Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Olive Oil and Balsamic Strawberry Cupcakes with a Herbed Mascarpone Cream -Iron Cupcake Earth: Savoury

Savory Cupcakes

So here it is, this month's addition to Iron Cupcake Earth: Savoury Cupcakes! And no, Savoury isn't spelled wrong, for some reason certain words are spelled differently in Canada like 'flavour', 'savour', 'favourite', and 'colour'. Anyways, I am the last person that should be telling anyone how to spell so I will just say that Ian and I are both still amazed that this little blog won the last Iron Cupcake Challenge, and thanks to all of you who voted!

I was a little afraid to make savoury cupcakes after seeing one entry that was a meatloaf cupcake with mashed potato topping. Could I live up to that? Did I want to live up to that? That cupcake will get my vote for sure!

The other night Ian took me out for dinner at this chic little restaurant down the street where I had a delightful appetizer. It was a strawberry and bocconcini caprese salad tossed in fresh basil pesto and aged balsamic vinegar, then topped with a light and fluffy herbed whipped cream. Yum, it was so different, yet so delightful I had to recreate it in a cupcake.

Savory Cupcakes

The cupcakes are made with a strawberry and aged balsamic vinegar syrup mixed into a vanilla cupcake batter. I substituted half of the butter for a deliciously fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil that gave a great savoury taste to the whole cupcake. Once they cooled I drizzled some thick aged Balsamic over top.

I obviously was not going to add bocconcini to the cupcake so I used thick Mascarpone Cheese and blended it with some whipped cream to create a lighter texture. Then I minced up some basil and oregano to make a wonderful herb infused topping for the cupcake.

So that is the story behind these savoury cupcakes. But, if you know anything about Ian, you know that he is allergic to those lovely strawberries so I switched out the syrup for some lemon zest and watched him stuff one after another of the lemon olive oil cupcakes into his mouth. I guess they were a hit no matter what the flavour!

Voting should be open on Saturday, May 30 at 8 p.m. at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, and will be open through Friday, June 5 at 12 noon. I don't really think that we can win anything again, nor would it be fair, so go and check out all the other entries and vote for your favourites!

Savory Cupcakes

And now for the sponsors:
A sweet cupcake ID bracelet by INSANEJELLYFISH, something sweet and dangly from CHERRYCREEKCHARMS .
a sweet surprise from Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery,
PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice - sweet!
Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, JESSIE STEELE APRONS ; TASTE OF HOME books; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM . Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers

Olive Oil and Balsamic Strawberry Cupcakes with a Herbed Mascarpone Cream

Strawberry Balsamic Syrup
adapted from A Good Appetite Blog
1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen (frozen worked really well)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Olive Oil and Balsamic Strawberry Cupcakes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Strawberry balsamic syrup
aged balsamic vinegar for drizzling on top

Herbed Mascarpone Cream
2 tbsp. fresh oregano minced
4 tbsp. fresh basil minced
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup whipped cream, no sugar added

Strawberry Balsamic Syrup
If using fresh strawberries cut them in half & remove the stems. If using frozen thaw them. Mix the strawberries with sugar & let stand for about 15 minutes. Place in a small saucepan & add balsamic. Let simmer over medium for about 15 minutes. The strawberries should create a syrup. After 15 minutes of cooking puree until you have a uniform syrup.

Olive Oil and Balsamic Strawberry Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream the butter, olive oil and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder then add in four parts, alternating with the milk, strawberry balsamic syrup and the vanilla extract, beating well after each addition. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Spoon the batter into the cups about three-quarters full. Bake until the tops spring back when lightly touched, about 20 to 22 minutes. Once cooled, drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar.

Herbed Mascarpone Cream
Gently mix together the whipped cream and mascarpone until smooth. Add in the minced herbs.


Valérie said...

That's incredibly creative! You should be proud of yourself!

Ian said...

I kind of overdid it with the fiddling on these pictures, by underexposing in camera and overcompensating with the flashes, I got a dramatic kind of lighting but it is still a touch underexposed, the exposure looked good on my hi def laptop, but sadly dark on any other monitor on the 2 close up shots :(
It's a good thing to play around with the lighting, but I have learned a valuable lesson about lightng cupcakes in a "dramatic" fashion. I think I really need to take some photography courses

mădălina said...

YUM. i absolutely adore your website. As for the fun-dant, its still extremely sweet, but palatable. You can always add flavor extract (such as vanilla, or lemon) to jazz it up.

Unfortunately, if you do not like the taste of marshmallows, you wont like the fondant.

Junglefrog said...

Wow, that is such a creative twist on a cupcake! I would never (ever) have thought of actually making a savoury cupcakes (anything wrong with that spelling? I always spell it that way... I think..:))

Ian, on the photos; I quite like them, especially the second one with the balsamic bottle next to it (not so sure about the cork placed so prominently though..).
You should try and avoid underexposing the shots in most (if not all) cases, not overexposing either, but just on the edge of the light side. This will avoid heavy noise issues later on. I don't always succeed in that but it's the thought that counts right? It's easier to darken the shots a bit then to bring them back into the light..:)

La Marquise des anges said...

cool sponsors !!! I love your recipe !!! so creative !!! I am so found of balsamic vinegar.

Ian the photos are just great, trust me I restrain myself from licking the screen right now ... hey my friends do you have a couple of cupcakes left for a starved french girl ?? :)

Coco Bean said...

Valerie: Thanks, I thought about it for a long time, but the initial idea of savoury cupcakes is a hard one!

Ian: I love them, like I love you.

madalina: Thanks so much! I wrote on your post again..

Simone: That cap was my idea!!! My bad! I still have no clue about food styling so Ian and I are going to try to recreate a Donna Hay picture this weekend like you do.We hope to learn about different textures in the photos.
As for the cupcake, I also have never thought to make a savoury one but when pushed I guess we can come up with anything! Maybe only the Americans spell it "savory"?

Sabine: Thanks so much! Unfortunatly there are none left, but... I just ordered the Cupcake book that has 175 cupcake recipes and I will make some just for you!

Junglefrog said...

Can't wait to see which photo of Donna you're gonna do!! I always think it is a fun (and useful) exercise!

La Marquise des anges said...

how cool ... but can't wait to taste them :)
I will make you ...let's see ... what about some homemade fresh cherries and chocloate shavings ice cream to go along with ??

Coco Bean said...

Sounds like a great plan Sabine, oddly enough, I just got the book in the mail today, but it isn't supposed to be released until June 2nd... WHOO

cookies and cups said...

Your cupcake sounds great and totally creative! Good luck!!