Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cupcake Spectacular

Oh cupcakes. To most they will be a reminder of childhood, in which case they either came homemade or grocery-store-bought, with neon pink, sugary icing and blue confetti. They’ve really made a comeback in the past few years, and are now starting to take on interesting flavors (why didn’t people ever think of it before?). Maybe there was no need to stray from the regular vanilla or chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting, I don’t think there necessarily is now, no one can deny its simple American goodness, like brownies or chocolate chip cookies. But now people are having fun with cupcakes.

Before this Cupcake Spectacular, I think the most exciting variations I experimented with my cupcakes was rainbow chip icing (and I think that’s plenty exciting. I’d be eating it right now but a) I cannot get rainbow chip icing in Spain, and b) I would end up like Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her, sitting on the couch eating tubs of it). I also can’t remember the last time I made cupcakes, it might’ve been a while ago, so this is a good excuse to do it. Oh, and another reason I haven’t made them here—I don’t have a cupcake tray. I stuck my cupcake paper holders inside little soufflé dishes.

But as I said, now it’s time to have fun with cupcakes, and expand my horizons. I’m not at the level of Cupcake Bakeshop, but I’m exploring. I’ve done this flavor combination before, I’m sure lots of people have, but that’s probably because it just makes sense: orange and rosemary. It works well together. Orange is easy to get into desserts, but rosemary, that’s another thing. I didn’t want huge hunks of rosemary inside cakey softness, so in came the pestle and mortar. If you don’t have one, find some other heavy equipment or something that will crush it into a powder. I normally go straight for cream cheese frosting, it’s definitely my favorite, but I’m here to try new things, hence white chocolate frosting to accompany my cupcakes.

Rosemary Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting
Vanilla cupcakes adapted from Magnolia Bakery

½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (113.5 g)
1 c sugar (200 g)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/3 c all-purpose flour (167 g)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
½ c milk (118.5 g)
a few rosemary sprigs(dried or fresh, but I think fresh will be stronger), ground to a fine powder with a pestle and mortar
orange flavoring

Preheat oven to 350 F (170 C). Beat butter until soft, then add the sugar and mix together until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and mix between each addition. Mix the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl, then add to the butter mixture and stir well to combine. Now add the milk, mix everything together well. Finally, add a drop or two of orange flavoring, depending on how strong it is, and press the rosemary powder through a fine mesh sieve, and give the batter a final stir to incorporate everything. Fill cupcake holders about 2/3 full and put in the oven until a toothpick comes out almost clean, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool.

White Chocolate Icing

1 stick (½ c) butter, room temperature (113.5 g)
1 ½ c powdered sugar
about ½ c white chocolate, melted (or 100 g)
2 Tbsp milk

First mix butter and powdered sugar together, then add the white chocolate, and depending on what kind of consistency you want, add the milk. Now frost the cupcakes, and decorate with a sprig of rosemary.


Arfi Binsted said...

Oh, I haven't combined herb and chocolate. Interesting! The frosting looks glossy and delicious!

Thanks so much for entering Cupcakes Spectacular 2008, Courtney!


d anything said...

Now, when you say orange flavoring with your funny spelling, I know you mean some of that deliciously powerful pure orange oil made from real oranges, not some artificial abomination, but I reckon you should make that clear to all the folks out there.

Good frosting too, I will admit. There might be more life in cupcakes yet...

Marcia said...

they look lovely! and I wish I could taste them, yummmm

Anonymous said...

Orange, rosemary, and white chocalte...What would Bianchini say?