Last Monday was the third annual cupcake contest hosted by Brooklyn Kitchen. This year's event featured almost 60 cupcakes, bakers, and testers, packed into Union Pool's backyard.
It was impossible to try them all - I think I probably tasted about 20. And I successfully paced myself, limiting my sampling to half or quarter sized bites of the cupcakes, so that I didn't end up with a tummyache at the end of the night like last year.
I didn't win anything again (the competition at this event is always so steep), but I was happy because I got a lot of compliments and my cupcakes were popular enough to have all disappeared by the end of the night. I called them honey babies just because I wanted to come up with some kind of catchy name, but really they have been likened to a great muffin or coffee cake with a light honey spice flavor, topped with amazing frosting. The maple, chopped almonds, and sparkles of sugar are what makes this cupcake sing.
I'm already planning my recipe for next year's contest...I'll definitely be incorporating chocolate.
Honey Babies with Maple Almond Frosting
9 tbsp butter
3/4 cup raw turbinado sugar
heaping 1/4 cup honey
2 tsp bourbon vanilla (bourbon steeped with vanilla beans)
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup ground almonds (1 cup of almonds ground in the food processor until it resembles coarse flour)
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp bourbon vanilla
6 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
raw turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Butter two 12-muffin tins. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in honey, eggs, vanilla and milk.
In a separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients. Beat dry ingredients into wet mixture until smooth. Scoop batter into muffin tins and bake for approximately 15 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean.
For frosting, cream butter and powdered sugar. Mix in vanilla, maple syrup, milk, and half the chopped almonds. Adjust sugar and butter to desired consistency (my measurements above are approximate). Frost cupcakes, and then sprinkle remaining almonds and a little sugar over top of each. Makes 24 cupcakes. This recipe can easily be cut by a third to make a batch of 12 large cupcakes.