Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Fire in our Throats Will Beckon the (Vegan) Cupcakes

Remember how awesome it was when Dr.Harry Weston and his dog Rufus would drop by to visit their neighbors, The Golden Girls?
Or when the Harlem Globetrotters helped Scooby-doo and the gang solve a mystery? And when The Love Boat landed on Fantasy Island?
Well that's kind of what's happening on today's very special Metalcakes post.

Every now and then I'll bake for a band when they play Chicago. I will always, always, always, bake for Black Cobra, Skeletonwitch, and Black Tusk (they really deserve so much more than just a measly batch of cupcakes... And coincidentally, all 3 are currently working on new albums, right now! Yippie!). I usually bake for Pelican too. Whenever I bake for them, I make their specific Metalcake, and then I make another batch of vegan carrot cupcakes for the guitarist Trevor and his wife Lisa. They're cool kids, and the last thing I'd ever want is for them to feel left out just because they choose not to eat dairy and eggs. For a while I've been meaning to sit down and actually create a vegan version of The Fire in our Throats Will Beckon the Cupcakes, but I never have.

Here's where the kick-ass crossover action comes in. The kids over at Cryogenic Husk have graciously offered to help me out with a vegan version of this recipe. They've even put together a heavy, instrumental playlist to go along with their delicious cakes.
I myself contributed a Metal Baking Playlist to their site. Check it out!
So a huge thanks to Stacy for putting together this recipe, taking such wonderful photos, and for allowing me to bask in the reflected glory of Cryogenic Husk.

Pelican: The Fire in our Throats Will Beckon the (Vegan) Cupcakes
By Cryogenic Husk

In putting our heads together, Cryogenic Husk and Metalcakes formed a unique collaboration. While Metalcakes provided the absolutely stellar playlist for baking cupcakes (or any baked treat for the matter) on our site, we threw our name in the hat to "veganize" one of Metalcakes delicious recipes.
It was suggested that we roll with Pelican's immortalization into a tasty cupcake via 'The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Cupcakes" recipe for a few reasons. Firstly, guitarist Trevor de Brauw and his wife are vegan - and Metalcakes has yet to sit down and provide a vegan version of this recipe for them. Secondly, the recipe is a flavor that is unique and scrumptious. And finally, Pelican is a great band.
Here's how the cupcakes became veganized and our own mixtape of heavy instrumental tunes to enjoy:

1) Ingredients ho!

This is really the proving ground for veganizing a recipe. The combining and baking aspects are really quite straight forward, so making sure the ingredients you're using are vegan from the get-go should be the biggest chore - and honestly, it's pretty easy (and we're from a small-sized farm town). Butter was replaced with a margarine (which is basically vegetable oil), we used the Nucoa brand. For the milk, we went with soymilk, specifically the Silk brand. We also said "why not?" to using the vanilla flavored soymilk. The vanilla in it is rather mild and, if anything, could compliment the other flavors involved (cinnamon, almond, orange, etc). We used Ener-G brand Egg Replacer to substitute for the eggs (more on that later). Otherwise, Tofutti brand "Better Than Cream Cheese" replaced real cream cheese, and agave nectar substituted for honey.

2) The instructions were followed exactly as the normal version of this recipe up to step #4. This is where we used the Egg Replacer. If you haven't used it before, I highly recommend the Ener-G brand.

I always hear of people doing other substitutions like apple sauce, flax powder and even more detailed mixtures of various starches; however, this Egg Replacer is easy to use and produces great results. Just add two tablespoons of water to each teaspoon-and-a-half of the Egg Replacer as a substitute for one real egg and viola! We used a little mixer machine to blend it extra well and then poured into the margarine and sugar mix slowly.

3) The rest of the batter recipe was followed exactly like the original recipe. When all the ingredients were combined the batter came out very nice and smooth, similar to pancake batter, only just slightly thicker.

4) The baking time was dead-on for the cupcakes (thank you tooth-pick test). The only difference I could tell was that the tops of them had more of a "cracked" appearance, like some breads you might see. But that's just cosmetic, it's that TASTE that counts.

5) When spreading the orange glaze I recommend poking a LOT of holes into the cupcake since the recipe for the glaze made for plenty to go around. We double coated them. Also, depending on how good your juicer is (ours was an ancient hand-cranked device) you can get about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of juice out of half of an orange.

6) The frosting for these cupcakes is fantastic. Creamy, soft and sweet, but not over-the-top sweet like a store bought brand of frosting (where you think your teeth are going to rot right out of your head), this is much tastier. We did have a snafu with our make-shift device to spread the frosting onto the cupcakes. After about three cupcakes in, we switched to the good 'ol spread-with-a-knife method. Metal cakes goes big with their frosting, and since we are a little more moderate with our use there was a good amount left over (we wound up using it with some pumpkin bread a friend gave us, so it was fortuitously enjoyed via another baked good).

7) Judging from the picture of the finished product that went along with the original recipe, we did a quick improv at the end and sprinkled them with a little cinnamon-sugar on top. Oh my, are they delicious! The cupcakes were a complete success. Definitely something I'm interested in whipping up again at some point.

Ultimately this made about 21 cupcakes. I'm sure it's intended for a nice round "two dozen" but whether through the vegan ingredients or our novice baking skills, it came up just shy of 24. We kept a few for ourselves and then went on a cupcake run giving them out as surprises to a handful of friends (geek-out moment: we listened to 'The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw' while delivering them... it really brought the whole "Play Dark Side of the Moon alongside The Wizard of Oz" experience into the equation), it was a good time. Everyone we gave them out to raved about how tasty they were.

To accompany this re-cap of veganizing the recipe, here's a mix from Cryogenic Husk featuring some heavy instrumental songs that we really enjoy. Rather than stick to one particular sound for this mix, we culled from post-rock, metal, hardcore, indie and points in between to provide a well-rounded listen along with a micro-review analysis of each song. Enjoy!

And here's the entire recipe:

Metal Constituents:
  • 1/2 cup Margarine, room temperature
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups dark-brown sugar
  • 8 Tablespoons Water mixed with 6 teaspoons Egg Replacer
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk
For the orange glaze:
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
For the Frosting:
  • 16oz Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 4 Tablespoons margarine, room temperature
  • 4 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
Merciless Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, salt, nutmeg, mace, and cloves.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream margarine and sugar together.
  4. Add egg replacement mixture, beating to combine.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and soy milk to the rest of the batter, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared cupcake tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one cupcake comes out clean.
  7. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the orange glaze: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted.
  8. Using a toothpick, poke holes all over the top of each cupcake.
  9. While they're still warm, brush cakes with orange glaze ; let cakes cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. To Make the Frosting: Melt margarine and allow to cool.
  11. In a large bowl, combine Tofutti cream cheese, margarine, brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer.
  12. When mixture starts to stiffen, stop mixer and add agave nectar.
  13. Continue to beat until light and fluffy. Do not over mix, or it will collapse.
  14. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.
So thanks again to Cryogenic Husk for stepping up to the vegan plate, and putting so much time and effort into improving this recipe.
Brutal Bakers - UNITE!!

This photo is my favorite. Doggie!!


Xynobia said...

WEEDEATER!! Great playlist/collaboration, ya'll. I have a vegan coworker who will be tickled pink about this, too...

Cryogenic Husk said...

Super excited to do this collaboration! The cupcakes were really amazing! Thanks Metalcakes!

I'm sensing an attempt at Watain's "Sworn To The Cake" in my not-too-distant future ;) haha!