Friday, May 11, 2012

sweet genius competitor

Last night I was a finalist on Food Network’s pastry competition reality show called Sweet Genius. I had auditioned back in November sort of as a joke and got a call back to participate in January-- much to my excitement and terror. I’ve never been on television before, nor have I ever cooked for a famous pastry chef that designs Martha Stewart wedding cakes. I was petrified. Cameras pointing at me in all directions while I finagle my way around a new kitchen. It’s also extremely unnerving to watch yourself on television, after the fact. Seeing my reactions to my own culinary blunders was especially frightening. Thankfully, the producers edited me well. I came across sweet—bittersweet – in fact. I talked a lot about my mom being sick and doing my best to make her proud. Her strong work ethic, her great baking skills, her humor, her resilience to fight this cancer. This post is for my awesome mom whom I can’t wait to see this weekend. I love you Moeder! 

I had a little viewing party in honor of my television debut and did a variation on the black bean cake I made on the show. This one is vegan and in cupcake form.  Black beans lend a really nice moisture and crumb to cakes. The earthy undertones accent the smoked paprika, cayenne and orange components really well. On top, I added a chocolate ganache, reduced raspberry syrup and roasted almonds with agave and sea salt.

2/3 cup canola oil
2 ½ cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 T grated orange zest
2 T orange juice
2 15 oz cans black beans (drained, rinsed and pureed)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ cup water (or more if batter appears dry)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners.
Blend black beans in a food processor with the oil, sugar, vanilla extract, orange juice and zest, until smooth. In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder until mixed. Fold wet mixture into the dry until incorporated. Fill cupcake tins two-thirds full. Bake 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove, and cool on rack.

Roast a ½ cup of almonds, slathered in agave, in oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, put a ¼ cup of frozen raspberries and 2 tablespoons of agave in a saucepan and reduce for about 10 minutes, or until syrupy. Finally, melt any dark chocolate bar in a double boiler. To assemble: dip cooled cupcakes in melted chocolate. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and raspberry reduction 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Bittersweet! You did it! And you didn't look at all petrified, just a little perplexed, and only a couple of times. Nothing wrong with that. I thought you were terrific. Really! These cupcakes look so delicious. How was your viewing party?