Tuesday, January 4, 2011

An Adventure in Cupcakes

Have you ever seen Cupcake Wars on Food Network?  Well let's just say that's how my Sunday felt.  I love a good challenge and was already starting to feel nostalgic over the holidays ending and no more holiday baking, no more adorable snowman cookies, or gingerbread families.  So what did I do to ease that sad feeling of saying goodbye to holiday sweets baking and treats?  I sat down at my computer and started to look for some new inspirations.  Many of the blogs still had their holiday posts, however Bakerella had a post about this cupcake contest.
Yep- it caught my eye, so out of curiosity I clicked the link and read the details.  At first I think I was half kidding when I mentioned it to my husband, I mean honestly it was already after 10pm and the contest deadline was the next day by 11:59pm what could I be thinking?  However my husband went along with my
ideas.  Maybe he was just humoring me, but he got me excited & my wheels started to turn.
I dreamt of cupcakes that night & in the morning I was still unsure but oh so excited at the possibilities.  To be honest I had never created a cupcake recipe from scratch and especially using some very out of the ordinary ingredients.    So with a list in hand of the 14 adventure ingredients and yep no solid plan still, off to the store I went.  I wasn’t in a hurry I was with 2 preteen girls in a shopping center & I even peeked in Anthropologie.  But once I got home & unpacked the goodies, it all started to fall into place, it was now or never.  

The 14 Adventure Ingredients:
stout beer (oatmeal, chocolate, imperial or any other stout); ricotta; buttermilk; coconut butter, coconut milk or coconut cream; saffron; molasses (light, dark or blackstrap); adzuki bean; fresh beet; sweetened condensed milk; fresh or whole dried chili pepper; bee pollen; meyer lemon; almond flour; and Sumatra coffee bean

You were required to use at least one of the adventure ingredients.  So what did I choose??  I ended up with two cupcake ideas, I couldn’t resist- but would I have time?  After a few kitchen blunders, mind you I love to bake & cook when I have time & actually find it quite calming, but I was now on crunch time.  

My husband remained calm, collective & helpful- he does insist that I flinged icing at him- however I insist it got on him when I was tossing spoons in the sink.  I was moving quickly the clock was ticking.  I had to get these cupcakes baked/icing made & we had to taste them, there was no time for trial & error & I absolutely hate to waste food.  It just had to work!  And we made it, the second recipe was submitted without a minute to waste.  I  felt like I was starring in an episode of Cupcake Wars right here in my own house & honestly I LOVED it!!

So again what did I choose?  Well….

Cupcake #1

 Chili Daze  
(my husband came up with this name)

In this cupcake we used the Chili pepper & ricotta in the batter while the icing had the ricotta, meyer lemon & chili.  It isn't hot, but has a delightfully light bite with the ricotta and delicious Scharffen Berger Chocolate lightening up any bite or spice of chili.  While the icing isn't overly sweet but just simply refreshing.  It's a chocolate cupcake with a twist.

Cupcake #2
 With Every Beet of my Heart
(the first name I came up with when I read beets as an ingredient) 
  Yep one of the ingredients is in the name... beets!  Now I know what you're thinking, but honestly back during a time forgot, people use to grow sugar beets for well SUGAR.  Amazing huh?  But honestly if you tasted it you'd have absolutely NO idea that beets were an ingredient.  Actually the beautiful color added almost makes it appear to be like a Red Velvet cake and again the delicious chocolate makes this another delightful cupcake.  Because I know the fact that a beet is an ingredient, I didn't tell my teenage son before he ate it, while eating it I heard the sounds of a very pleased boy (m mm yum) he even told me "Mom these are delicious, these are the bees knees" (another cupcake name maybe?).  Once I knew it had his seal of approval, I disclosed the ingredient, he replied that he couldn't tell.  He's never had beets before now that I think of it, but I showed him the beet and he wasn't interested in eating that.  He's a teenage boy so believe me he has his opinions, he loves his momma's cooking, but there is certainly things he does not eat (ie: asparagus- however we have found a way to get him to eat it- I'll post that recipe one day when I can convince my hubby to make it).  Even my daughter loves the cupcakes, she likes beets actually but happens to not be a huge sweet tooth or cupcake eater.  She wanted to share one last nigt, but ended up eating it all.  I love it!
So  the ingredients in   'With Every Beet of my Heart' : mashed beets in the chocolate batter while the icing had Chocolate Stout beer and bee pollen added gently in the end.  I could just eat a bowl of icing- it's yummy.  Topped with a candy beet (however my picture doesn't show that, I dressed these today).

This is a competition and I was not going to enter something that didn't amaze me and believe me I was amazed. So I'll be waiting patiently to see if the creations made along side my wonderful husband amazes the judges.  They called for the use of adventure ingredients and a sense of adventure in the recipe, well it sure was an adventure.  I will forever remember that night, no matter the results..... BUT still wish me LUCK!!

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