Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fancying Cupcakes With Your Glass of Chianti?

This evening was our first wine tasting session of the semester, and so, I decided to whip up some of Nigella's banana, cranberry and chocolate chip cupcakes to usher in this final 6 months of spring in Ithaca.

Well, then again, you can just say it's just an excuse for me to satisfy my cuisson cravings.

Nonetheless, the crimson-studded medallions came out rather decent and were a hit with my friends at the wine session. I was initially worried that they would be inedible just because the oven in my apartment didn't seem to be working as efficiently as I hope it would. The original recipe called for a baking time of 20 minutes (till amber golden and springy on the top) at a moderate 350-degree oven, but it took more than double the time to get these miniature sweet sponges to the required texture.

Faulty ovens aside, what I love so much about this cupcake recipe is the fact that I can do it without the use of a mixer - which is awesome since I don't own one in my college apartment. I know - a definite pâtisserie sacrilege! But on the bright side, it brings challenge and sparks creativity in my recipe searching sessions - plus, I'm graduating in 3 months time, so I deem it to be a slightly unworthy investment that I believe I can live without for the time being. Alright, let's move on to the recipe.

Nigella Lawson, How To Be A Domestic Goddess
The Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons dried cherries, chopped
  • 2 ounces white chocolate, chopped, or chips
  • 12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups
The Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then, off the heat, add the sugar, vanilla, and soft bananas, mashing them with a fork in the pan.
  3. Stir in the sour cream and the eggs and - still using your fork or a wooden spoon if you prefer - beat to mix. Add the baking soda and the baking powder, and stir in as well, then finally stir in the flour, cherries, and chocolate.
  4. When the mixture's just blended, divide among the 12 muffin cups and cook for 20 minutes or until golden and springy on top.
  5. Remove the cupcakes in their paper cups to a wire rack and leave till cool.
Max actually recommended that I throw in some walnuts or pecans into the batter, and I actually think he's right on that. Those fruity-chocolatey sponges are actually good the way they are, but embellishing it with some nutty crunchiness may just boost its sugar ratings up a notch.

I thoroughly enjoyed my intimate wine evening - it's just so wonderful to immerse myself amongst fabulously talented people who are undeniably passionate about food and wine. I'm making a resolution to whip up sugary treats for our future wine sessions - a perfect excuse for me to satisfy my whimsical confectionary wishes and temporarily neglect that never-ending pile of assignments due the following week...


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