Thursday, June 14, 2012

A stellar finale

My favorite kind of finale is the one that follows a meal. Of course, I mean dessert. I may be a bit "cupcaked out," but there is always room for dessert. Therefore, I finished my "Cupcake Champions" taste challenge (I decided to take on the challenge of making a Rawdorable cupcake, following the rules of the taste round, from each of the five episodes) with a Giada-inspired dessert in a glass, rather than a cup or cupcake liner.

Basically, it is still in cupcake form, but one that is worthy of being viewed through a translucent glass. The luscious layers were begging to be seen.

In case you missed the "Cupcake Champions" finale, let me fill you in. The theme was Food Network stars, and the taste round involved making a cupcake inspire by either Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis or Alton Brown, and some of the flavors they use in their recipes. As usual, it was hard to figure out all the ingredients on the tables (they tend to highlight only a few and then you get to see what the competitors decide to use), so I had to take some educated guesses.

I've always been a fan of Giada De Laurentiis (I've even made some of her cupcake recipes in the past; I actually have a funny memory of burning the pine nuts I was toasting for the garnish), so I knew right away that she would be my pick. Only one of the competitors selected her, but I loved the lemon, basil and mascarpone cupcake she created. I took that idea and combined it with Giada's Lemon Hazelnut Tiramisu to come up with my version of it. Essentially, it is a Rawdorable take on the tiramisu with the addition of some herbs (I used an herb nutmilk cheese in place of the mascarpone).

Here's a quick play-by-play of how I made it, as I'm slacking off a bit in the blogging department. Jacob is officially off from school for the summer, so I'm making more time for him. Anyway, here's what I did:

Okay, so I don't have a photo of the lemony date puree, so I'll just tell you how I made it. The night before, I soaked 1/4 cup of chopped dates in a 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice. I pureed it this morning to use as the main flavor of this cupcake/lady fingers in this recipe.

To make the lady finger part of the cake, I finely ground 1/4 cup hazelnuts, 1/4 cup oats (you could also substitute quinoa flakes or a combo of more nuts and protein powder) and 1 Tbsp. Sunwarrior Warrior Blend in natural flavor to create a "flour." Then, I transferred the "flour" to a bowl, and added 1 and 1/2 Tbsp. of the lemony date puree, 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract and a dash of sea salt. I whisked it to combine.

The "cake" was formed into lady finger shapes and a cupcake top. I set it aside, while I whipped together the creamy component (room temperature Punk Rawk Labs macadamia nutmilk cheese in herb flavor whipped together with some canned coconut whipped cream and more lemony date puree, to taste).

Then, let the layering begin! :-)

First, I put two small lady finger pieces in the bottom
of my serving glass.

Next, I covered them with the first layer of my "cream" mixture
and some crushed hazelnuts.

Repeat with more lady finger pieces ...

... and more of the "cream" mixture and crushed hazelnuts.

Add the "cake" top ...

... and then more "cream," hazelnuts, lemon zest and a star fruit garnish on top (it is representing a Food Network star). Yum!

Happy summer vacation :-)