New Year, New Adventures


I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. I am experiencing minor anxiety, thinking about returning to work after 2 WEEKS of vacation! My last act of freedom: creating a cupcake for the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Cupcake Contest. Here it is, the Irish Cupcake Bomb.

It’s a stout chocolate cake with Whiskey Caramel, Irish Cream Filling, Chocolate-Sumatra Frosting, and chocolate shavings. It’s not as original as I thought my recipe would be, but I kept coming back to it while toying around with other recipes because it’s so instinctively delicious.

I love this contest. It nudges me into remote markets, searching for unusual ingredients. And it gives me an excuse to play in the kitchen all day, like a kid building sandcastles on the beach. Last year I steeped, steamed, and pulverized pandan. This year adzuki beans, which I’ve been eating a lot of lately, finally made their way into my pot. I didn’t love the adzuki results, ┬ábut I still have half a bag to experiment with.

We’ll see what the judges think. Whatever the result, I had a great time probing ingredients, tasting the results, and writing up a new recipe. It’s a good start to the year. I hope you’re tackling adventures, learning lots, and eating plenty of chocolate (and other delicious things) in 2011. Happy New Year!