Posts Tagged ‘NYT’
And we’re back. Per my post from earlier this week, I was tasked with developing recipes for a couple of the cupcakes mentioned in this NYT article. While I was kind of captivated by the “Blind Date” cupcake–by name alone, really–the request was for pomegranate cupcakes and for halva cupcakes.
And, though I’m not a huge fan of halva itself, I think the resulting cupcakes are pretty good. They carry the scent and flavor of nuts and sesame with a hint of warm spice, and while the cake is nicely moist, the almond flour and tahini gives it an authentic touch of grit. The saffron buttercream was slightly less successful, being rather pale in color and flavor. The textural contrast between the cake and the buttercream is really delightful, though, so maybe I just need to find a better way to extract color and flavor from the saffron.
While I’d totally missed this article in last week’s Times highlighting the success of several cupcake entrepreneurs who’ve succeeded in bringing the overexposed treatlet to the Middle East, a friend pointed it my way with some subtle hinting. (This happens a lot.) Like many of the article’s commenters, she was taken with the idea of cupcakes that incorporated the flavors of the region but bemoaned the piece’s lack of recipes. Of the many interesting cupcakes mentioned, she’d gotten stuck on two in particular: a “Pink Velvet” made with pomegranate and another unhelpfully described as a “halva cupcake”.
Well, I love a challenge, so here we are. Though I kind of loathe red velvet cake, the radioactively colored, curiously flavorless, and chokingly moist cupcake du jour here in D.C., a pomegranate-hued and flavored version seemed much more appealing, if only for the omission of gross amounts of Red 40. I turned, naturally, to Rose and The Cake Bible for a basic white cake. Using only whites instead of whole eggs, the pale crumb would better reveal the pomegranate’s color. Topped with a cream cheese frosting and a drift of pomegranate seeds, I’d have a flavorful, colorful, pink velvet cupcake for the diva in all of us… that was the idea, at least. Using both pomegranate juice and pomegranate molasses in the batter resulted in cake with a noticeable fruity tang and a seductive, orchardy scent. The color, however, was a somewhat disappointing beige. So, you could… I suppose… add a bit of food color. The cake is plenty delicious, though, and the simple cream cheese frosting complements the cake’s bright flavor.
I’ll get to the halva cupcakes–with saffron buttercream–later this week.