoa. I have used it in recipes, but as wondrous as it is, I can't say I love it. I'd rather have rice.

Jennifer A. Wickes said...

The cupcakes look great! I have had quinoa and I know what you are saying...the texture is a bit odd if you are not used to it. I am sure the rice flour would have made them far more crumbly. And if you are not used to that, this cupcake would have felt like a failure to you.

PS I love your site!

Stef said...

Sorry to hear that the cupcakes didn't work out for you. I totally understand your comments about it being dry. It definitely was a bit dry. I'm more surprised about the frosting. That is some of my favorite frosting and was a hit with everyone who tried it. It's always interesting how different things strike people in such different way. I find a standard buttercream to be much sweeter than a penuche. I guess it's a different kind of sweet though.
Anyway, I'm flattered that you tried it!

the AIRY FAIRY said...

hi nikki, i actually don't mind the taste in salads...but i will have to explore more to create a cupcake that i like it in!

hi jennifer, ya i couldn't get my hands on rice flour so maybe the plain flour altered the overall texture too. i do really like quinoa and the way it tastes so will persist...

hi stef...i don't think it was a case that they didn't work out. the end result looked very good and everyone else who ate them seemed fine with them. i think it was just me really. i don't know why the icing didn't appeal to me...but there you go, different strokes for different folks. i wonder how a chocolate quinoa cupcake would taste?

The Caked Crusader said...

I have never seen quinoa used in baking like this before. The cupcakes look lovely!

the AIRY FAIRY said...

hi caked crusader...i'm now on a crusade to make a cupcake that tastes really good with quinoa in it...i just won't give up!

Anonymous said...

i want to lick the icing ..! they look really yummy!
fariah

Megan, Freelance Baking said...

I like how you think! I just started reading your blog and I love it so I am going to write a post about it on my blog. You can see it at www.freelancebaking.blogspot.com. I love your ideas!

the AIRY FAIRY said...

hi fariah, you can lick the icing...it wasn't one of my favs i must admit!

thanks megan, i'll be sure to check out the post...thanks for stopping by :)