Monday, May 7, 2012

Cinco de Mayo & the Renaissance Festival

Okay, so I didn't go all out celebrating Cinco de Mayo (I just had some salsa and avocado), nor did I go to the Renaissance Festival (although I have in the past). They just happen to be the inspiration for today's Rawdorable cupcake.

As you know, I like to make my unbaked version of various cupcakes featured on "Cupcake Wars." Therefore, it's no surprise that the flavors and decoration for this cupcake were based on one from the first round (the taste round) of this past Sunday's episode, which highlighted the Renaissance Festival in Southern California.

The cupcake I liked most was the honey cupcake with a cardamom and black pepper custard filling, caramelized top (it was sprinkled with sugar and caramelized with a blow torch) and candied ginger sprinkles. It was garnished with a cinnamon stick "sword" and a flower that this cupcake "knight" was bringing home to his lady.

I stuck with the idea of a "honey" cake, but without actually adding the honey. I think good quality dates tend to taste like honey anyway. I also kept the cardamom and black pepper in the filling, although my base wasn't a custard. Instead, I came up with something simple (a combination of banana, dates, flax and spices) that I thought complimented my alternative topping.

The caramelized top reminded me of the faux "fried" ice cream (banana n'ice cream rolled in flax, coconut flakes and spices) on Lisa's Raw on $10 a Day blog (she always comes up with simply delicious recipes perfect for anyone's budget). I don't know why I didn't try it for Cinco de Mayo, but at least I got around to sampling it only a couple days later.

Anyway, here's how to make this cake and n'ice cream cupcake:

Cake & "Fried" N'ice Cream
Cardamom "Honey" Cupcake
*Makes one Rawdorable n'ice cream topped cupcake, inspired by the Renaissance episode of Cupcake Wars and Lisa's faux "fried" ice cream.
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup cashews (cashews go so well with cardamom)
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. date paste
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. organic raw apple cider vinegar
  • dash of sea salt
  • *cardamom & black pepper filling (1 Tbsp. mashed banana mixed with 1/2 tbsp. date paste, 1/2 tsp. ground flax seed, 1/4 tsp. cardamom and fresh ground pepper, to taste)
  • *"banilla" n'ice cream (in a mini food processor, whip up frozen sliced bananas and vanilla bean seeds. Allow to set in freezer prior to constructing this cupcake)
  • *1 Tbsp. ground flax seed for making the "fried" topping
  • *chopped crystallized ginger (I used some organic orange ginger chews I received in this box), a cinnamon stick and decorative flower for garnish (I used a primrose from my window sill)
In a mini food processor or blender, grind the almonds (you can also substitute some of the almonds for leftover nut pulp from making nutmilk to result in a lighter cake texture) cashews and coconut flakes into a "flour." Remove 1 Tbsp. of the crumbs to reserve for making the "fried" topping, and transfer the "flour" to a bowl.

Next, add the date paste, vanilla, apple cider vinegar and sea salt. Whisk to combine (a whisk helps keep the "batter" fluffier). The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in a dehydrator (although you could if you desire).

Form the batter into a cupcake shape, leaving a melon ball size valley in the center and a small amount to the side to top it off. Fill the cupcake with cardamom & black pepper filling, reserving what doesn't fit for the topping. Add the excess batter to cover the filling, and carefully blend the seams.

Remove the "banilla" n'ice cream from the freezer. Scoop up a rounded mound and place it on top of your cupcake. Frost the n'ice cream with a thin layer of reserved cardamom & black pepper filling, and cover it in "fried" topping (1 Tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with the reserved 1 Tbsp. of almond/cashew/coconut crumbs). Make sure to press the "fried' topping into the n'ice cream, coating the entire surface.

Garnish with chopped crystallized ginger, a cinnamon stick and a flower. Enjoy!


On another note, I had some fun making jewelry this weekend. Most of what I made is for my mother (don't forget Mother's Day is right around the corner), but I did make these earrings for yours truly. So pretty :-)