Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nothing Left To Chai

In addition to having a cool name, and an unbelievable amount of musical & creative talent, Jex Thoth can also pull off a cape better than anyone else I know.
The band Jex Thoth formed in 2007. They were originally called "Totem" until another band with the same name objected. That's when Jex decided to share her name with her band. My fellow Midwesterners' (Midwest is best!) first release was a split with the legendary Pagan Altar. It's really awesome! I love both bands, and their styles compliment each other well.

Their music is kind of psychedelic doom, with lyrics about nature and the occult.  Jex burns candles and Palo Santo wood on stage at each show. Palo Santo is a tree that grows in South America. It doesn't smell like any wood I've ever burned. It smells more like burning moss and dirt, and it's also kind of sage-y. The scent sticks to you long after the show has ended. They played here last Wednesday, and when I got home, my cat could not stop sniffing my hair and clothes. He was into it.

Jex also lent her musical talents to the album Restored to One by Sabbath Assembly. It's an album of hymns originally written and sung by members of a religious movement called The Process Church of the Final Judgment. It was based in the UK and US throughout the 60s and 70s. The group taught about embracing both your dark and light sides (worshiping Jesus and Satan at the same time), and basically you get what you give, kind of like Karma. Since the group is no longer active, and no recordings of their original hymns were ever made, it took a lot of work to track down former members and breathe new life into these songs. It's an interesting project that definitely benefited from Jex's involvement.

This recipe was inspired by the song "Nothing Left To Die." It features a chai tea cake paired with red-edged vanilla frosting to match the album cover. If you can't find bags of chai tea, feel free to substitute ready-made chai tea in a box for the milk.

Jex Thoth- Nothing Left To Chai

Makes 18

Metal Constituents:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 bags chai tea
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
For the frosting:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • red food coloring gel

Merciless Instructions:
  1. In a small sauce pan, heat the milk over low until it just begins to simmer.
  2. Remove the milk from the heat and add chai tea bags.
  3. Allow to steep for a full 10 minutes before removing tea bags and setting aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with baking cups and set aside.
  5. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  7. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  8. Add applesauce and continue to mix.
  9. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with the chai milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Be careful not to over mix.
  10. Fill each baking cup about 2/3 full.
  11. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.
  12. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  13. To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy.
  14. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, alternating with cream.
  15. Add vanilla and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
  16. Place a frosting bag that has been fitted with a coupler and a frosting tip, into a tall glass (pint glasses work great).
  17. Using a paint brush, paint 4 long lines of red food coloring gel along the inside of the bag.
  18. Carefully fill the bag with frosting, trying really hard not to mess up the food coloring lines.
  19. Frost completely cooled cupcakes. Here's a tutorial with pictures.
  20. I am the chai, I am the rumor that be.
Here's some really great footage of an entire Jex Thoth set in Munich. They play "Nothing Left To Die" at 1:07:55, but I encourage you to watch the whole set while you eat these cupcakes. Enjoy!