Monday, March 16, 2009

Cupcake FAIL

Sometimes you come across a little gem of fun and you think, "This is the perfect place for me to flex my skillful muscles, be creative, and practice my craft." That's what I thought when I came across this, in celebration of Toronto's 175th Birthday. I brainstormed, consulted friends, took the required trips to the bulk store, and when push-came-to-shove... I procrastinated.

What resulted was me waking up 4 hours before the deadline and slopping together these beauties:

Not my finest work. And honestly, not my worst either. But definitely not something I would say I was ecstatic about. To help explain my motivation, here is the blurb I sent in with the photo:

"With this cupcake I've taken the red velvet cupcake on a detour to Toronto, where it decided to have a change of hue -- to our ubiquitous Toronto blue. Topped with frosty white marshmallow frosting it conjures images of skaters at Nathan Phillips Square, and tastes like a yummy cup of hot chocolate. Enjoy!"

To check out the worthy winners you can go here. Also, congratulations to my friend John who made the honourable mentions list, with probably the most edible looking (and delicious sounding) of all the cupcakes featured on the page, the Mill Street Coffee Porter cupcake! Yum!

So we take this as a learning experience, and note that attention should be given to my decorating, photography and time management skills. But that's what mistakes are for... right? And despite all that, those who ate the cupcakes said that they tasted pretty darn good. I think Toronto would forgive me my mishaps and embrace the tasty-goodness, so to that I say, "Happy Belated Birthday Toronto! Enjoy my mess!"

For those wishing to improve on my cupcake decorating fiasco, here's the recipe I developed, with inspiration from Cupcakes Galore by Gail Wagman:

makes approximately 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2 C all-purpose flour
2 TB cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp each baking soda, salt, vanilla extract, white vinegar
1/2 C unsalted butter
1 1/2 C sugar
2 eggs

1 C plain yogurt
about 1/2 a bottle of blue food dye and 1/4 bottle of red...or whatever you like as my colour was still more teal than I wanted but I gave up in frustration....

Whisk together dry ingredients, set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla, white vinegar and eggs (one at a time) to butter & sugar mixture, combining well. Alternate adding the flour mixture and yogurt, both starting and ending with yogurt. Mix in your food colouring until you reach the desired colour. Spoon into lined muffin tins until about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 F. Remove from oven and let cool completely before decorating.

For the frosting & decoration:

2 egg whites
pinch of salt

3/4 C sugar
1/4 C dark corn syrup (gives a molassesy flavour, but doesn't affect the colour, if you use light corn syrup or a simple syrup I would add a tsp of your choice of flavour while the mixture is whipping.)

sanding sugar
silver dragees

Combine whites, salt, sugar and syrup in a double boiler over simmering water and whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and whip at high speed for 7-10 minutes. A this point you should have stiff peaks, and the frosting should be spread ASAP, before it begins to set and is harder to spread. Decorate with suggested items, or whatever the heck you want!


Jen said...

Yay! You have a blog! With good writing AND food! Gina at her best :)

The Dishwasher said...

Thanks Jen! Let's hope I can keep it up! As you can already see I've been slacking a bit, but I have two potential entries to work on in the next couple of days! Wheeeeeeeeeee!