Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hindustan, Zindabaad!

i love my india. and i LOVE my indian cricket team. they beat out sri lanka to become the world cup 2011 CHAMPS!! the best part is that this year's tournament was actually in india. and my dad (lucky guy) happens to be in india currently... so. very. jealous.

saffron flowers
so when the opportunity arose to make something for the berryhill bake-off (yeah, that's just the name i gave it), i thought it was the perfect chance to make something in tribute of the country i am most patriotic towards (no offense amurica!). i chose one of my favorite spices used in indian cuisine: kesar (saffron). kesar is seriously the best thing ever - minus the fact that it's insanely expensive (just 3 threads per flower, and over an acre of flowers needed to make a pound). its so versatile, used in sweet and savory dishes and providing a vibrant golden hue to everything it touches.

i marinated a while on what cupcake to actually do and decided that pairing the saffron with coconut would be fantastic (and indian-esque). my pantry had a box of lemon cake mix screaming for me to use it, so that's just what i did: a lemon-coconut cupcake with a salted saffron buttercream. a perfectly sweet and slightly tangy cake, paired with a sweet, yet oddly savory frosting. this was DIVINE. the frosting really stole the show. my mother is gonna be so proud when she tries this one :) (side note: to any folks still annoyed that i "semi-homemake" my desserts, well...haters gon' hate).

 lemon-coconut cupcakes
  • 1 box lemon cake mix, plus ingredients called for on box
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
per instruction on the box, prepare cake mix with added lemon zest. fold in the coconut. fill muffin liners and bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, or until springy to touch (i baked my minis for 15 minutes and they ended up a little dry. they don't need long!).

salted saffron buttercream frosting*
  • 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 pinch saffron threads 
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (1.5 lbs)
  • pistachios, chopped (optional)
melt butter in a small pot, then add saffron threads and stir over low heat for 1 minute. the threads won't dissolve, but they will give the butter a beautiful bright yellow color. remove from heat and allow to sit for several hours. the butter won't solidify completely, but will become thicker with time. this can also be done in the refrigerator. when ready to make the frosting, whip the butter in an electric stand mixer. slowly add in powdered sugar until the desired consistency is achieved. pipe onto cupcakes (i used a 1M tip for the whirls). garnish with chopped pistachios, if desired. 
*this requires making a saffron-infused butter, which requires time. so plan ahead! 

can you tell i've become a fan of "double-bagging" my cupcakes? its just nice for presentation, especially when you have the gorgeous natural yellow of the saffron buttercream against a stark white wrapper.

i pumped out about 70 minis for the berryhill bake-off (placed 3rd!), and 6 regular sized cupcakes for mi familia and a few friends. the thing about all this baking is that everyone insists you save them one. 
im usually happy to oblige :) 

yes folks, i used a paper towel as the backdrop for this photo. so cool! (the above photos used a place-mat i'd bought when i moved into my first apartment in college. i know, im so crafty).

1 comment:

  1. so uh-mazing! jai hind! i support your baking as long as you continue to let me taste test


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