Diced! Dessert Challenge – Round 3
The Diced! Dessert Challenge continues…
Each participant in round 3 won their first two rounds and is in the final four. For this round, I am allowing the participant to choose a dessert category from the others in their quadrant (theirs, their first round competition, their second round competition and the first round competition of their second round competitor).
I will post a pairing each week on Wednesday and Thursday and open the polls for voting. The polls will be open from Thursday until the following Wednesday (before the next pair posts). The winner of each matchup with the most votes will move on to the next round and the chef will produce another recipe for their new matchup. The overall winner will receive any prizes I can acquire. To date the winner will receive:
- Dodo Book for Cooks
- A beautiful Bamboo Cutting Board with a Butterfly Motif, graciously donated by competitor Lindy (The Kozy Nook)
This week’s pairing is:
Jenee takes on PJ (Jeanette). Today we have PJ from Booze Sugar and Spice brings us some great cupcakes…
1) JC’s (Birdcage Bakeshop) Chocolate Almond Shortbread with Strawberry Balsamic Jam sounded ridiculously good.
2) Cupcakes are suffering from backlash right now. You know that thing that happens when something gets really popular everyone starts to hate it? I believe cupcakes are the latest victim.
I resolved #1 by keeping the recipe close to make for myself very soon. It is strawberry season, you know.
Resolving #2 is the whole reason I entered this competition. Cupcakeries have ruined the simplicity and joy of the humble cupcake. Look, I know paying $6+ for a dried out, flavorless cupcakes with 85 lbs. of toothache inducing sweet frosting is laughable. In my opinion, that toothache better come from breaking my tooth on the chunk of Hope Diamond hidden in the middle. Can I get an amen?
I still love cupcakes, though. For me, baking is better than therapy. Not being able to fit in ones pants, however, requires hours more therapy(and time at the gym). It’s a vicious cycle. In our household, it’s just me and the hubster. Sure I can bake a cake or pie, but what do I do with it once I’ve cut out two pieces? Have you ever tried giving away ‘used’ cake? It’s like trying to sell used underwear at a yard sale. You’re going to get a lot of funny looks and no takers. But a nice, still fresh to you, beautifully frosted cupcake? I can park a windowless van on a street corner in a rough neighborhood and strangers will take them from me, eat them and (the best part) smile.
Cupcakes are just small cakes with endless cake, filling and frosting combinations. These chocolate tiramisu cupcakes are just one example. And a WONDERFUL example, at that.
Before we get to the cupcake, though, remember in my last competition post I said chocolate makes you fat? Well, I did some further research on the internet. I found out chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a tree. That makes it a plant. Chocolate is salad. Eating salad is GOOD for you. *
* Once again, this statement is completely biased and unfounded. I’m trying to win a competition here.
Today I’ve taken the traditional Italian dessert tiramisu, which is usually made with espresso soaked lady fingers, custard, mascarpone cheese and cocoa, and turned up the volume A LOT.
First off, I start with a dark chocolate Kahlua cupcake, freckle it with dark chocolate covered cocoa nibs (pieces of roasted cocoa beans) and soak it down with not just espresso, but also blackstrap molasses rum. It’s then topped with a mascarpone and whipped cream frosting which also includes espresso and rum.
That’s right, I brought out the big guns for this round. I’m telling you, I like almost all of the cupcakes I make, but these are by far the best cupcake I’ve ever made or tasted. No contest.
Chocolate Tiramisu Cupcakes
(makes 18 cupcakes)
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 ounces extra dark chocolate, melted and cooled ( I used 72% cacao)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon (4.5 liquid ounces) canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup Dutch process cocoa
½ cup Kahlua
3/4 cup dark chocolate covered cocoa nibs
Espresso Syrup (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line muffin tins with liners.
Cream the butter and the sugar until the mixture resembles wet sand.
Add in your cooled, melted chocolate, mix. Add in eggs and egg yolks one at a time, mixing after each to combine. Next add in canola oil, vanilla extract and sour cream. Scrape down sides of bowl, as needed.
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder.
Add in one-third of the flour mixture, mix. Next, add in half of the Kahlua, mix. Repeat this process so you end with the last third of the flour mixture.
Fold in the cocoa nibs.
Fill liners 2/3 full and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes in pans for less than 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.
Get ready to make a mess! Using a pastry brush or squeeze bottle soak tops of cupcakes with Espresso Syrup. You’ll make several passes for each cupcake to use it all.
5 oz (5 standard shots) of espresso
3 Tablespoons dark rum (I used Cruzan Blackstrap Molasses Rum)
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
Combine espresso, rum and brown sugar in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Reserve 3 Tablespoons of syrup for frosting.
12 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons Espresso Syrup
1 cup of powdered sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 – 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
Beat mascarpone cheese until light and fluffy. Add in Espresso Syrup and powdered sugar until combined.
In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. I always stick my bowl and beaters in the freezer to chill them.
Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone cheese mixture.
Frosted cooled cupcakes.
Dust tops of cupcakes with cocoa powder.
Unwrap, shove in your cakehole and remember you can share if you want, but it’s not required. Elastic band yoga pants and maxi dresses are all the rage right now, anyway.
Until next time, stick a cupcake in your cakehole!