I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to all forms of baking-- to give you an example, I just today found out that it's really important to have all of your ingredients (including your eggs) at room temperature when baking. Who knew? Probably most of the free world, but that'll tell you how much I know about working in a kitchen. Today I decided to try out a few new recipes.
I'd been entertaining the idea this past week of a recipe that included pears and chocolate-- though it's not prime pear season, you can still manage to find some pretty decent ones, like the organic Bartlett pears, which are SO amazingly delicious, that I buy at my local Whole Foods. Since I've also been craving chocolate cake, I was initially going to make ginger chocolate cupcakes with a pear buttercream frosting-- entirely experimental, but I at least wanted to try it. However, when I went to the local market this morning, I wasn't impressed with the produce for sale, so I decided to scratch it. I wanted to do something that included an interesting flavour and wasn't too pre-meditated. It took me a while to come up with something.
In any case, rosewater is something you don't get a taste of very often in American food-- it's primarily a Middle Eastern/South Asian thing that you've probably had for dessert out at an Indian restaurant or something. And of course, it works really great as a facial toner, which is why I even had some around the house to work with. The flavour of rosewater is admittedly not for everyone, and I couldn't find many conventional dessert recipes online that included the ingredient in any way that sounded appetising. Since one of my favourite things is chocolate, I knew I wanted to do a chocolate cake of some sort but didn't want the rosewater to interfere with the actual cake itself. The only choice was, then, a rosewater frosting. A rosewater vanilla frosting, to be more particular. The end result of the frosting is interesting-- at first taste, the rosewater note doesn't really show up, but it's an aftertaste that is rather strong and that most people's pallets might not be used to (or like very much-- personally I'm still on the fence). The only thing that would have made them better is a little pink food colouring, but I also really like the plain white as well. They are topped with a dried rose petal, which may not be too tasty, but IS edible!
I had enough batter after making a dozen of those to try something different. While I was at the store today, I was enticed by the bag of plump sugary marshmallows for sale, though I didn't know what I'd use them for. I'd been reading recipes lately for S'mores cupcakes, but that always seemed to be a bit much for me-- I'm not really fond of graham crackers with cake, nor did I want anything overly gooey oozing out of the cupcake, but marshallow and chocolate go superbly together. Not sure of what I was doing, really, I used a knife to cut the large marshmallow in half and then stuck a half in the bottoms of some cupcake papers and then threw in the batter. The marshmallow cooked through and exploded out the top of the cupcake a little bit, but not enough to ruin them (and who knows what it's like inside?). I used some plain vanilla icing for the top, but that still looked boring, and I thought it would be a nice touch to toast marshmallows for the top. And that's just what I did:
I haven't taste-tested either of these-- this is the catch, that since I love baking so much, I just have to feed my friends and co-workers so I don't get too fat on all these delicious, sugary treats! :)