I'm just a busy wife and mom who loves to cook (and hates to clean up afterward), balancing the many hats I wear and trying to look cool, calm, and collected while doing it...

Oh, and I rarely measure anything when I cook, so consider yourself warned. Love good food. Try new things. Eat to your heart's content.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Oh, you know, just winning a cupcake bake-off...

Holy mackerel people... has it really been almost three months since my last post! Seriously, where did the time (and our whole summer) go?!

Well, since I'm so behind and all, let's backtrack to one thing that happened right before summer even started...

I won first place in a cupcake baking contest!!

I know, crazy, huh?! Who would have thought that this girl, who really doesn't bake, could pull something like that off? Especially when the other two bakers I was baking against made a creme brule flavor and a "Summer's Passion" citrus tea-strawberry lemonade flavor? (I didn't get to try the creme brule, but the Summer's Passion was delicious!)

It all started out as a bunch of my Facebook friends convincing me to submit a cupcake recipe to Little Cake Cupcake Kitchen's (our local cupcake shop) recipe contest, since they know how much I love this place, and they know I like to cook (which is nothing like liking to bake, which I don't as much, but I did it for them). Little Cakes is fabulous, and just to prove it, they went onto Food Network's Cupcake Wars and WON THE WHOLE DARN THING!!

So this cupcakery decided to host their own version of Cupcake Wars, where they asked anyone who wanted to enter to send in their recipe. If your recipe was chosen, you got to move onto phase two.

For phase two, they chose the top 25 best sounding cupcake recipes from all the submissions, and those who's recipes were chosen had to bring in a sample of their cupcakes for a taste test. I had actually submitted 2 recipes (the second was an Italian Lemonade) and they wanted to try both... so I actually had to bake, which is not something I do very often. I can do it, I just don't... basically because I'm lazy.

So out of the 25 samples they "had" to to taste test, my little submission was one of the top three, which meant I went on to phase three: An actual LIVE bake-off!

So I gathered up all my stuff, and my trusty baking sidekick Courtney (aka my cousin... we were allowed to have one person to help us bake.) and we went to the Vista Strawberry Festival, where Little Cakes had a kitchen area all set up for us to bake our cupcakes in front of a bunch of people, outside, in the middle of a street.

Other than the convection ovens not cooking quite the same as regular ovens, and the wind that liked to swoop in and blow our cupcake liners all over the place, it wasn't so bad. Much better than I thought actually.
And so we baked. Then we walked around and ate really delicious, really bad-for-you street fair food, until the final baker (I baked second) was finished, and they deliberated for a bit, and then it was time for the results.
I was totally expecting to come in second or third, just because my cupcake was so simple, so I was completely shocked when they announced the other two as the second and third placers. Totally. Shocked. I still don't know how it happened.

So my cupcake is now the new flavor at Little Cakes, and I also got a $100 gift card to the shop, as well as a Little Cakes t-shirt for Courtney and one for  myself.

And you get the recipe, since they didn't say I couldn't share it. And if they don't want me to share it, I suppose I'll have to remove this post, which would totally suck, since it took me like an hour to write it in between my kids fighting over a pillow.

Rosemary Olive Oil Cupcakes

3 cups Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
¼ tsp. Salt
1 cup Olive Oil
½ cups Butter
4 Eggs
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Milk
½ cup Sour Cream
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 ½ Tbsp. very finely chopped Fresh Rosemary

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz. Cream Cheese
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream, plus ¼ cup powdered sugar, whipped into peaks

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, milk, sour cream, vanilla and rosemary until well combined. Slowly add the flour mixture until it is all well incorporated, and beat on medium speed for another couple of minutes or so.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake papers, and fill them about ¾ of the way full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely.

For the frosting, whip the cream cheese with the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Slowly add the whipped cream until combined.

Frost the cupcakes as desired.