Monday night I participated in the pro division of the Brooklyn Kitchen Third Annual Cupcake Cookoff. Although I did not take home the title, it was more than worth the week long preparation that went into my three entries to meet such cool people and feel the thrill of competition running through my veins for the first time since, I dunno, my JV basketball tournament in 10th grade.
Originally, I planned to make cupcakes that could compete in the exotic flavor category. But two days before the competition I found out that as a pro, I was not eligible for any of the themed categories. I would be competing against 5 other pros in a “may the best man win” battle. I went ahead with my exotic themed cupcakes, which may have been a mistake, since the cupcakes that won–while super yummy–were more traditional.
A crowd favorite, all 3 batches of my Sweet Potato Cupcake with Chai Buttercream, Chocolate Rum Drizzle and Pistachio disappeared halfway through the competition...the first of any of the 5 pro competitors!
My idea for the Sweet Potato Cupcake with Chai Frosting came to me days before the competition. It popped into my head while I was in the shower.
My friend Sara had just come back from India, and the first thing I had grilled her about was chai tea. She told me that the best chai in India is sold by chaiwallas (tea peddlers) on trains. They get on the train when it pulls into the station, sell the tea they just brewed, and get off before the train departs. Continue reading
Posted in Baking, Brooklyn, events, fancy snackery, Recipes, Recipes- Vegetarian
Tagged Baking, Brooklyn, competition, cook-offs, cupcakes, events, Recipes
Fresh Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
I know, I know. Raspberries are about as in-season as thong sandals right now, but my midwinter baking repertoire was in need of some uppers, and I wanted something that would sell fast. And that they did. One lonely cupcake made it to the weekend. Lesson learned: make happy food in January.
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar (almost 1 whole box)
1 cup fresh raspberries, plus more for garnish
½ tsp lemon zest
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a wooden spoon and large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Lower the bowl and add confectioner’s sugar. Slowly raise the bowl back up with the mixer on lowest setting so the confectioner’s sugar does not spill out. The butter will look chunky and dry. Don’t worry, the liquid from the raspberries will smooth it back out. *
Add a handful of raspberries and the lemon zest, and mix briefly until raspberries are broken-up (but drupelets are still visible) and the frosting is thick, pink and creamy. Take care not to over mix (over-mixed frosting will be greasy and grainy). Add more raspberries, as necessary, to get smooth consistency. To be safe, stop the mixer a few seconds after adding raspberries and finish folding by hand.
Frost your cupcakes or cake, or refrigerate frosting in tightly sealed container until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before spreading.
*Don’t go crazy: too many raspberries = too much liquid = runny frosting + Pepto-Bismol color.