I can’t really pretend to wax nostalgic about 1950s soda shops. Sure, I’ve been to couple of old-school diners and lunch counters in NYC, but they aren’t exactly the type of place where I picture my dad shared a malted with his best girl on a Saturday night as Bobby Darin sang out from the jukebox. I totally have a thing for soda fountain drinks though. Besides a good egg cream, there is another classic I adore– the cherry-lime rickey. Since Laurie from quirky cupcake has just kicked off a new event called ‘Cupcake Hero,’ and this month’s theme ingredient is lime, I thought I’d take a stab at recreating a cherry-lime rickey (non-carbonated, of course) in cupcake form.
I started with a basic vanilla cupcake, flavored with a bit of lime zest. Lots of other bloggers have had great success with Billy Reece’s Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcake recipe (he made it on the Martha Stewart Show awhile back), so i thought I would give it a try myself. It was easy to make, and the cupcakes baked up fluffy and nice–don’t overfill them though!
While the cupcakes were baking, I made a batch of lime curd and parked it in the fridge to chill. Then I whipped up some vanilla buttercream, portioned out what I needed for the cupcakes at hand, and refrigerated the rest for another time. To give the buttercream flavor, I added a bit of cherry jam, some chopped cherries and some chilled lime curd. I filled my cooled cupcakes with cherry jam and lime curd, topped them with cherry buttercream, and added a little garnish. A cherry-lime rickey cupcake…coolsville. I dig it.
Cherry-Lime Rickey Cupcakes– makes 12 regular-size cupcakes
-Start with a batch of baked and cooled vanilla cupcakes flavored with lime zest. (I used Billy’s Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes. Not wanting 30 cupcakes, I did a half batch and mixed in the zest of one lime at the end.)
-Make and chill the lime curd (recipe below).
-Make the vanilla buttercream (recipe below). Flavor it with a spoonful of cherry jam, 1/4 cup of lime curd and a handful of chopped cherries (fresh or canned).
-To fill the cupcakes, use a small knife or round cookie cutter to cut a plug out of the center of each (going in from the top). Save the top bit of each plug. Put a small blob of cherry jam at the bottom of each cavity, then fill the rest up with lime curd. Cover with the top bit so the curd is not exposed.
-Top with buttercream and garnish with a cherry and a lime slice.
Lime Curd– makes about 1 2/3 cups
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup strained lime juice
zest of 1 lime
pinch of salt
4 T unsalted butter
-Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a medium saucepot. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, lime juice and zest and a pinch of salt. Set the bowl over the simmering water (making a double boiler).
–Whisk frequently until thickened. Becasue it’s over a double boiler, you can walk away for a minute or so if need be.
-Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, a bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated.
-Pass through a fine sieve into a clean bowl or container. Press plastic wrap directly on surface and refrigerate until cold. Either use it up or transfer to an airtight container, keeping plastic wrap on the surface for storage. This way, it can keep in the fridge for about a week.
Vanilla Buttercream– makes about 2 cups
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated’s Baking Illustrated
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) sugar
1 t vanilla extract
pinch of salt
8 oz unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into pieces
-Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a medium saucepot. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Set the bowl over the simmering water (making a double boiler). Whisk gently but constantly until the mixture reaches 160°F. It should be thin and foamy.
-Transfer the bowl to the mixer and whip until light, airy and room temperature. This should take about five minutes. Reduce the speed and whip in the butter, piece by piece. If it looks curdled halfway through, it should come together as you add the remaining butter.
-Once all the butter is incorporated, beat on high speed for about a minute until light and fluffy. You can refrigerate, covered, for up to five days.
I took another course at Planet Cake in Balmain this weekend. This time, the theme was “celebration cupcakes.” Obviously, these are for celebrating something very girly! They were a lot of fun to make…a little time-consuming, but really not very hard.
Every week, in my efforts to perfect a second language, I take a Spanish class through The University of Sydney’s continuing ed program. Yesterday was the last class of the level, so I volunteered to bake up a batch up of something to bring in for fiesta-time. And I was really in the mood for cake.
I’ve had Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook for years, and for years the picture on page 174 of a snowy white coconut cupcake has been taunting me. Just to show that picture who’s boss, I’ve refused to make them– until yesterday, when I finally gave in to it’s seductive stare.
My class was small, so I halved her recipe (seems as though I halve every recipe I make). My half-batch gave me 15 regular-sized cupcakes, and I have enough frosting left over to probably frost another eight! In the cake itself, I used regular coconut flakes, but I found coconut chips at the health food store to use for garnish. I lightly toasted them in the oven before sprinkling them over the cupcakes.
While I do like to eat some cakes cold (I love cake with chooclate frosting straight out of the fridge), these are best at room temperature. The cream cheese frosting is gooey and soft. And the cakes have a delicate almond flavor. No wonder so many other people have posted about these cupcakes. If you want to make them, too, but don’t have the book, the recipe is here on Food Network’s site.
So….¿Cómo se dice ‘cupcake’ en español? Since cupcakes aren’t really part of Spanish/Latin food cultures, it seem as thought there is no definitive translation. In fact, I read on a couple of sites that in many Hispanic countries people initially mistake cupcakes for muffins, since they have they same shape!