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.
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.
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.
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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.