Thursday, March 17, 2011

My goodness, My Guinness!

When I was in kindergarten, I showed up at school like any other day and suddenly some girl came up and PINCHED me! I was so appalled when she explained that it was OK to pinch people that day because it was St. Patrick's day and people who aren't wearing green get pinched.  *gasp* How could my mom not have informed me of this?? I'd never heard of such a thing.  Poor little Jen got pinched all day...  That was my sad introduction to St. Patrick's Day.

Luckily, since then, I've enjoyed the holiday much more. A few years ago, I was in a bakery and they had these amazing-looking Guinness Chocolate cakes for $50!  I was intrigued, but not willing to shell out the $50 to find out if it was as amazing as it sounded.  I knew I could probably find a recipe and re-create it at home.  So, that year, we had a St. Patrick's day party with some friends and I made the cake.  It was 3-layers of awesomeness.

That's some irish soda bread in the background, was yummy too. :)

This year, I've really been into cupcakes. I think they're fun, cute, and I love individual portions. 
When my friend mentioned having another party this year, I was all over dessert. :)  I suggested making the Guinness Chocolate cake into cupcakes - but this year, adding an Irish Cream frosting!  

I found another recipe online for both the cake and frosting and thought I'd give it a go.  I went to purchase the ingredients and had a major internal dilemma.  We've been eating a vegan diet for almost two months now.  I'll get into that in another post - but, I'll just say I'm not super hardcore about it.  So, I had intended to just follow the recipe and have the cupcakes be non-vegan.  However, as I went to buy the butter/eggs/etc., I was like, "Why not make it vegan?"  So, that's what I did.

**EDIT: After reading Caitlin's post at Healthy Tipping Point, I found out that Guinness itself is not vegan.  They use isinglass in the production of it.  *Heaven Forbid*  I'm also skeptical that Irish Cream would pass the vegan test also.  Hmm...  So, NOT vegan...but yummy nonetheless. Hehe... I loved Caitlin's post though.  I'm definitely very lax in my vegetarian/vegan-ness.  I won't go eat a steak, but I do sneak some of Aaron's cheese pizza sometimes; I would eat a s'more with no remorse; and I definitely do not feel guilty for having a Guinness.**

I used Earth Balance instead of butter in the cake recipe and the frosting; Ener-G Egg replace of the eggs, obviously; and So Delicious Coconut Milk plain yogurt in place of sour cream.  I'd never used the coconut milk yogurt before - I was actually pleasantly surprised to find it at Fred Meyer this afternoon.  I tried some by itself and it was really good!

I didn't get any "action shots" of me making the batter - I'm sure those photography skills will come with time. :)  Here is the pan before I put it in the oven.  (Well, actually, that's a lie.  I put it in the oven and then remembered I'd wanted to get a picture of them, I had to take the pan out, get the shot, and put them back in. Hehe...I'm obviously a newbie food blogger.)

I may or may not have used that measuring cup to eat the remaining batter licked the bowl.

 When the cupcakes came out, I was so bummed that they had all sunk in the middle.  I did some research online and found that it may have been due to too much sugar in the recipe.  (There was more sugar than flour and I found that odd when I was making them.)  It definitely didn't hurt the taste though.  I ate one right out of the oven and they were DELICIOUS!

Once they cooled, I made the irish cream frosting.  By itself, it was amazing...however, I couldn't get the consistency quite right.  I had used a vegan margarine and I'm assuming that was my issue.  I tried refrigerating the frosting for a little while to get it to stiffen back up...but it didn't work.  I went ahead and piped the frosting on using a star tip...but, since the frosting was so soft, it didn't hold the prettiness. :(

My little man didn't mind at all though. As soon as I was trying to photograph the cupcake, he was hovering over it, ready to pounce.  He kept looking at me like I'd gone nuts - taking pictures of cupcakes. Hehe...

Here's a plate of the finished product.  Presentation fail.  I'm so bummed they didn't turn out prettier.  However, they do taste amazing.  I'll just have to get better about adjusting recipes and subbing in vegan alternatives.

The recipe I used was based on the one I found HERE.
I hope you all had a fabulous St. Patrick's Day!  Did you make anything festive??

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