Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Almond Cupcake Mega Fail

Saturday morning we were out of bananas (tragedy!) so I had to go without my usual morning protein shake.  Fortunately, I had picked up this caramel apple crunch cereal on my trip to Target Friday, and I was really excited to try it. 

I'd been especially careful to check the ingredient list closely, given several bad experiences with not reading ingredient lists lately.  I didn't think anything with "caramel" in the title would be vegan, but it was! 
And it turned out to be delicious with vanilla soy milk.  I realize most people would use plain soy milk for cereal, but I never got in the habit of buying plain soy milk unless I need it for a specific (usually savory) recipe.  And since I always end up using vanilla soy milk in things like cereal or to make chocolate milk, now I feel like plain soy milk tastes too soy-y and I don't have a taste for it. 

After breakfast I had decided I wanted to try making a batch of almond cupcakes using this almond cake recipe but subbing out the eggs and butter.  I've made the recipe twice before - once using a spring form pan as the recipe intends and once as cupcakes using silicon molds.  I thought the cupcakes went much better because the large cake ended up under cooked in the center, so I planned to go with cupcake-size again. 
The intense almond flavor of the cake comes from almond paste and almond extract and tastes amazing.  It tastes great plain, but when I made cupcakes before I made a chocolate glaze and then sprinkled coconut flakes on top to make Almond Joy-inspired cupcakes.  I always imagined this cake would be good with canned peaches as well.  There are just so many possibilities! 
I started busily preparing the recipe and things were going pretty well.  I don't have a food processor or stand mixer, so I was left to use a hand mixer and my bare hands to prepare the mix.  But mixing the sugar, flour, and Earth Balance butter into a sand-looking mixture by hand went well and I felt like I got the consistency I was supposed to have. 
The recipe calls for 6 whole eggs, so to sub out the eggs I turned to Ener-G egg replacer. 
The Ener-G egg replacer powder mixes with water and creates a frothy, bubbly, white liquid that looks a lot like slightly beaten egg whites. 

I continued mixing all the ingredients together and the final mix looked like I expected it to. 

Panda helped clean off the mixers, and she seemed to think the batter tasted right too.  (Plus no worries about salmonella!) 

Unfortunately, when I checked on the cupcakes half-way through baking I saw that things didn't appear to be going that well.  I don't know if it was my vegan substitutions or that I had overfilled the cupcake wells, but the batter overflowed dramatically and then sunk down leaving big holes where cupcakes should be. 

I let them keep baking still hoping for the best, but this is what I ended up with:

The edges were like way overdone cookies, while what was left of cupcakes in the center had deep depressions and overcooked sides.  They looked like a terrible failure!  I cut away the overflowed portions hoping to salvage what I could. 

Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about the deep depressions in the center of each cupcake.  Or about the overcooked sides that made it almost impossible to get a cupcake out of the pan.  (And this was a non-stick pan that I had sprayed and floured!) 
The cupcakes still tasted good (and I will post more about that later), but they're certainly not anything I would want to serve to a guest!  And worse still, I don't know for sure what went wrong, so I will just have to make them again to see if I can correct it.  At least I know the egg replacer didn't hurt the flavor at all.  Maybe I'll be making almond cake again next weekend ... 

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