This month I participated in the Iron Cupcake Earth competition. The challenge: incorporate basil into a cupcake. Did I succeed? I think so! Basil is an ingredient that immediately makes me think of savory dishes, especially pasta. So, I had to let my mind stretch a little to come up with a creative solution. I think I may have eased myself into this competition by taking the easy way, paring citrus and basil. After some back and forth about certain details of the cupcake, I decided on a strawberry pound cake with a lemon-basil curd filling topped with a lemon meringue frosting. For garnish, I candied my own lemon peel and finished it off with a fresh basil leaf. They were very good! The basil was subtle, yet it added a nice complexity to the cupcake. My perspective on the uses of basil is forever changed!
While this challenge is mostly for fun, it is a competition! I could win the following AWESOME prizes:
ETSY artist METAL SUGAR, her link is:http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=14597777
HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS http://www.fiestaproducts.com ,
HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson,http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com
JESSIE STEELE APRONShttp://www.jessiesteele.com
TASTE OF HOMEhttp://www.tasteofhome.com.
So, VOTE FOR ME by going to http://mkecupcakequeen.blogspot.com between September 28th and October 1st!
You can make these too! Here's the recipe:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted cake flour
3 cups sugar
7 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
Sift together sifted flour (3 cups) and salt into a bowl. Repeat sifting into another bowl (flour will have been sifted 3 times total).
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour, then all of cream, then remaining flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down side of bowl, then beat at medium-high speed 5 minutes. Batter will become creamier and satiny. Mix in fresh strawberries.
Spoon batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 15-18 minutes in 350 F oven until golden and a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in cupcake pan.
5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, zested and juiced
1 stick butter, cut into pats and chilled
1-2 tablespoons fresh basil
Add enough water to medium saucepan to come to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Measure citrus juice and, if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup. Add juice, zest, and basil to egg mixture and whisk smooth. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon. Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Remove to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Place sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
You can get in on the action too, by following my iron cupcake link to the right!