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Cupcake Competing at it’s Finest

Yesterday I participated in my first ever food competition.  No I didn’t win, but I definitely had a blast trying AND I got to sample some (ok alot) of the competition after the fact.  Let me tell ya, there are some pretty darned tasty cupcakes out there.

When all was said and done, the cupcake I decided to enter into the competition was a Panettone inspired cupcake with an almond buttercream frosting.  Absolute heaven in a wrapper I tell ya.  The road to that cupcake was littered with a host of other cupcake attempts along the way. Let me lay out a sugar trail for you to follow.

First there was the browned butter cupcake with chestnut flour and sweetened condensed milk (I had planned on using evaporated milk but didn’t realize I had run out) added into the batter and an eggnog whipped cream frosting.

I loved the crunchy top that formed from using the sweetened condensed milk, but the frosting was too light of a consistency for piping which I knew I wanted to do.  Pretty counts when you’re being judged.

So I switched a few ingredients in the batter (trying evaporated milk in place of sweetened condensed as I had originally planned) and went with an eggnog buttercream frosting instead.

I was surprised to find that I liked cupcake attempt number one a bit better; the evaporated milk just wasn’t cutting it.  The eggnog frosting was good, but a bit of a strong flavor and not everyone cares for eggnog so I decided to journey on in my search for a suitable cupcake.

I decided to switch it up all together and go a slightly different route.  Panettone.  I went back to sweetened condensed milk, added some dried fruit to the batter and discovered my new cupcake love.  I nixed the eggnog buttercream and instead decided on an almond buttercream.

I’m not sure what possessed me, but at the last minute I stirred a bit of homemade whipped cream into the frosting.  Delicious, delicious, delicious, but not pipable.  So, I baked up one final batch and settled on a panettone cupcake with an almond butter cream frosting.  My neighbors said it was the best cupcake they’ve ever had.  And get this, Nick actually ate an entire slice of quiche last night in order to get one these puppies on his plate for dessert.  The kid detests eggs.  Now that, is a compliment of the highest magnitude.

So without further ado, I present to you, the panettone cupcake with almond butter cream frosting.

Ingredients Needed:

For the Cupcakes:

11/2 Cups of Chestnuts, Ground up fine
(I found them cooked and peeled at Trader Joes)
1 Cup of Sugar
2 Cups of Flour
2 tsp of Baking Powder
1/4 tsp of Salt
1 Stick of Butter
3 Eggs
1 14 Oz. Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tsp of Vanilla
1/2 Cup of Milk
1 Cup of Dried Berries
(I used a mix of dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries and golden raisins)

For the Frosting:

1 Stick of Butter
41/2 Cups of Powdered Sugar
1 tsp of Almond Extract
3 Tbsp of Milk

Start out by browning your butter.  To brown butter you’ll want to cook it on medium heat until it turns a golden brown color and emits the most amazing nutty delicious smelled you’ve ever inhaled.

Turn off the heat on your butter and allow it to cool.

Head over to your mixer bowl and add your dry ingredients; the chestnuts, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add in your wet ingredients; the eggs, condensed milk, vanilla, and milk and mix it together.

Combine in the cooled brown butter.

Last up, you’ll fold in your dried fruit.

Cook up your cupcakes in an oven set to 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

For the frosting you’ll cream together the butter, powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract in your mixer.  Here’s what mine looked like.

Frost em up and you’re done!

I thought I might share a few pictures from the competition today.

I think I might officially be addicted to cupcake competitions.   Just look at those pretty little cakes and try to tell me otherwise.

Panettone Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

11/2 Cups of Chestnuts, Ground up fine
(I found them cooked and peeled at Trader Joes)
1 Cup of Sugar
2 Cups of Flour
2 tsp of Baking Powder
1/4 tsp of Salt
1 Stick of Butter
3 Eggs
1 14 Oz. Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tsp of Vanilla
1/2 Cup of Milk
1 Cup of Dried Berries
(I used a mix of dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries and golden raisins)

For the Frosting:

1 Stick of Butter
41/2 Cups of Powdered Sugar
1 tsp of Almond Extract
3 Tbsp of Milk

Directions:

Start out by browning your butter. To brown butter you'll want to cook it on medium heat until it turns a golden brown color and emits the most amazing nutty delicious smelled you've ever inhaled.

Turn off the heat on your butter and allow it to cool.

Head over to your mixer bowl and add your dry ingredients; the chestnuts, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add in your wet ingredients; the eggs, condensed milk, vanilla, and milk and mix it together.

Combine in the cooled brown butter.

Last up, you'll fold in your dried fruit.

Cook up your cupcakes in an oven set to 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

For the frosting you'll cream together the butter, powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract in your mixer.