Sunday, December 15, 2013

South Sugar Plum Cakes

When I was 7, I went to an all school assembly on the afternoon of the last day before Christmas break. I'm sure a bunch of little kids excited for Santa were way too hard to control, so they decided to just show a movie instead of trying to teach us anything new. We sat on the floor of the gym and watched (the original) Escape to Witch Mountain projected on a huge screen. I remember it was about psychic orphan twins, who were really aliens, and their quest to get back to their home planet. It had that guy from Green Acres in it. At the time, I thought it was really awesome. Now however, I'm much more excited about the band Witch Mountain.

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Witch Mountain are doomy and heavy with blistering guitar solos and vocals that sway between soul and NWOBHM. To me they sound like what would happen if Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Dickinson joined Coven.
They released Come to the Mountain in 2001, when doom wasn't nearly as popular as it is now. Then due to family, and side project commitments, they took a decade long hiatus. Turns out that haitus is just what they needed to find the vocalist they'd been looking for all along. Their 2011 release South of Salem marked their first record with Uta Plotkin, and she is amazing.
Once they finished recording South of Salem, they recorded "Veil of the Forgotten" for the Metal Swim compilation. I love that song! It was definitely one of my very favorites on that whole compilation- which is saying something because there are a lot of really great songs on it.

This recipe was inspired by the song "South Sugar." They feature Sugar Plums on top. Contrary to popular belief, sugar plums aren't actually sugared plums. They are no-bake cookies made with dried fruit, spices, honey, and nuts that are rolled in powdered sugar. They're pretty festive, and hopefully as you make them, you'll have doomy visions of Witch Mountain, dancing in your head!

To celebrate Witch Mountain, and the holiday season, I present to you:

Witch Mountain
South Sugar Plum Cakes


Makes 22

Metal Constituents:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 tespoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  1-1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup plum jam
For the frosting:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
For the Sugar Plums:
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar 
  • purple sanding sugar
  • purple edible glitter 

Merciless Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with baking cups, and set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Beat in vanilla.
  6. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk.
  7. Beat until well combined.
  8. Fill baking cups about two-thirds full.
  9. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one cupcake, comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Cut a small cone-shaped hole in the middle of each cupcake.
  12. Using a piping bag or small spoon, fill each hole with jam.
  13. To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy.
  14. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
  15. Add salt and both extracts.
  16. Continue to beat until light and fluffy.
  17. Frost completely cooled cakes.
  18. To make the sugar plums: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  19. Place the almonds, honey, spices, zest, prunes, apricots, and dates into a food processor, and process for a few seconds until everything is just sticking together, but before it starts to form into a big ball.
  20. Scoop about a teaspoon of the mixture out at a time, and roll into balls.
  21. Place each ball onto the prepared baking sheet.
  22. Mix the sanding sugar and glitter together in a small bowl.
  23. Roll each ball in the powdered sugar, and then roll into the glitter mixture.
  24. Place one Sugar Plum on top of each frosted cupcake.
  25. I don't think that I can bake anymore of these South Sugar Plum Cakes.

 Here's some live footage of Witch Mountain playing "Veil Of The Forgotten:"

And here's "South Sugar" to listen to while you're baking:

Happy Holidays from Metalcakes!!
2013 was awesome!  *High Five* Here's to 2014!