Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brotherly Love: Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge #6



This month's Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge, in true holiday spirit, challenged us to create a cupcake "for someone special." Well, my brother just came home from college for the holidays, and I knew just what to make for him. His favorite thing in the world is meringue, and he also loves chocolate and nutella, so when I came across this cake I knew he would love it. It also fits his personality - he may have a rather scruffy exterior, but inside he's a softie and very sweet.

Now the challenge was to make it into cupcake form! After some trial and error (I could only bake 12 at a time, and the second batch turned out much better after I learned from the first one) I made some darn good cupcakes, if I do say so myself. (Sorry for the not-so-great pictures. It was rather late by the time I finished them so the lighting was bad and I didn't have time to make a good setup before everyone demanded cupcakes!)

For the first batch, I didn't bake them long enough because I was too afraid to overcook the cupcakes, so to brown the meringue I broiled them for 1-2 minutes, which led to sunken brown meringue (on the right). For the 2nd batch, I baked them a few minutes longer. The meringue sank less and was a better texture, and the cupcakes were still moist and delicious.
I should also mention that my aunt flew in from Switzerland yesterday, and she loves hazelnuts, so these are really for two special people. Or three, because I showed my dad the cake and he was thrilled that I would be making such a rich chocolatey dessert. I added whipped cream because my brother loves whipped cream almost as much as meringue, and what's a cupcake without some sort of frosting? I must say, the vanilla whipped cream complements these rich cupcakes extremely well.

The final product was a rich, moist, flourless chocolate cupcake topped with a light, crispy meringue full of hazelnut and chocolate pieces, topped with a dollop of lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream.

My brother was pretty happy.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Strawberry Orange Sunrise Cupcakes for Mystery Box #4 (Orange)




A few days after reading about this month's Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge, with the theme of "Orange," I tried a new flavor of yogurt for lunch: Yoplait's Light Strawberry Orange Sunrise yogurt - a mixture of strawberry, banana, and sunny orange. It was so tasty that I could not stop commenting on its deliciousness (my friends can verify) and I had half a mind to go and buy another one immediately after I finished it. Suddenly, I had an epiphany! This yogurt had the potential to turn into scrumptious, fruit-filled cupcakes. When I mentioned this to my friends, one suggested that I make the cupcakes actually look like a sunrise by dying them pink and orange. This opportunity was too good to pass up. After hunting around for modifiable recipes, I came up with my recipe...   


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cupcake Hero: September WINNER!

After a very close race (the votes were evenly split and I had to find more taste-testers to break the tie!) the September Cupcake Hero has been chosen!


Drum roll please...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cupcake Hero September: THE FINAL BATTLE


The results are in!


We have two cupcakes... but only one can become a HERO.

The worthy contenders:

Rocio's Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes    vs.    Melissa's Pear-anormal Energy Cupcakes
  Congratulations to both finalists!
It was a very close vote, as you can see from the poll results on the right side of the page.
I will do a bakeoff on Saturday, and report the winner (according to my taste-testing committee) by Sunday.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cupcake Hero: September ROUNDUP!

 
Hi everyone! The Caffeinated Cupcakes are in, and it's time to vote! All of this month's entries are so creative and tasty-looking, it will be hard to choose just one.  But only one can win, so it's time to crown this month's Cupcake Hero!

Click "Read more" to see the roundup. The poll is on the right side of my blog.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Waffle "Whoops!" Cupcakes (for Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge #3)

Please vote for me at http://www.sweetestkitchen.com/!

I saw this Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge and racked my brain for cupcake-able memories. The first thing I thought of was the birthday cake that my mom made each year, but that seemed too boring (it's made with a chocolate cake mix and a simple chocolate glaze and I wanted to be more creative than that). So I began racking my brain to think of other food-related childhood memories, and I thought of the waffles that my dad made almost every Sunday when I was growing up. Then I remembered one of my favorite memories...

My mother, who is equally if not more of an insomniac than I am, is also even more addicted to caffeine than I am. Before her morning coffee, she is unable to function properly. Literally unable to function properly, as we discovered a few times...
One fine Sunday morning, we were just sitting down to our delicious waffle breakfast, with real Vermont maple syrup (yummm). My brother and I were still quite little, so our parents would help us with pouring and other such tasks. My brother asked my mom to pour some maple syrup onto his waffle for him. My mom, still woozy before drinking her coffee, proceeded to pick up her full coffee cup and pour it onto my brother's waffle! We laughed and laughed, and retold this story every chance we had. It was especially funny after similar incidents occurred a few more times, such as the time she poured orange juice into her coffee instead of milk.

I knew that I had to find a way to make this story into a cupcake. I desperately searched the internet for waffle cupcakes, and discovered that someone had actually made them before! Thus the Waffle "Whoops!" Cupcakes were born.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

IMPORTANT CUPCAKE HERO ANNOUNCEMENT!

Hello to all contestants and followers of Cupcake Hero: September!

Since I only have 6 submissions at the moment, and because of schedule changes in my personal life, I am going to push all of the Cupcake Hero: September deadlines back one week. The new dates are:

Entry Deadline: Friday, September 24th, 11:59 PM Pacific Time

Roundup posted by Sunday, September 26th
Voting until Thursday, September 30th
I will make the cupcakes that weekend and post a winner by Sunday, October 3rd.

So if you were thinking about entering but didn't think you had the time... Now you do!
I hope to see several more entries by next Friday.

Good luck, and happy baking!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cupcake Hero: September!


Hello everyone! Welcome to Cupcake Hero: September, a new month of the exciting cupcake-creating competition!

I decided to personalize this month's competition by using an ingredient to which I am very addicted devoted..........


(image from http://pw0nd.com/2008/07/19/caffeine/)


In this month's competition, we're courageously creating
CAFFEINATED CUPCAKES!
(How's that for alliteration?)
This could include coffee, espresso, tea, caffeinated soda, or even energy drinks for the truly adventurous... (or anything else caffeinated --use your imagination!) 
However, chocolate doesn't count as a caffeine ingredient for this contest.
If you are not a caffeinated person, you may use the caffeine-free version of your ingredient, but please note in your recipe and/or email whether I should make the test cupcakes with caffeine or decaf.

*Note: Although my previous cupcake was made with matcha (green tea), I have no bias toward or against any of these ingredients. Do not think that using matcha will automatically make your cupcake my favorite. I do not discriminate! =)


Here are the rules…
  • Anyone can enter but international shipping addresses may not be able to receive the prize package from Clara.
  • Create a cupcake using CAFFEINE in at least one component be it the cake itself, frosting, filling, garnish etc. Get creative, people!
  • Post the recipe for your entry on your blog (you must have a blog so that you can host the next month if you win) and then email your name, the link, and the name of the cupcake to me at a.part170@yahoo.com with Cupcake Hero in the subject.
  • Also join the Flickr group and upload 1-2 pictures per entry.
  • Multiple entries welcome but separate email per entry.
  • Deadline will be September 17th September 24th* at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. I will post the roundup on the 20th by the 26th*, followed by voting until September 23rd September 30th*.
  • Readers will pick Finalist #1. I pick Finalist #2.
  • I bake both Finalist cupcakes and assemble a focus group to help me decide the winner to be announced between September 26th and 28th by October 3rd*.
  • Any questions? Email a.part170@yahoo.com
  • For information on prizes, check out http://iheartcuppycakes.com/cupcake-hero/.
*Wondering why the dates are crossed out? See http://insomniacbaker.blogspot.com/2010/09/important-cupcake-hero-announcement.html.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Raspberry Almond Matcha Cupcakes -- for Cupcake Hero: August



    These matcha (green tea powder) cupcakes are rich in flavor, yet light in texture, and not as sweet as most other cupcakes. They have a delicate but very noticeable flavor. The almonds on top bring the flavors of the earthy cupcake and the sweet & tart frosting together very nicely.
    If you like a sweeter cupcake, you will probably want to increase the sugar in the batter to 1 cup and/or decrease the amount of matcha slightly.