Friday, October 5, 2012

California Cupcakes

What now seems like ages ago, back when I thought that my oral exams were impending, I had 3 weddings to attend on the horizon, and I was fighting off a terrible crush, I somehow found time to do a little baking (if you've been paying attention, you probably know that a crush will do that to me).

In celebration of a friend moving to California I started researching the perfect, "Welcome to California" cupcake. Of course, I felt that in order to truly capture what Southern California has to offer in a cupcake I had to include 3 things: Beer, Citrus, and the Ocean. Something about melding the pungent citrus note of a dry-hopped IPA with the tart kick of lemon seemed like a winning combination. So, I began to look around the web for a recipie that might guide me in the right direction. That's when I found Sweet and Stout a blog devoted entirely to beer cupcakes.

Inspired and fearless as ever, I started with a yellow cake mix, but replaced the water with IPA and half the oil with 3 fresh squeezed lemons.

To tie in the ocean (because I worried that trying to add sea salt to the mix would be going overboard), I made my typical cream cheese frosting, but added a frightening amount of blue food coloring. Crushed up animal crackers made the "sand" and a candy mold I still had kicking around from my feeble attempt at wedding cakes allowed me to make some sea shells from Wilton's candy coating.

The flavor didn't pack the punch I had hoped. In future batches I think I'd use more lemon and an even more potent IPA, but the presentation was a hit. 

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