Saturday, September 20, 2008

Iron Cupcake Challenge: Dreamy Basil Mango Citrus Cupcakes

This recipe literally came to me in a dream.  When I heard this month's Iron Cupcake Challenge is basil, I was estatic since I've been growing my own pot of sweet basil.  My baby's been with me for about half a year now, and it's grown from a measley 3" pot to a whopping 10" pot, which it is outgrowing!

But when I think of basil combinations, I could only think of garlic, tomatos, eggs, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese cuisines... Okay, all my favorites, but not my favorites for cupcakes...  I could go licorice, but I'm not a big fan of licorice.  I consulted my friends and family, who were all very encouraging to make basil cupcakes, but we were all stuck on how.  My cousin Tony who is a French chef suggested lavendar.  Hhhhmmm, he suggested getting lavendar tea and infuse it into the cupcakes.  

I've never eaten anything lavendar, but I was willing to give it a try.  I was so excited with this idea that I went directly to six stores/ tea shops to buy lavendar tea.  But poor me, I didn't find any.  People looked at me like I was crazy.  Oh, if only my two attempts to grow lavendar had worked, I wouldn't have this problem.  Needless to say, I was disappointed and now contemplating skipping this challenge.  

That night I went to bed thinking how was I going to tell everyone I chickened out.  I guess with the stress of letting friends and family down, in dreamed a recipe.  I know, sounds crazy.  It was as if I was watching a movie, like Chocolat or Like Water for Chocolate (a couple of my favorite movies).  I had used basil, mangos, and oranges, and the reaction from eating them made people do funny things.  (lol)

I added lime at the last minute to cut the sweetness 

I woke up and told D I have to make basil cupcakes.  He was like "For breakfast?"  I didn't care, I jumped out of bed and started on the cupcake making frenzy before I could forget.  Looking back at it now, I guess I could have written it down and made them later when I was more awake and together. But the baking madness had started.  I tried to photo journal the making process like so many talented bloggers, but I didn't get too far with that.  

Fruit Puree

By the time they were done, D had left for work, and I was the only one who could taste it.  It was interesting.  The fresh mangos and citrus flavors were awesome, but the basil was a taste that makes you go, what is that?  It's so familiar, yet I can't quite place it.  I knew it was basil, but it didn't taste like basil.  I'm still undecided on this cupcake, but D thought they were good.  I would make it again as a "special" dessert for a fancy dinner party, but I think it'll be one of those love it or hate it cupcakes.  Maybe you will give them a try and tell me what you think.

Not so pretty cupcakes

Recipe for 12 Cupcakes:

1 ripe mango
1 lime (I added lime to my dream recipe since my mango and orange were very sweet)
1 orange
Handful of Basil

1. Dice mango and place in a blender (you can reserve some for garnish later if you like).
2. Zest the lime and orange, put half of zest into blender, and  squeeze 2 teaspoon of lime juice and 2 tablespoon orange juice into blender.
3.  Blend until smooth.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
fruit puree

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin tin with liners.
2. In a medium bowl, cream butter and suagr.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla. 
3. Combine flour and baking powder, add to creamed mixture and mix well.
4.  Stir in milk until batter is smooth.
5.  Pour into liners 1/2 way full.  Spoon in some puree into the middle of each cupcake until 3/4 full.
6.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.
7.  Cool on a wire rack.

Meringue Buttercream
3 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup puree

1. Whisk egg and sugar over a double boil
er until sugar has melted and the mix is warm to touch.
2. Using a whisk attachment, whisk on high speed until stiff peaks and glossy.
3.  Switching to a paddle attachment, add butter 1 tablespoon at a time.  Beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined before adding the next spoonful.
4.  The mix will look soupy, this is normal.  Continue beating on medium-medium/ high speed until mixture thickens about 15 minutes.
5.  Fold in the puree to buttercream. 

Frost cupcakes with buttercream and garnish with basil, citrus zest, and mango pieces (if there are any left - I ate all mine before the cupcakes finished - so I sprinkled on some sparkly sugar).

So vote for me at No One Puts Cupcake In A Corner starting Sunday, September 28 at 9am pst until Thursday, October 1 at 9am pst.  

The fabulous prizes include:
* a featured prize from ETSY artist Metal Sugar
* the best-selling book, Hello, Cupcake, by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
* the adorable complete line of Head Chefs from Fiesta Products
* a luxury hostess apron from Jessie Steele
* a cookbook from Taste of Home
* a much coveted cupcake courier from Cupcake Courier

Thanks for visiting!


Esther said...

they do sound good..even when i'm awake. cooking from a dream, that deserves a vote right there :)

CC said...

Thank you, Esther! That's so sweet of you. :D