Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cupcakes, Part 3

The third and final round of our Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World recipe-testing challenge ended up being more for fun than anything else. With five of our maximum of six cupcakes chosen, we ended up choosing some to do that seemed interesting, more than anything else. For consideration for the holiday dinner, we repeated the Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe (pictured upper left), and tested out the Toasted Coconut Cupcakes (lower right). For fun, we also tested out the Cashew Cardamom (upper right) and the Pineapple Right-Side-Up (lower left).

The repeat of the Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcakes turned out the same as the first. While it tasted good, the texture was crumbly and the cupcake fell apart when unwrapped. We originally thought that they may have been undercooked, so this time we made sure to keep them in the oven longer. Even so, they still lacked structure. We also tried adding a chocolate ganache to the top as a "fancier" frosting, but found that it overpowered the cupcake. So sadly, as much as we tried to make it work, we decided against including the Mexican Hot Chocolates in the holiday menu.

The Toasted Coconuts were also very good, and thankfully these at least held their structure. While not as overwhelmingly delicious as some of the ones from previous weeks, it was still a good, strong cupcake. We did have to modify the recipe a little (which I will discuss when I post the recipe), but overall it came out well. We decided to give it a little Jewish spin by marketing them as Chocolate Macaroon cupcakes at the holiday dinner, and dressing them up with white and blue star sprinkles.

I was personally a huge fan of the pineapple rightside up cupcakes! They were nice, light, and fruity without being too sweet. We pretty much followed the recipe exactly, and it came out great without any tweaks. The real key, though, is to make sure to underfill the cupcake cups slightly so that there's room for the topping. The up-side to that is the better makes a heck of a lot of cupcakes. I'm almost tempted to throw a 70's-themed party so that we can serve them to people without being too weird or out of place ;-)

My least favorite of the bunch was the cashew cardamom. They were definitely unique, but didn't really stand out as much as I thought they should. Due to an accident in frosting, some of our friends (aka cupcake testers) enjoyed some mis-frosted cashew cardamom cupcakes topped with the Toasted Coconut Frosting. I personally thought it was an odd combination, but two of our friends thought it was amazing. To each his own, I guess!

Anyways, this round concludes our cupcake testing challenge! We have six great cupcake flavors picked out to be served at our holiday dinner, and in addition, we have a few more that we enjoyed but were not chosen for this particular event. Having tested 12 different recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and being impressed by the majority, I'd say that it's definitely a great book to have in your kitchen arsenal! There were many more recipes in that book that I'd eventually like to try out that either seemed too labor-intensive to miniaturize, or weren't particularly holiday-appropriate. I think this is one of the few recipe books I have in which I actually want to try out the majority of recipes!

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