This time to talk about the 2nd annual Cupcake Camp Montreal. I was at last year's and while it was very successful, nothing could have prepared me for this year's success. I cautiously agreed to participate this year because it took place November 21st, 6 days before my due date, thankfully the kid didn't come early and I was able to honour my commitment. Although I REALLY REALLY wanted to help out and be part of the organization, I thought it would be smarter if I waited until next year. So hit me up for any kind of help you need next year guys! I WILL be bugging you... but this year I stuck to baking only. My submission was Smoked Apple Cupcakes with Maple Cardamom Buttercream. So here goes, the recipe....
The cupcake recipe is partially pilfered from... um... well, uh *sigh* Martha Stewart.
I'm sorry, I know, I know she's built of pure evil, but I'm sure she had nothing to do with it!!! I know A LOT of good people who went on to work for her. It's okay right?
Initially, I smoked the apples whole, but then I realized that peeling them was hell. So, word of advice, peel, core and cut your apples into 8ths or 6ths. It's much easier than trying to peel a smoked apple.
•2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
•2 teaspoons baking soda
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
•1 teaspoon salt
•1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
•1 cups sugar
•1/2 cup demerara sugar
•1/4 cup demerara sugar
•2 large eggs
•1 inch vanilla bean scraped to death
•8 apples (4 yellow delicious, 4 MacIntosh, if possible) peeled, cored, and cut
Start off by putting your apples in a disposable pie pan (or 2) and sprinkle the 1/4 cup of demerara sugar on top. Smoke for 1.5 hours at about 220 degrees. It's best if you do it a few days before because some liquid leaches out of the apples and has a very strong smoky sweet flavour. When you first take the apples out of the smoker, a lot of the smoky flavour is caught in the sugar residue that you won't be able to get into the batter. The apple juices that leach out sort of wash the sugar off the pie plate and you get a smokier flavour in your batter.
(pssst. these are Martha's instructions slightly adapted)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Put butter and both sugars (1/2 cup demerara, 1 cup regular white) into a bowl and mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Coarsely chop apples in a food processo and mix in apples to the wet mixture. Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until just combined.
Divide batter among lined cups, filling halfway; bake until tops are springy to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tins; transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely. (makes 24)
For the icing, I will try to give you the recipe but I really winged it
•1 cup room temperature unsalted butter
•2 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar
•1/4 cup + 2 tbsp REAL maple syrup
•1 tbsp ground cardamom
Whip up the butter with an electric mixer pouring in the maple syrup slowly. It will be clumpy and weird looking. As you sift in the sugar (I did it 1/2 a cup at a time because my hand was getting tired) it will become smoother.
About halfway through, I added the cardamom, mixing on medium speed. Once all your sugar is in and you're satisfied with the consistency, then you can ice your cupcakes.
If you want a stiffer icing, simply add more icing sugar.
Also, something that I will share with you.... I made a test batch... and I didn't find them smoky enough, so I added 1 or 2 dashes of liquid smoke to the icing. It was only for the test batch, but I feel guilty divulging that fact. Anyways, if you need it, liquid smoke will help you out and won't ask for anything in return.
So here's the picture of my finished cakes. Next year I think I'll spend more time on the beauty aspect. But they were tasty : )
So once these were iced and packed up, we brought them downtown to Cupcake Camp Montreal 2010!!
And even though I had a panic attack there, I take that as a good sign. THERE WERE TOO MANY PEOPLE -- bad for sensitive wimps like me, good for the organizers and the charities (Kids Help Phone and La Tablée des Chefs). This year they raised $34,500!!!!
Oh right, the one in the middle. That was the raspberry truffle ice cream cupcake from Bilboquet. That one didn't make it home - partially because it was awesome and partially because of the melt factor. Here's a bad picture of a 'cross section' (AKA after we bit into it) of the ice cream one :)