Tuesday, May 27, 2008

And the Winner is....

Me, hopefully. Well I've gone ahead and sent in my entry to the "Miss American Cupcake Contest." Entry deadline is May 31st, so it may be a while before the state winners are announced. I'm guessing that once the recipes are received they will need to be tested out and baked. Depending on the number of entries, it could be weeks before I know anything. I know my recipe and photo definitely has prize-winning potential, but still--better keep my fingers crossed.

After my less than stellar results with the Cajun Cake recipe, I decided to go with a gateau de sirop (syrup cake) recipe. It kind of hit me in one of those "why didn't I think of this to begin with?" kind of moments. Gateau de sirop is a very traditional, very popular and beloved cake here in Cajun Country, where sugarcane fields abound. And it's really only properly made using Steen's Cane Syrup, produced locally in Abbeville, Louisiana. I myself have never eaten a syrup cake, nor have I tasted Steen's Syrup before developing this recipe, but I'm really glad I did. The cake itself is reminiscent of gingerbread-- only softer, springier, and more moist, with less of a gingery kick. The cane syrup has a decidedly molasses flavor, but different somehow. I can't explain it, except that it's pretty durn good!

Recipe development was fun, actually. Since I was planning on entering my creation into a contest, I couldn't just use the classic Steen's recipe on their website or any of the others I found online. That would be stealing. My geeky nature prompted me to search out a total of 9 recipes and enter them into Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for comparison. Baking is a tricky science, so making up a cupcake recipe on the fly could only result in disaster. By comparing flour-liquid-egg-syrup ratios and getting an idea of typical ingredient amounts, I was able to take what I thought was best out of the 9 recipes I had to make one that was uniquely my own. Hooray for spreadsheets!

I'm not going to post the recipe here until later, after results are announced. It's pretty long, and this post is already getting too long. Here are some snapshots of the process:

Cupcake mise en place. Sometimes I pretend I have my own cooking show.
Fresh from the oven. I was actually really scared of overflow, as the batter was exceptionally thin and filled the muffin cups pretty high. Luckily, no disasters today... save for one cupcake (not seen in the picture) that was inadvertently smashed by my oven mitt.
Frosting mise en place. For the frosting, I tried to replicate the flavor of a "dollop of whipped cream and drizzle of cane syrup" that is commonly found on gateau de sirop. It's a cooked frosting otherwise known as Mock Whipped Cream. The flavor is gently sweet with a texture that's light, almost ethereal, and lilting on the tongue. If you've ever had a Red Velvet cake with the "other" frosting (as in NOT the cream cheese frosting), then you know what I'm talking about.

I think I did pretty well with the photo of the finished product, don't you think? (Very first picture in this post...scroll back up if you don't believe me.) Now that's what I call one heck of a beauty shot.

1 comment:

  1. I think I need to go through here and look at all of your cupcakes!!