Thursday, October 21, 2010

C. Stout Cupcakes

My good friend Caiti's birthday came to pass, and I love when my vegan friends have birthdays. It's a great excuse to use them as guinea pigs for my vegan baked goods.
I asked Caiti what she wanted for her birthday, and she was infuriatingly vague. Whatever you want, she said. I know you'll figure something out, she said. No coconut, she said. So I figured I'd find something in my vegan cupcake book that I hadn't tried before. I absolutely knew it was fate when yesterday, flipping through my recipe book, I came across Chocolate Stout cupcakes. Caiti's last name is Stout. FATE. C. Stout cupcakes it was, and boy howdy it was a good choice.

If you like moist, dense, chocolately cupcakes, these are for you. They kind of remind me of devil's food cake. And really, the biggest difference between these and regular chocolate cupcakes is the 1/4 C. of stout. It's what makes the cupcakes moist delicious cakes of goodness. Stout was the only thing I didn't have readily at hand, so these bad boys are made with fairly normal baking ingredients. I spent a few minutes in the beer aisle of Whole Foods with Caiti trying to decide between several stouts. The fact that one was half as much as the rest made the choice pretty easy:
Contractors to Her Majesty's Forces!
And the label was by far the most fun.
You know, I'm surprised stout isn't used more when it comes to chocolatey baked goods. The stout had a very strong chocolate taste to begin with that really enhanced the taste of the cupcakes. I don't think I could ever actually drink a bottle of this stuff, though. And I admire anyone who could, but I have a feeling if I did I might grow hair on my chest, and I already have enough shaving to do on a regular basis, thanks. The recipe only calls for a little stout, so make sure you have someone at hand manly enough to finish the bottle so it doesn't go to waste.

C. Stout Cupcakes
These cupcakes don't have frosting -- perfect for my friend considering she's not a big icing person -- but instead have a simple crumb topping you sprinkle over the cupcakes before you pop them in the oven.

1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. cocoa powder (dutch processed is recommended but I used regular and it seemed to work fine)
2 T. canola oil

Sift together the dry ingredients. Slowly drizzle in the oil a little at a time, constantly stirring with a fork. After a few stirs the ingredients should start to form into clumps. Keep stirring till the clumps are around a quarter inch and there's still a little dry flour mixture in the bottom. Set this aside.
Crumb mix pre-oil: baking is easier with a glass of beer
3/4 C. soy milk
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1 C plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
1/3 C. cocoa powder (again with the dutch processed)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 C. stout
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1/3 C. canola oil
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together milk and vinegar. In a smaller bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the stout, sugar, oil and vanilla to the milk mixture and beat till foamy. Add the dry ingredients in two batches and beat for a few minutes.

Fill a lined cupcake pan with batter 2/3 full. Take the crumb topping and gently sprinkle over the tops of the cups. Just gently place the crumbs so they sit on the top.

Bake at 350 for 20-22 mins.

The crumb topping was really good, although I'd make the crumbles on the smaller side, just 'cause the big chunks can taste kind of funny. These bad boys are really good with a tall glass of almond milk. Mmm mmm. And they were the perfect compliment to the dinner Caiti made: Curried Pumpkin Bisque and Autumn Latkes. Delicious food, good company, and a Blackhawks win: all in all, a fantastic night.
Caiti blows out one of the ridiculously long candles I bought. Yes, I know it's ridiculously long. They were the cheapest ones Whole Foods had.
I've already got a gingerbread apple pie half-baked, waiting to be taken over to my friends' apartment. More on that later!

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