Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lamington Cupcakes

Through the BloggerAid-Changing the Face of Famine View and Review program, I was delighted to receive a book called The Craft of Baking.

This really beautiful book, inside and out is truly a divine piece of work by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox. (can you tell I really love this book) Appreciation goes out to Clarkson Potter/Publishers and Random House Canada who have made this book available to us. The authors are both very accomplished; Karen DeMasco is known as the pastry chef of Tom Colicchio's Craft, Craftbar, and "witchcraft restaurants" from 2001 - 2008 and also a James Beard Award winner. Mindy Fox is the food editor of the magazine La Cucina Italiana and a former editor at Saveur.

.... and so starts my story of THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

During the BACFF Culinary Olympics I was very drawn to Adele of Will Work for Biltong's Lamington Cupcakes. Typically an Australian cake I had starred it for "must try" and in cupcake form - oh yes. Well...when I received The Craft of Baking and saw the very same cupcakes on the front cover it read to me like a romance novel.

The book is really well laid out and offers a good amount of information and tips on ingredients and how to use them for maximum result. The recipes are truly easy to follow with photography by Ellen Silverman that is nothing short of brilliant.

I was fixated on trying the Lamington Cupcakes. And so started my journey of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Well, the day did start off on a very happy note - I had the recipe, the ingredients and the time to prepare. These three things are not always lined up.

Cupcake Lamingtons

Coconut Coating
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

1 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for the muffin tin
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, very soft, plus more for the muffin tin.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out, bean and seeds removed
1/2 cup whole milk
4 large egg whites

Chocolate Glaze
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 300 F
Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake until it's lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, let the coconut cool completely and then transfer it to a wide shallow bowl.

Increase the oven temperature to 350 F. Butter and flour a standard 12 cup muffin tin.

For the cupcakes: In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, vanilla extract and vanilla bean and seeds on medium-high speed until light and fluffy - about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the milk and the flour mixture alternating in three additions each scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary to ensure that the mixture is well combined. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into a large bowl. Remove the vanilla bean from the batter, and rinse and reserve it.

Clean and dry the bowl of the electric mixer well. Add the egg whites, and using the whisk attachment on medium speed, beat to soft peaks, about 4 minutes. In three additions, fold the whites into the batter.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling the cups about three-quarters full. Bake rotating the tin halfway through until the cupcakes are lightly golden and a tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Invert the cupcakes onto a wire rack, turn them top side up, and let them cool completely.

For the glaze: set a wire rack on a baking sheet
In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar and salt. Add 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp water and the vanila, and whisk to combine.
Dip 1 cupcake into the glaze turning to coat the entire cupcake. Immediately roll the cupcake in the toasted coconut, covering the entire cupcake. Transfer the cupcake to the wire rack to let the glaze set up; this will take about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.

The cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
The recipe is good - I must have been seriously distracted when I made them (the first time)


UGH...not very impressive but at least I know what I did wrong.
My bads:
1. I had both cake flour and all-purpose flour on the counter - I accidently mixed the two together.
2. My egg whites were from a carton that I use for my egg white omelettes in the morning and a little on the cool side. The soft peaks never materialized and was more watery than peaky (I should have known better)
3. When I was setting up my stand mixer I accidently fitted the whisk attachment instead of the paddle attachment so the whole cupcake batter was whisked and not paddled. Now that was dumb of me. I realized it too late and thought - well maybe it'll work .... NOT

I was determined and decided to remake the batch and this time focus on what I was doing. This part is:


Looking better already wouldn't you say.... et voila....success

These are out of this world delicious and have the "Teenage Seal of Approval" from my niece and nephew who made sure that there were no leftovers - not even crumbs.

Then came THE UGLY

While glazing the second batch I could hear water running. I had easy listening music on and just thought it was a waterfall spa type song. When I walked into the other room, it was no song... my bedroom and entire 50% of my condo was raining from the inside.

Apparently a water pipe burst one flight up from me with nobody at home and really, where is water to go but down. Although these aren't wonderful pictures, I guess you can get an idea. I'm not thrilled, have no control over it, will simply have to go with the flow - or take off to visit Psychgrad in Ottawa.

How interesting - it's raining through the light fixture in my shower.

It's a little tough to see but there's a fair amount of water on the laminate flooring and it's now starting to buckle. Charming.

This is the ceiling that runs across my bedroom - the texture is more on the floor than the ceiling now.

So, not knowing whether to laugh, cry or just throw up, I ate a Lamington Cupcake and decided that this too shall pass. All is good with the world. Get the cookbook - it's so worth having in your collection. StumbleUpon


kat said...

Oh my how awful! Now who covers all those repairs in a condo?

giz said...

A very interesting question - I actually now know the answer - The Condo Corporation's insurance covers the walls, ceilings, electrical, plumbing and floors. My insurance covers contents. It's pretty black and white. The bad news is I still have to pay a deductible - ugh

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul said...

I love lamingtons and this cupcake version will be def reproduced by yours truly! Sorry to hear about the condo and the water damage...ugh!

Joan Nova said...

oh, dear...I feel for you. You've got a great attitude and did the only thing you could do...eat! And I hope drink!

Bellini Valli said...

I hope that copious amounts of tequila were consumed along with the cupcakes. It will all get straightened out after this disaster and I hope for your sake very soon!!!!!!

Happily Losin' It said...

So sorry about your flood. My favourite comment when things like this happen(to me or to someone else) is "At least nobody died". I hope the repairs are over quickly and painlessly.

michelle@TNS said...

lamington...what a distinguished-sounding cake.

i'm sorry about your water damage! i feel your pain, i've got a 4-foot gash in my ceiling from a freak water-heater explosion. i wish i'd had one of these cupcakes when it happened!

Patty said...

Ohmygoodness! I seriously would have hit the roof with that leak in my house! Good for you for keeping your cool. The very best thing would be to just laugh it off - otherwise, you might feel like jumping out a window! On the flip side, your cupcakes are gorgeous! Just like the cover on the book! Thanks for showing the 'ugly' cupcakes...sometimes it is nice to know I am not the only one making terrible mistakes in the kitche!!!

giz said...

Thank you all for your kind words. I did what any sane person would do - I packed up my dogs and came to visit Psychgrad. I know it only delays the inevitable but at least I can think without feeling like I'm in the midst of chaos. I keep thinking if I feel this displaced, what about Haiti or Katrina? It's just a motivator to do the right thing.

Ruth Daniels said...

Ouch! At least you get to munch on some tasty cupcakes to reduce the stress. Hopefully by the time you read this, things have dried up.

elra said...

Oh dear, sorry about that water dripping inside your home. Good that you had this pretty cupcakes to cheese you up.