The Great Cupcake Extravaganza, Part Tasting

2 07 2010

Way back in May, having finally settled into my new kitchen enough to dare attempting a slew of cupcake flavors, I emailed Hope and D. with a list of suggestions.  Here’s what they had to choose from:

Lemon meringue: butter cake flavored with lemon zest, lemon curd filling, toasted meringue top
Key lime-coconut: coconut cake, lime curd filling, toasted meringue top
D. special: chocolate hazelnut financier cake, praline buttercream
Blueberry-lemon: butter cake, lemon curd filling, blueberry buttercream
Blackberry: butter cake or devil’s food cake, blackberry gelée filling, blackberry buttercream  (also works with raspberry)
Chocolate-banana: banana cake, sour cream ganache frosting
Margarita: butter cake flavored with lime and orange zest, tequila buttercream (possible margarita curd filling)
Mojito: butter cake flavored with lime zest, rum syrup, mint buttercream
Strawberry-Champagne: butter cake, strawberry-champagne gelée filling, triple crème or cream cheese frosting

After much deliberation, they let me know their picks: lemon meringue, D. special, blackberry (except they were clever and didn’t specify butter or chocolate cake – way to sneak in an extra flavor!), chocolate-banana, mojito, and strawberry-champagne.

Cupcakes, undressed 
Clockwise from top left: devil’s food cake with blackberry gelée, banana cake, citrus butter cake, chocolate-hazelnut financier, lemon butter cake with lemon curd filling, butter cake with strawberry-champagne gelée, butter cake with blackberry gelée.

Those of you who have been following may have noticed that I didn’t do a post on the fillings.  Here’s why: it would have been about four sentences long.  Make lemon curd.  Freeze.  Let strawberries/blackberries macerate in sugar until juicy.  Purée, stir in melted gelatin, freeze.  (Okay, the strawberry one has an extra step, which is to add the champagne after the gelatin, so the finished gelée  will still have bubbles in it.)

Since that lemon curd is so freaking good, I stuck a whole pyramid of it into the cupcake.  (The gelée-filled cupcakes got half-domes.)  The cupcake then got a blob of pre-buttercream meringue piled on top, and it went into a very hot oven for a quick toast.

The banana cake and the chocolate-blackberry got swirls of sour cream ganache.  Chocolate blackberry also got a rosette of blackberry buttercream, like its brother-from-another-mother, Butter blackberry.  They got topped with a cute whole blackberry apiece.  The plain citrus cupcake got dressed with rum-mint buttercream, and a mint leaf to pretty it up.  The praliné buttercream slipped on top of the financier, and got a sprinkle of praliné crumbs to top it off.  And strawberry-champagne, well, my attempt at making cream cheese icing using half fromage à tartiner and half Délice de Bourgogne was a hot mess.  It tasted great, but it was more soup than icing.  I think it would have worked perfectly had I had some Philly, and fortunately, Hope and D. trusted me.  We tasted that one by spooning the liquid frosting over pieces of the cake, which delivered the desired flavors, if not the attempted look.

Cupcakes, ready to be gobbled up

So what did they think?  I’m pleased to say that they loved them.  The lemon meringue and the D. special were shoo-ins.  But they wanted a third flavor.  Wanting to choose something unusual, banana-chocolate and butter blackberry were eliminated, despite the awesomeness of the ganache on the former and the fruity refreshing qualities of the latter.  So it was down to three.  The second runner-up was chocolate blackberry, the first runner-up was mojito, thus making the winner strawberry champagne!  Against all odds, and a pretty serious handicap!

I took the leftovers (intentionally made leftovers, that is) to a party at Ann‘s later that night.  People flipped over the mojito cupcake and the simple but ever-popular devil’s food cake with sour cream ganache.  So I’m feeling good about this wedding.  Three dozen each of three flavors?  Piece of cake!  (Ha!)  Baking in a borrowed kitchen in Massachusetts in August?  That remains to be seen.

* * * * *

In other news, sometimes when I’m not cooking I like to go to rock shows.  Like last weekend, when I got a free pass to Solidays in Paris.  I wrote about it over on Secrets of Paris, if you’re interested…

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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10 responses

3 07 2010
Hannah

I don’t even know how your friends managed to narrow down that list in the first place! Dear heavens, deliciousness. I definitely would have opted for at least one of the meringue-topped kinds, though. They look so striking… actually, they all do. Wow.

4 07 2010
croquecamille

Hannah – There was much agonizing over the final decision (well, as agonizing as it can be when you’re forced to taste and re-taste cupcakes!). My advice was to chooses what makes them happy, and not to worry about what the guests might want , or trying to please everyone. I like to think it helped!

6 07 2010
Ryan

It’s early in the morning, but I really, really want a cupcake now. The worst part is that I know if I go out and find one, they’ll pale in comparison to the ones you’ve made. Woe is me!

6 07 2010
hungry dog

What an amazing array of choices. I would not have been able to choose just three. They all sound fabulous to me, especially the blackberry butter cake one…for some reason that one really calls to me today!

6 07 2010
croquecamille

Ryan – Your comments always make me smile.

hungry dog – I adore blackberries in the summer – a slice of marionberry pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream is pretty much my ideal dessert!

7 07 2010
Ann

My favorite was the D. Special. Long live the financier!

Thank you for sharing them at our party. xoxo

7 07 2010
croquecamille

Ann – It was my pleasure.

10 07 2010
Jocelyn

Oh my goodness..the presentation of the cupcakes are beautiful and all of the flavors are so creative! Your friends are so lucky to have you baking for their wedding! :)

11 07 2010
croquecamille

Jocelyn – Thank you!

26 08 2010
The Great Cupcake Extravaganza, part Wedding « Croque-Camille

[...] Great Cupcake Extravaganza, part Wedding 26 08 2010 When we last left off, I was pondering the potential difficulties of baking nine dozen wedding cupcakes in a borrowed [...]




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