Glikk sent me over the edge! No more goofy letters!
Glikk sent me over the edge! No more goofy letters!
I’m on staycation for 2 weeks, which would be the PERFECT time to plow through a few letters…
Unfortunately, I’m trying to lose some weight and having scads of cupcakes around is not compatible with that goal.
I am brainstorming some flavors, though…
Glikk, Nuh, Snee, Jogg and Spazz are conceptualized. I just have to get back to work so I have someone to eat them all!
Floob: seems like it should be filled and have a fluffy icing…but I have no idea about the flavors.
Zatz: all I can think of is bagels…so cream cheese icing on something
Quall, Thnad, Flunn, Itch, and Vroo: No idea! Comments needed desperately…
So…I guess while sitting overnight, the sugar crystals must have dissolved in the frosting. The frosting today was creamy and sweet. I got some rave reviews.
I’ll just say at the onset that I’m not very happy with this letter. I could see the potential in it…fennel is a little licorice-y…chocolate covered licorice is popular…but it didn’t translate into delicious…
I’ll tell you about it anyway…
I made a fennel cake using the same cake recipe I did for the plum cake for “WUM”, just using pureed fennel instead. The batter wasn’t heavy on fennel flavor, so I heated a little milk with some fennel seeds, whirred it with the immersion blender, then strained out the solids. It helped. The cake is fine on it’s own.
I found a whipped fudge icing that ultimately wasted a lot of ingredients…it turned out extremely sweet but bitter at the same time, if that’s possible. It’s also very grainy. I’m not even going to reference it. Before making this, I tried to find the recipe I used previously for the fudge filling in my Drumstick cupcakes. It never dawned on me, until I just made that link, that I posted the recipe!
Mr Shuck thinks it overpowers the delicate fennel flavor of the cake. I agree.
I garnished with some candy coated fennel seeds that I got at the Indian grocery.
On top of all this…I’m not happy with my photos! What’s wrong with the white balance? Some days are just like this. I hope I can get rid of all these cupcakes at work tomorrow…
So far On Beyond Zebra has inspired 4 successes and one fail. I’m still at a B average.
I have to thank Mr Shuck for this flavor. He suggested hummus, although as a joke. He reaped what he sowed though as this was his dinner…
I did a fast soak…boiled for 5 minutes then let them sit for an hour. Half of the chickpeas went into the food processor for the falafel. The other half went into the pressure cooker to become hummus. (Cooked at high pressure for 15 minutes, then quick-release of pressure.) I usually DO cook dried chickpeas when I make hummus. It’s less expensive and I don’t have to worry about the BPA in the cans. In the pressure cooker, it takes about an hour to bring the pressure up, cook at high pressure for 40 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally. If I’m in a hurry though, I’ll use canned. It’s still cheaper to use canned than buy prepared hummus.
While the rest of the chickpeas were cooking I made the “cakes” using Mark Bittman’s Baked Falafel recipe. I didn’t have fresh parsley or cilantro, so I used some dried. (The were definitely missing the nice green color and some of the flavor.) Instead of making them into patties..
To make the hummus, I combined the following in the food processor:
I pureed this until smooth, adding a little water at a time to achieve the right consistency, which I kept a little thicker than usual so I could pipe it like icing.
These will not be going to work. I’m sure no one there is all that disappointed. The falafel was a little dry on it’s own, perhaps because of the missing fresh herbs for moisture or due to over cooking. With the tahini sauce, they were fine. It was a nice addition to our frequent dinner of hummus and vegetables.
“Humpf” is conceptualized! It will be savory. Stay tuned!
The next letter in Dr Seuss’ book, On Beyond Zebra is “UM”.
The first flavor that came to my mind, was umeboshi plum, which I just used in “WUM”. I decided on “Umbrella Drink” and my favorite umbrella drink…Pina Colada.
The above photo is how I’ve always seen a Pina Colada presented, so I thought the 3 garnishes (paper umbrella, pineapple and maraschino cherry) were important details. There are only 3 ingredients, so it seemed a simple flavor to replicate.
For my first attempt at this letter, I thought I’d try making this recipe PALEO. The main reason is that my friend, Mrs Chen, is currently eating PALEO and her birthday was last week, so I thought I’d kill two birds and make a cake that she could eat. While she did like the cake, Mr Shuck spit it out. It tasted a lot like pineapple quiche: not a great taste. It contained: pineapple, almond flour, coconut milk, eggs and baking soda. It needed sugar. Lots of sugar. And less eggs. I didn’t attempt an icing since it was so horrible.
It took a week for me to get another chance to try again. My first stop was to the party store to pick up the umbrellas…$5 for 175! If anyone who knows me needs paper umbrellas…
I followed a recipe for pineapple cake that I found at Tidymom.net. I substituted a splash of rum instead of vanilla extract and ended up adding more pineapple because the batter didn’t have a lot of flavor. I ended up with 48 mini cupcakes, (which I baked for about 14 minutes) and 6 regular size (which I baked for 22 minutes). The cakes browned nicely, but rose a little “lumpily”…
I guess the lumps add character.
For the icing…I used whipped coconut cream. I originally found the idea for this when I was searching for a PALEO friendly icing. I used a conglomeration of suggestions from a couple of websites. I started with 2 cans of coconut cream from Trader Joe’s.
I put the coconut cream in the refrigerator overnight so the fats would solidify. I turned the cans upside down before opening them and drained off the coconut water that was on top of the cream (really on the bottom of the cans). I wanted to make sure that the icing stayed stable all day, so I added some WhipIt, which is essentially just corn starch and dextrose.
I also added about 4 tablespoonfuls of evaporated cane juice (sugar) and 1-2 tablespoonfuls of vanilla bean paste (I didn’t measure, I just dumped some in.) Then, I whipped the heck out of it until it was nice and fluffy. It turned out to be thick enough to pipe. I did end up with a couple of solid lumps of coconut, which clogged up the icing tip, but were easily picked out with a toothpick.
I was a little hesitant to use maraschino cherries since they are usually artificially colored, but fortunately, I came across some at the grocery store that didn’t contain dye.
For the pineapple slices, I used dried pineapple rings from Trader Joes that I cut into sections with pointed ends and shoved into the cake.
The end result…
Now…what to do for “HUMPF”?!?!?!
So…the 2nd letter of Dr Seuss’ alphabet from On Beyond Zebra. Finally. It took 2 attempts.
The “Um” wasn’t difficult for me. I always have umeboshi plum paste in my frig. Finding a compatible W flavor was hard. Watermelon doesn’t have any flavor beyond “sweet” when it’s cooked, so that wouldn’t work. White Chocolate. Wasn’t feeling it. I decided to go with wasabi since it was also an Asian flavor. The umeboshi plum is sour and salty and I thought the sharp earthy taste of wasabi would complement it.
The cake turned out quite good. I used a puree of plums and prunes (for color).
After mixing all the other ingredients together, I added umeboshi plum paste until it was a little overly salted.
The saltiness wasn’t as pronounced after the cakes were baked. The plum puree made them very moist and not overly sweet.
I didn’t want a sweet icing so thought I’d go with a mascarpone frosting. 1st mistake. I also added too much wasabi. 2nd mistake. Wasabi powder seems to take awhile to develop it’s flavor. I couldn’t taste the wasabi at all then suddenly it was overpowering. It also curdled the mascarpone. Gross.
It took a couple of weeks, but I tried again. This time, I used white chocolate ganache and added a very small amount of wasabi powder.
The ganache is incredibly sweet due to the sugar content of the white chocolate I used and I think it has a little bit of a throat itch quality from the wasabi. If the wasabi isn’t pronounced enough, I can call them White Chocolate Plum instead.
This flavor took some time to acquire the ingredients and 2 tries…
I first attempted to purchase Yuzu juice the day before the Super Bowl. Since yuzu is an Asian fruit, I went to the Asian supermarket, Uwagimaya, in Bellevue to find some YUZU juice. Unfortunately, some nice lady was serving some sort of Yuzu cocktail at her Super Bowl party and purchased all 6 bottles the store had in stock about an hour before I arrived. Baking postponed…
A couple of weeks, I tried the Uwagimaya in the International District and was successful in my quest for Yuzu juice. I also purchased a jar of yuzu marmalade, just as a back up.
On my first attempt, I used the Yuzu juice in my cake. I reduced the juice a little bit to make it more concentrated and used it to replace the milk in the cake recipe. When I tasted the batter, it didn’t seem overly strong, so I added a little more. As the cupcakes baked the flavor must have intensified as when I tasted the baked cake, it was extremely tart…almost like a sour candy. I think the acidity adversely affected the crumb of the cake as well as the resulting texture was very grainy, almost like a cornbread. I was hoping to balance out the flavor with a sweet icing and I attempted my vanilla soymilk “gravy” icing, but was unsuccessful. I hadn’t baked in awhile and the icing didn’t turn out very good. It was runny and grainy. I ended up taking the cakes to work with no icing and left a container of the runny icing goo nearby for people to ice their own.
When I was complaining about the sourness of yuzu, one of my managers suggested that Salted Caramel would make a nice contrast to the tart fruit. I found a cooking website that suggested sweet or salty flavors would help balance out overly sour tastes, so I decided to use her suggestion. I wanted to keep with the Asian feel and thought that Miso would provide an interesting salty flavor to the caramel.
On my second attempt at Yuzu cake, I used the yuzu marmalade instead of the yuzu juice. The resulting cake had a mild citrusy grapefruit-like flavor, which was intensified when actually biting into one of the pieces of yuzu zest from the marmalade. The texture was light and not at all granular.
I made a caramel and added a couple of tablespoonfuls of white miso after it was complete. After it had cooled, I added some to an Italian meringue butter cream. The miso flavor was very light but distinctive. I thought the flavors went well together. Yuzu Miso= YUM.
I have a new project! A new alphabet! One of the doctors at the clinic where I work occasionally suggested that I create cupcakes based on Dr Seuss’s book On Beyond Zebra. I thought that was a brilliant idea, so thanks to Dr Chris Vincent!
The new letters are:
I have some ideas for each letter, but suggestions are welcome. There’s currently a poll for WUM up on The Cupcake Addict’s Facebook page.