Optimistically Cautious

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Cooking Chronicles: Neopolitan Cupcakes

I am a perfectionist when it comes to the creation of my dishes, especially with regards to its ultimate appearance – food does, after all, begin with a strong visual connection. In my short time of culinary experimentation, I haven’t yet been defeated by a recipe. I came close to my first yesterday.

For a nice Valentine’s Day treat for my coworkers, I was debating between red velvet cupcakes and a Neopolitan version. I ended up deciding upon the latter, if not only because of the more unusual strawberry-scented icing.

I find that the time estimates given on recipes are a misnomer, or perhaps I am just too slow. I also think the two batters called for threw me for a loop; I couldn’t for the life of me remember if I had added enough flour to the chocolate batch. Thankfully, the cakes themselves turned out okay, and actually, the flavour of the chocolate half was lighter, sweeter, and tastier than Ina’s recipe (I think it has to do with the milk).

As for the icing…it unfortunately fit my pattern of not being able to make an “untested” (read: non-celebrity chef/recognized cookbook affiliated) recipe work for me. It was a complicated one, starting with the heating of four egg whites with sugar (leading to the first catastrophe– note to self: do not use Dollarama glass bowls as a double boiler), then intense whipping with the electric mixer. I think I underbeat the mixture at this stage, halting just before the formation of stiff peaks, and added the butter too quickly. As well, though I do have access to a KitchenAid mixer, I didn’t want to take on the necessary clean up afterwards, so I stuck with the standard egg beaters instead of using the recommended paddle attachment. This was my second error – the mixture, upon addition of the jam, ended up with the consistency of wet whipping cream, and tasted like it too. All that work for what appears to be artificially-flavoured whipping cream. Yes, it was easier to get into the piping bag because it was moist, but squeezed through a star tip, enough liquid was coming through that the “icing” was literally dripping down the sides of the cupcake.

I chose the most presentable cupcakes for my colleagues, topped it off with a mini conversation heart, and gave one each to them this morning. They did enjoy them, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! (And for you romantics out there, you're not alone in your belief of love at first sight.)

Neopolitan Cupcakes

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Blogger How To Eat A Cupcake said...

It's a shame that frosting didn't work out so well for you. It's one of my faves. Don't give up on it though! I promise it's well worth it when you get the hang of it :)

March 26, 2008 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I take the blame for not following your directions more closely anyway; it's mostly my fault the icing didn't turn out :).

April 1, 2008 at 8:33 PM  

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