Monday, October 4, 2010

Harrisburg Cupcake Cup 2010

This weekend was the 2010 Harrisburg Cupcake Cup, and your favorite infertile crohnie baker entered in the amateur category. Unfortunately I did not win, but I had a damn good time baking all weekend and eating lots of cupcakes. And best of all the event raised almost $1500 for the Central Pa Food Bank!

I made Chai Caramel Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream. I think these may be my favorite of all the cupcakes I have ever made. So for your enjoyment here are just a couple pictures from the event, and don't forget to check out the recipe for my Chai Caramel Cupcakes at the bottom of the post.

Here are my cupcakes. The little pumpkin and leaf are homemade fondant that I spent hours shaping into little pumpkins.

Check out all the gorgeous cupcakes! The contestants really brought it this weekend, they were all very good!

The crowds were amazing! It was jam packed in the Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

And finally a last shot of my nephew chowing down on one of the cupcakes. He takes his cupcake tasting very seriously.

And here is the recipe:

Chai Cupcakes:
2 cups cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black tea (grind in coffee or spice grinder)
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine all the dry ingredients; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons butter (room temp.)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (room temp.)

Combine sugar and water in a large heavy sauce pan. Use at least a 2 or 3 quart pan. Heat the sugar mixture over medium high heat until it starts to boil. You have to pay close attention once it starts to boil because it will begin to caramelize very very quickly. When the sugar gets to be medium amber in color whisk in the butter and continue to whisk until all the butter has melted. The caramel will bubble A LOT this is why you need such a big pan, otherwise it would all bubble over and make a huge hot mess.

Once the butter has melted remove the pan from heat and count to five. After you count to five slowly pour in the heavy cream while whisking constantly. It will again bubble up a lot. Continue to whisk until the caramel has stopped bubbling and is completely smooth. Let stand in the pan for five to ten minutes then transfer to a glass bowl to continue cooling.

Once the caramel is cooled simply cut out a cone shape in the middle of your cupcakes and fill with about a teaspoon or two of the caramel sauce and top with some vanilla buttercream.

And here is the recipe for Vanilla Buttercream

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