At this point, most people would reach for our dear little friend. No, not that box of merlot. Perish the thought. I'm talking about good ol' fashioned caffeine. Admit it, you can't get through the day without that Double-Double from Tim Hortons. Yes, it's extremely crappy coffee. Yes, it tastes like watery dirt. But, gosh darn it, it's water dirt with caffeine mixed in it. I'm not a coffee person, though. Nor am I a tea or soda pop person. I suffer through the day without the help of the big C. I have vowed never to become a slave to the stuff - of course, we'll see how long that lasts now that I've got a 6 to 6 job.
There is one caffeinated drink that absolutely fascinate me - energy drinks. Why oh why would people willingly put that stuff into their body? Have you read the label on one of these things? They actually have to put labels on it, warning people that drinking more than one a day is a health risk. In yet . . . in yet . . . I'm absolutely intrigued with them. How do they pack so much caffeine in that skinny little can? And what in the world does all that concentrated caffeine taste like? More importantly, can it be made into a cupcake.
Why yes. Yes it can.
This month's Cupcake Hero pushed us to dance with the devil - and by devil, I mean anything that's highly caffeinated. This was my chance to really explore the the world of energy drinks. When I popped open a can of Amp Energy, I have to admit I was surprised. It didn't taste like aspartame and death - it had a nice lemon-lime twist to it. Sort of reminiscent of the company's main contribution to the world, Mountain Dew. I matched this taste to one of my favourite coconut cake recipes - one that's pretty heavy on coconutty flavour, but light and airy enough to be a veical for other flavours. Instead of trying to flavour the cake, I made a runny curd out of the energy drink. Yes, Amp Curd. Bizarre. I know. But it works. And it's awesomingly tastey. I topped everything off with a light seven minute frosting.
The combination is heaven. Heavily caffeinated heaven.
Amp'd Up Coconut Cupcakes
Coconut Cake with an Amp Energy Lemon-Lime Curd and Marshmallowy frosting
Makes 12 Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup + 2 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut milk
4 large egg whites
1 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and then set aside.
2) With an electric mixer, beat eggs and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Then, with a spoon, slowly stir in the flour mixture while alternating with the coconut milk. Beat until just combined and then set aside.
3) With an electric mixer in a large bowl, whip up the egg whites until foamy. With the mixer running, add the rest of the sugar. Beat until you get glossy stiff peaks. Gently fold the whites into your batter, then stir in the coconut.
4) Spoon batter into cupcake liners and bake for 15-20 minutes, or when your cake tester comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.
Amp Energy Drink Curd
4 large egg yolks
The zest of one lemon and two limes
1/4 cups Amp Energy Drink
1/2 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
1) Combine yolks, zest, energy drink, and sugar in a stove top sauce pan. Whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Scrap down the sides and keep stirring until the mixture reads 160 degrees. Remove from heat.
2) Add butter (slowly, in cubes) and salt, whisking until combined. Strain curd through strainer, then cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
3) Cut out a hole in the center of your cooled cupcakes, just about half way down. With a toothpick, poke some small holes into the cupcake as well. Spoon the curd into the hole, and spread it with the back of the spoon all over the top. The curd will be absorbed nicely by the light cake.
Seven Minute Frosting
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1) In heatproof bowl, whisk together the water, sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Set the bowl over saucepan of simmering water and beat constantly until mixture holds stiff peaks (about 5 to 7 minutes).
2) Remove from saucepan. Beat until frosting is cooled, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Pipe onto the curd covered cupcakes and drizzle with shredded coconut and more curd.
i'm feeling jittery all ready