Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cupcake Challenge, Recap!

So, for the final recap of the great Cupcake Challenge for 2010, I'll list a summary of the challenges we did and the outcomes! We tested a total of 12 cupcakes recipes with their respective frostings, as well as a few other alternate frosting/cupcake options. We chose 6 to be featured at our holiday dinner, but the overall quality of the recipes was so high that I'm sure we'll repeat some of the other recipes on other occasions. All the recipes we tried were courtesy of a pretty amazing little book called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Round 1
In the first round, the overall favorite was the Maple Walnut Cupcakes and was given an instant pass onto the holiday menu. The Cookies & Cream lacked a wow factor, and the Mexican Hot Chocolate fell apart, but both were good enough to be placed on the "maybe" list if we could modify the recipes to try to correct each of their shortcomings. The Dulce Sin Leche cupcake was also a good recipe, but fell short in terms of living up to expectations. It was not chosen for the holiday menu.

Round 2
Three out of the four tested recipes were spectacular and automatically made it to the holiday menu: Apple Cider, Gingerbread, and Pistachio Rosewater. Only the Chai Latte did not make the cut. However, it was still a good cupcake, and although similar in appearance to the Mexican Hot Chocolate, it held its shape well.

Round 2.5
The Pumpkin Chocolate Chip was a surprise menu item choice. It had not even been selected to be tested or considered for the holiday party; it just seemed serendipitous that I needed to get rid of an open can of pumpkin and used this recipe to do so. The results exceeded my expectations, and this cupcake became one of my favorites despite its simplicity.

Round 3
For final challenge, we repeated the Mexican Hot Chocolate, hoping our previous problem had been due to undercooking. This was not the case, as the same crumbling, lack of structure occurred. The cashew cardamom was unremarkable and pineapple rightside up recipe was light and refreshing; however, neither recipe was in serious contention since they didn't fit with the holiday theme. The Toasted Coconut was good enough to receive a pass, and became the Jewish-inspired dessert of the evening, being dubbed as Chocolate Macaroon cupcakes on the recipe.

Holiday Dinner Cupcake Menu
Apple Cider with Caramel Glaze and Apple Buttercream Frosting
Chocolate Macaroon with Toasted Coconut Frosting
Gingerbread with Lemony Buttercream Frosting
Maple with Creamy Maple Frosting and Sugared Walnuts
Pistachio Rosewater with Rosewater Buttercream Frosting
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipes That Were Not Chosen
*I may post some of these recipes, especially if we decide to do them for another occasion*
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Cookies & Cream
Dulce Sin Leche
Chai Latte
Pineapple Right Side Up
Cashew Cardamom (popular with Toasted Coconut Buttercream)

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