Monthly Archives: May 2013

Vegan Recipe Shares: Black Metal Cüpcakes

Since we teased you earlier this week with a post about our first batch of Black Metal Cüpcakes (note the umlaut!!!), we figured we owed everyone the recipe for these intense, complex, seriously delicious cupcakes. The quantity of chocolate and the doubling up of the alcohol makes them perfect for extreme chocoholics.

Although you are not required to accompany them with a Black Metal soundtrack, we highly recommend it!

Black Metal Cüpcakes

Black Metal Cüpcakes

Black Metal Cüpcakes
– Makes 14 cupcakes
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan stout beer*
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
* Our favorite vegan-friendly stouts include Starr Hill Dark Starr Stout, Guinness Extra Stout, and Old Rasputin Imperial Stout; check out for others.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with 14 cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together stout, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not over mix. Fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it. Transfer the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Whiskey Buttercream Filling
1/2 cup vegan margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
⅓ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons soy milk
3-4 teaspoons Jack Daniels whiskey (yes, it is vegan)

Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the margarine until smooth. With the mixer running on low, add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and soy milk. Then add whiskey, 1 teaspoon at a time, and beat until desired consistency; if needed, add additional soy milk.

Chocolate Ganache
¼ cup soy milk
4 ounces vegan semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ cup finely chopped vegan dark chocolate pieces (for sprinkling)

Bring the soy milk to a gentle boil in a small saucepan. Immediately remove from heat and add the chocolate and maple syrup. Use a rubber heatproof spatula to mix the chocolate until it is fully melted and smooth. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

With a tablespoon or a paring knife, carefully dig a cone out of the top of each cooled cupcake. Fill the holes with the chocolate filling until the surface is fairly even. Use a spoon or pastry knife to spread the ganache on the top of the cupcake to the edges, to desired thickness but not letting the ganache run over the sides. Then sprinkle chopped dark chocolate pieces on top of each cupcake.


The Red and the Black

It has been a while since we did any real experimentation in the kitchen, but the past few days have felt like a good time for something new…or two.

First was a superb raw vegan “cheesecake” that Justin had tried a few years ago. With just a few ingredients, this Raw Cashew Dreamcake (care of My New Roots–just be sure to replace the honey with agave nectar!!!) will really amaze anyone who likes the dairy kind…and could easily become as addicting as dairy cheese (which contains a protein, casein, that has been found to have opiate-like properties…and effects, thus explaining the “cheese addiction” phenomenon). Although our spring-form pan was larger than the recipe called for, making the dreamcake short, it was still delicious AND beautiful.

Raw Cashew Dreamcake

Raw Cashew Dreamcake

Second, at long last, were the notorious Black Metal Cüpcakes…a quadruple chocolate blitzkrieg with stout and whiskey thrown into the mix. Talk about extreme cupcakes! The flavor combination is complex (“symphonic,” as Rosemary so aptly put it), and the taste unfolds as the stout cupcake, whiskey buttercream filling, dark chocolate ganache, and dark chocolate chunks all hit your taste buds.

Black Metal Cüpcakes

Black Metal Cüpcakes

Vegan Recipe Shares: Almond Cookies

(c) The Pinwheel Collective, 2013Few of our cookies have been as popular as our Almond Cookies. Buttery, nutty, and hard to forget, they put the flavor of almonds center stage–where, of course, it deserves to be!

I have been in love with almonds for decades; one of my favorite holiday presents was a bag of shelled almonds (which fits nicely in a stocking). These are a frequent output of our oven at home–sometimes partnered with cranberries (our Cranberry Almond Cookies) for a little varietal “spice.”

Almond Cookies
– Makes 12 cookies.
½ cup canola oil
½ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup soy milk
2 teaspoons flax meal
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350 F. Stir together oil, sugars, soy milk, flax seed, and extracts in a large bowl. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and almonds, in a medium bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the other bowl, stirring after each addition. Knead to incorporate the almonds, if necessary. Pack chunks of dough into a 1/4-cup measuring cup, roll them into balls, flatten into patties in your hands, and then place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes, let cool on the tray for a minute, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

“We Must Cultivate Our Garden”

This quote from Voltaire’s Candide (“…il faut cultiver notre jardin“) sums up a lot of what we have been up to lately. Sunberry’s baking has slowed down a lot…leaving us the time to work on growing food and beneficial plants in our yard…

We did a lot last year to remake our swath of fescue into a productive foodscape. Many things planted then are coming back, up, and out with a gorgeous fecundity. Some things are allowing us nibbles, while others are teasing us with greenness as they creep slowly towards ripeness.

We are still doing some baking here and there–for special orders and for ourselves. But there is a certain magical satisfaction and a vivacity that comes in cultivating our garden…

It is important to note here that we shy away from traditional rows, but prefer clumps and collaborations. Bare soil is also less common than slightly “weedy” but green-mulched areas that are maintained just enough to keep the edibles from getting crowded it.

As you might expect, we use veganic garden methods, meaning no animal inputs (such as fish meal, bone meal, blood meal, horse or cow manure, poultry litter, etc.).

The dynamics of mixed ingredients in a baked good are fascinating things to learn and cultivate. But the dynamics of living plants and other creatures in a garden are an entirely different, more complex, more enthralling process.

Enlightenment grows from the soil.

Vegan Recipe Shares: Vegan Deluxe Brownies

Vegan Deluxe BrowniesAh, memories… Our gluten-free Vegan Deluxe Brownies were one of the first recipes we made to sell, and one of our most consistently popular items. With a superb cakey texture and not-too-sweet chocolatey richness, these brownies made sure that anyone, even those with wheat (or egg or dairy) allergies could still eat some yummy, local, compassionately made brownies.

The recipe is also quite versatile: you can add chopped nuts, mint flavoring, vegan cream cheese, and even candy canes (we offer both of the last options) to add a little more flair. Of course, we love them just as they are!

Vegan Deluxe Brownies (gluten free)
– Makes 6 large brownies.
3 oz soft silken tofu (1/4 package)
¼ cup soy milk
½ cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper. Puree the tofu, soy milk, and oil in a blender until smooth and fluffy. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides if needed. Transfer the tofu mixture to a medium bowl. Use a fork to vigorously mix in the sugar. Add vanilla. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Use a spatula to fold and mix the batter until smooth. Transfer the batter to the pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 30-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, remove the pan from the oven, and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

In the Event

There is always a certain sense of excitement when we receive a special order. As embarrassing as it is to admit, we feel a little of the “They really like us!” giddiness of positive feedback and affirmation.

Last week, we provided a selection of our vegan treats for a baby shower. Some loyal customers were throwing a shower for their daughter and wanted a variety that would please adults and kids alike.

Cupcakes are always apropos when it comes to classier events like showers, so those were the immediate go-to. The real fun of the order, though, was working with the customers to determine the best products and flavors for the shower guests…and especially the right quantities. Once we got the head count, we were able to ensure that there would be plenty to go around by making mini-scones instead of full-sized scones (making 16 instead of 8).

Although we were one component of a larger event, it was fun to collaborate on this big (for us) special order…

And then this week, we have coming up an order for two cupcakes to celebrate the graduation of a supporter, and fellow vegan, from JMU. The entire family is a great bunch of people, whom we have met and chatted with numerous times. We are excited to make two cupcake flavors that are not currently on our menu, helping (we hope) make the occasion even more special.

Compassionate treats and collaborative ordering? That is what local food should look like!