24 November 2009
Puttin' on the Ritz
A very old friend of the family is in town this week from the US. She has been a very vocal supporter of my blog and my cupcakes over the past year and has always given me lots of good ideas and encouragement. I knew that I could not let her leave Paris without trying some of my cupcakes so I baked up a few varieties and had her and her family over for dinner last night.
Her 11 year-old daughter is just a delight and from what I understand a true gourmande. She loves to bake (I'm hoping to put her to work next times she visits!) and I was told that one of her favorite past-times is watching Food Network with her friends -- clearly a girl after my own heart! The night before our dinner, when I mentioned I was thinking of making a sweet potato cupcake with chocolate chips and marshmallow frosting for their visit, there was a moment of silence and then the reply "Well, we're kind of preferential to chocolate." And from the background, my friend's daughter yelled "how about a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting?" This was vetoed by my friend - I can totally commiserate as I know so well what double chocolate can do to a kid. And so the mandate was either chocolate cake or chocolate frosting but not both.
I decided to bake 3 varieties for our dessert: Rogue cupcakes, my still un-named Christmas cupcake and Hi Hats, which I have been thinking about for a while.
Now I'm really not a fan of Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) or any cooked frostings to be honest. But if you want to get the right height for a Hi Hat and still have an edible cupcake that's not drowning in frosting, SMBC is pretty much the only one that will do the trick. I've been tinkering around with a SMBC recipe for the good part of the past year and I have finally hit upon one that I *really* like...really! And it doesn't involve cream of tartar thankfully which goes on my list of nearly impossible to find items here in Paris.
Ladies & Gents, I give you my Twix Hi Hat Cupcake. It's a caramel swirled vanilla cupcake with bits of golden biscuit and chocolate chopped up inside, topped with a caramel SMBC and melted semi-sweet chocolate. I just love the way these look cut in half and I ended up eating an entire one of these after a 3-course meal! My friend's daughter proclaimed them her favorite of the evening too! They are definitely worth the time and effort that goes into them and I'll be playing around with different varieties of these in the weeks to come. Stay tuned....