Before leaving for our road trip, I really wanted to visit some bakeries in Calgary. Some lovely tweeters even recommended a handful of cupcake joints, as well as some delicious European pastry chiefs to me. I was so totally ready for that adventure - especially while surviving on a diet of roasted corn. Unfortunantly, due to time constraints (owing completely to the fact that Stampede is huge) we did not have time to stop by any cakeries. Not a single one. I was incredibility disappointed. No amount of Okanagan cherries could fill the cupcake-shaped hole in my heart.
So, what do I do my first day back? Hop into the test kitchen and create something mouth-watering. With chocolate. And caramel. Oh yes. Now that's what I'm talking about.
Okay, I have to admit. My sweet tooth got the best of me. But two weeks of nothing but fruits and vegetables will do that do a girl. These cupcakes are a delicious combination between dark chocolate, sweet caramel, and the rich flavour of red rooibos tea. Yes, you've heard of earl grey. And of course you've gone and done that green tea fad. Rooibos tea is something uniquely different. Grown in both the cape region of South Africa and the arid parts of the central nations, it's got a soft, caramel taste to it and is usually paired with a light sprinkling of cinnamon. This stuff is the only tea I drink - everything else just tastes like warm water by comparison.
Luckily, over at Sweetest Kitchen, the lovely and talented Jamieanne is hosting a cupcake challenge this month which is based around tea. Our Chocolate-Rooibos cupcakes were absolutely made for challenge. The competition ends on the 20th (yes, we're cutting it close. I was on vacation. So sue me.), but make sure you visit to vote (or visit next month and enter). There's some seriously neato loot you can pick up if you win:
- Bake It Pretty; $5 electronic gift card
- Beanilla; Tahitian vanilla fleur de sel & 3 organic Indonesian vanilla beans
- Rishi Tea; the new Tsuki tea pot and 2 tins of tea
- Soapylove Glycerin Soap Design; a Soapy Pop
- Sweet Cuppin Cakes; a prize pack worth $25
Rooibos-Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream
Makes about two dozen large cupcakes
2 Tablespoons loose leaf rooibos tea (I used leafs infused with caramel)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 2/3 cups plain flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1) Heat your oven to 350C. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
2) Take your boiling water off the stove and toss the loose leaf tea in it. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. While you're letting the tea steep, mix the cocoa powder, vanilla, and oil in a small bowl and set aside. When the tea is done steeping, put the liquid through a strainer a couple of times to remove all the leaves and set aside.
3) In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugars together with an electric mixer. Spoon the cocoa mixture into the sugar and mix until fully incorporated. Next, pour in the tea and mix slowly until fully incorporated. Finally, slowly mix in the flour mixture.
4) Take the left over egg whites and (with a pinch of salt or cream of tartar) and whip up until it forms soft peaks. Slowly fold the egg whites into your batter.
5) Spoon the batter into cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes or until your cake tester comes out clean. Leave out to cool before icing.
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of sugar
3 Tablespoons of water
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon loose leaf rooibos tea
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1) In a glass measuring cup, pour in your heavy cream and microwave it for about 20 seconds. After warming it, mix in your loose leaf tea and let steep for about 15 minutes. Strain out the leaves after the tea is finished and add the vanilla to the flavoured cream. Set aside.
2) In a small pan whisk together the sugar and water. Leave at a boil (without stirring) until it begins to turn an amber colour (the time on this varies, depending on the size of the pot and the temperature of your stove top. Just watch it like an eagle and take the pan off as soon as you see a bit of colour). When your pan is off the heat, quickly mix in your heavy cream mixture, scraping the sides and bottom.
3) In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and slowly add the powder sugar with an electric mixer. When the sugar is fully incorporated, slowly pour the caramel into the bowl and mix together with an electric mixer. Use the frosting as soon as possible.
Remember to vote for Caramel Savannah, starting on the 21st until the 26th of this month, on the Sweetest Kitchen blog. And, speaking of voting, you can now vote for our Marrakech cupcakes in the Cupcake Hero competition. Go forth and vote for deliciousness!