Monday, January 2, 2012

The Oddest Cupcakes I've Ever Made

This post is not going to come with a recipe.

Why, you ask?

Well, cause I haven't quite done with it what I want to yet!  But...these things were just too interesting to keep to myself.

First, a little background:
My friend Jenni and I have been close since she moved into the house on the corner when we were six years old.  Now, we go to college in different states, so we don't get to see a whole lot of each other.  When we do get together, though, we have a blast!  And it almost always involves food.

Last time, we made cupcake lasagnas - miniature lasagnas made with wonton wrappers, which were super cute! - and Annie's cookies and cream cupcakes, which are now some of my favorites.  So this time, when Jen suggested a hang-out geared around cupcake making, I enthusiastically agreed.

She showed me the recipe as soon as we entered her kitchen, and I don't think I've ever been so intrigued:

These were Cardamom Apple White Cheddar Cupcakes with Butter Frosting.

I'll let you contemplate that for a bit.

Yes, there are both apples and cheese in these cupcakes.  They're entirely sweetened with Lyle's Golden Syrup - for those who've never had it, it's like a caramel version of corn syrup.  And the frosting?  It's not your typical frosting - it's essentially sweetened whipped butter!  The original recipe called for an entire pound of butter in the "frosting" and showed it piled up like ice cream on top of the cupcakes.  Yikes!!

We cut the amount of butter in half...we're nowhere near that decadent.
As much as we do loooove butter.

But despite my teensy lingering doubts, I tried one.
And died a little inside.
It was sweet, moist, and didn't taste like a cheese cupcake - which I was a bit worried about.  It had good flavor balance and spice, like the most interesting spice cake ever.  But to me, it was less of a cupcake and a bit more of a muffin, so I came up with a list of things to try for next time.

I want to reduce the oil in them - the original amount called for was a bit excessive and left the cakes a bit greasy.  I'd try reducing the amount of golden syrup in the cake itself too - that stuff is really sweet, so for muffin purposes it'd be a bit much.  More importantly, though, I want to make them as muffins, so I want to try a crumble.  Since the frosting is more of a compound butter than a buttercream, I want to mix it up as I did this time, then reshape it into sticks, wrap it up, and chill it.  Later, I'd cut that golden syrup butter into some flour, brown sugar, and cardamom to make a crumb topping that gets sprinkled over the tops of the muffins before they're baked.

So, thanks to Jenni's rather brilliant idea for a baking experiment, I leave you today with no recipe, but hopefully some curiosity!  I hope to be back later with the muffin version, and I promise I'll tell you how to make those ;)

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