Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cupcake Camp in the Capital

This past weekended I attended Cupcake Camp here in Ottawa. This event started in San Francisco, and events have been springing up all over the place. Ottawa's day marked the biggest camp ever, with over 3400+ cupcakes.

So the deal is, you register either as baker or a taster, and come to the cupcake camp in the mood for sugar overlaod. Entrance was just $2 for bakers, and $5 for tasters, with all proceeds going to Ottawa’s Woman Alive/Femme Active Program. Cupcakes were organized into batches, and every 20 minutes, a new batch was brought out as the flavours were read over loudspeaker.

I wasn't totally pleased with how my contribution turned out, lookswise, so I decided not to enter the competition, but I stayed long enough to see my cupcakes being devoured by the crowd, which was pretty cool. I think they were a hit! (By the way, I don't know this person, I just did a search on flickr for cupcake camp photos and found that image. I love it!)

I used a Barefoot Contessa recipe, one I've made before. The icing is not overly sweet, and the salty crunch of the peanuts is a highly recommended optional step.

Here's the recipe if you want try these:
Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

(Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows)

Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.
Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.
Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
- Donna
(PS. I only stayed three rounds and tried five different cupcakes, which were split with a friend. Not overdoing it at an event like this takes STRENGTH!)


Sara said...

To me they look totally gourmet. Yum!

Lina said...

They look yummy, I've never heard of pb frosting before. BTW - I had no idea you were in Ottawa! So close!

Donna said...

I am a sucker for the peanut butter chocolate combo. Making a birthday cake this weekend for a friend that will combine the flavours again.

Ottawa and Montreal are nice and close - I can't wait to get to Mtl for some shopping, perhaps this summer!

- Donna

The little book of Nessie said...

What yummy cupcakes! Regards, Nessie