Monday night Blondie and I hit up the Third Annual Brooklyn Kitchen Cupcake Cookoff at Union Pool where we were joined by my awesome beyond belief college roommate, Michilicious, who with her intrepid friend, Laura, helped me haul 5 dozen cupcakes from midtown to Williamsburg. As promised this year's event was bigger and better--woohoo for the awesome outside space! Twice as many contestants entered and this time there was even a professional category. Here's our photo rundown of the event plus my Java Jolt recipe--it involves offee, chocolate and booze in cupcake form--yes, it's the other breakfast of champions...
So many cupcakes, so little time. The hardest thing about participating in these cookoffs is that you really don't have as much time to schmooze and snarf the excellent samples made by your competition. It's kind of like the whole "you don't eat at your own wedding" sort of thing. Not surprisingly I found time to eat at my wedding, but I do still regret that I didn't get more cake... But back to the competition...there was lots of it. And very stiff competition, too, I might add.
Chef Indira Wiegand won the professional category with her petite cupcakes. She rocked two varieties for the competition: carrot cake with ginger cream cheese frosting and candied ginger and almond cake filled with lemon curd topped with lemon buttercream.
Here are some other awesome cupcakes we encountered:
These were a winner in the exotic decoration category. Nice work!
The King definitely had a showing at the competition, and by King, I do mean Elvis Aaron Presley. Yes, Elvis cupcakes were out in full force. I actually thought about dusting off my own Elvis recipe that I created for Rachel from CTTC's birthday for the competition, but after being one of three bacon apple pies at the Apple Pie Contest at Enids and of course following on the heels of the Bacon Takedown, bacon trend plus cupcake trend didn't not seem like a sound recipe for the win. And I was half right. While Kate Brown's Elvis did take the popular vote (score one for the King!), her cupcake was of the non-bacon Elvis variety. That said it did include fried banana bits and a Southern Comfort frosting--something I think the King would have highly approved of. Here's a snap of the People's Choice:
Speaking of Elvis Cupcakes. Check out these lovelies from Robicelli's Gourmet Market:
I had a chance to chat with Allison and Matt Robicelli about their cupcake creations and I was so, so impressed by them. Where to start? They are proprietors of Robicelli's, a Mom and Pop Gourmet Market in Bay Ridge, pastry chefs by trade and parents of two kids under two. And they make cupcakes. All sorts of fabulous cupcakes in intensely involved small batches.
Their tiramisu cupcake involves a mind boggling amount of prep work--hours and hours worth. These are no mass produced factory cupcakes. And they go for $2.50 a pop--a steal by New York fancy cupcake standards.
You can read about Matt and Allison's "Cupcake Wars" on Cupcakes Take the Cake. Check out an in depth review of some of their offerings at Feisty Foodie. I hope to make a trip out to check out their shop soon.
As for my entry, this year I decided to venture into new cupcake territory with what I alternately called my Java Jolt or Mocha Mudslide. Being the relative non drinking partner here at B&B, I didn't really understand that mudslides generally involve Bailey's and this recipe doesn't, but as a name Mocha Mudslide is especially alliterative and easier to remember...eh, call them whatever you want. Here's the recipe:
Java Jolt Cupcakes
2 cups of unbleached white flour 1 teaspoon of baking soda 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 3/4 cups strong freshly brewed coffee 1/4 cup dark rum 8 ounces of unsweetened chocolate 1 cup butter 2 cups sugar 2 eggs lightly beaten 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 275
Line cupcake pans with 24 paper liners.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Heat the coffee and rum on low heat until warm. Add the chocolate and butter to coffee and rum mixture then stir until butter and chocolate are melted. When mixture is completely smooth, slowly add in the sugar while stirring. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool for several minutes and then transfer to to the bowl of a stand mixer. Slowly add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture beating after each addition and scraping down the sides until batter is smooth. Then add the eggs and vanilla and beat until just incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake pans and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the tops of the cupcake are springy to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes or until set, then remove from the pan. Cool completely before frosting.
1 cup butter, softened 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (or to taste) 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee 1/2 lb very dark chocolate (I use Trader Joe's 72% dark Belgian Chocolate) 1/4 cup whisky (or to taste)
In a double boiler melt dark chocolate then remove from heat for a few minutes to allow to cool slightly. Cream together butter and sugar. When mixture is smooth add in vanilla, whisky and coffee. When smooth, add in cooled melted chocolate. Mix together until smooth. Frost cupcakes when cooled completely. This frosting is primarily butter, sugar and chocolate. If you refrigerate it, the frosting will set like chocolate. If you aren't going to frost your cupcakes right away, I suggest refrigerating the frosting in a microwaveable contain and then when you are ready to frost, toss the bowl in the microwave for a minute or two on a low setting--warm or defrost work well for me and watch it like a hawk. Depending on your microwave it may take a minute or longer. Basically you just want to thaw the frosting so it's spreadable--not warm or melty.
Please note, this is the first and ONLY time I've made these cupcakes. The cake recipe definitely worked for me in the several batches I made for the competition. I generally make my frosting recipes to taste, so please don't take my frosting measurements as gospel. I favor a less sweet frosting, so I usually add less sugar than most other bakers. Same with the coffee. I like coffee to be strong, so I might use more than another baker. Follow your tummy.
I didn't win or place this year, but I'm pleased with how my cupcakes turned out and I was excited to see that they made Linnea Covington's write up! Thanks, Linnea! I wish you had said hi when you tried the cupcakes! Any way, I bake to make people happy and it was nice to put lots of smiles on lots of faces last night.
Thanks very much to Taylor Erkkinen and everyone at The Brooklyn Kitchen for all of their hard work putting together this excellent event. The money raised through the voting process went to the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen, which is a win for everyone.