Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cupcake Camp Boston 2012

I really need to get my act together. I was fortunate enough to attend a wonderful event like Cupcake Camp and I haven't even written about it yet - shame on me! My daughter (assistant) and I arrived late due to the weather and traffic not cooperating with our plans, so we hurried in as the party was in full swing and the organizers said that we were on the wall way in the back. Then one of them asked if I'd mind being with the professional bakers instead. I said that would be fine but I don't have very many cupcakes. It didn't seem to matter, and they just wanted to fill in the spaces. So until I ran out, I stayed with the pros. You may notice I keep saying, "I" and this is because little assistant ran off to be with her big cousin shortly after the VIP session ended. That was fine because I ended up having a nice chat with Erin from The Chocolate Truffle. They recently started a cupcake business - Boston Cupcake Girl. Erin had Cannoli and salted caramel. Both were wonderful and looked gorgeous. The Cannoli was the better of the two - if only because the salt was a bit heavy for me in the caramel. But that seemed common - people really wanted the flavors to come out and as far as salt, they didn't have to worry it would be missed.

I also wanted the flavors to pop in my chocolate banana cupcakes. Mine weren't a complete success, but I do think they were just as good as many of the other cupcakes at the event. I asked someone to really give me a good critique, because she was doing a good job analyzing many of the other cakes, and I got good feedback. I use Hershey's special dark cocoa and she thought from the color the cake would be even more chocolaty. I can understand that. I made these as a trial for an anniversary party we went to a couple of weeks ago and put coffee into the batter and didn't do it this time. It was actually something this person suggested. I'm not sure it made that much of a difference, but I normally do add coffee to bring out the chocolate a little more. Topping the cake was a shmear of Nutella. As I experienced from the first time I made these, the flavor just didn't show up. I am so surprised by this because Nutella has such a strong flavor on its own. Another suggestion was to add in some hazelnut flour to bring out the flavor more. I like that idea and will have to play around with it. Or I could always switch to almond, but something about the hazelnut is really appealing to me. I think it started with the Nutella Tartine from French Fridays and playing with Nutella has been the flavor theme of the year. The frosting I thought was great; banana buttercream. I put the leftovers in the freezer for my daughters upcoming birthday party. Topping it all off was a leathery, caramelized banana. I'll just leave that part out next time. I don't want to go with a hard chip and like the idea of somehow making a candied banana, but I'm not sure how it would work on a little cupcake. Again, I'll have to play. Next year I will bring even smaller cupcakes. I made mine in nut cups. I found the idea years ago at Cupcake Bakeshop. They're great because you can do a whole cookie sheet in one batch. They stand up on their own, look nice, and aren't too hard to pop the cakes out.

Pictures and my nieces recap of Cupcake Camp on her blog, Easting Places, will come soon. She wrote about many other foodie events she's been going to. Have to say that I'm a bit envious of her freedom and connections that allow her to go to these. I'm also really happy for her!
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