Battle of the Titans: S’mores frosting vs Ewa Macinski

In the questionnaires, I requested that the tester rank his/her top cupcake flavours and I provided them with a selection of 16 cupcake descriptions. After tabulating the results, the S’mores cupcake came out on top. So I began to research some recipes and came up with the following: sweet biscuit crumbs, with chopped chocolate pieces in the centre and topped with my chocolate cupcake recipe on top….then frosted with homemade marshmallow cream that was toasted golden.

Come Tuesday night, I arrived home with my stock of cupcake ingredients, Leibniz cookies for the base, then some organic dark chocolate for the centre and the usual suspects for the chocolate cupcake top. I began to bake, alone with my thoughts.

My mind started to wonder and I thought about the cupcake business and the fact that I will have to work birthdays and weekends and long into the nights on cupcakes and then I started to debate if that is something I really wanted. Then those thoughts moved over and I started to think about my work day. You know, that kind of thing. So the cupcakes came to life, quite uneventfully and were happily cooling down and waiting for their frosting, as I began to separate the eggs for my marshmallow frosting.

For my frosting, I combined a WHOPPING 8 egg whites with 2 cups of sugar and half a teaspoon of cream of tartar (which helps to create the fluff-factor). I took my handmixer and as per the instructions in a double boiler I warmed the egg whites with the sugar until the sugar melted. Then I took it the mixer off the double boiler and I started whizzing away with my handheld mixer at a medium speed. Little did I know what awaited me. What comes next is the biggest adventure in cupcake baking history. So hold on to those hats folks. The showdown between Ewa and the marshmallow frosting begins now…

So I am standing there for five minutes with an achey arm and I look down and the mixture is still watery…argh…frustration and despair! So I keep going and still no change. I can feel the frosting looking up at me smugly and laughing at my inexperience. There I was, glancing nervously at the clock, the grocery store was going to close in 15 minutes and I had no more eggs. My brain started frantically thinking: Do I have time? Yes I still have time. Should I get more eggs before they close? Should I throw this away? Should I start again? How can I save this frosting? What is going wrong?

I was down and out …hopeless and in despair. Confused and taunted by this useless frosting. It was coming down to the final minute. No more eggs, no more grocery store…and then I realized I had nothing to lose. So I went for it; it was all or nothing.

My first thought was: “Let’s turn the volume up on this bad-boy!” So I grabbed the bowl, gripped the 350 watt hand mixer and using a super-high-speed stirring motion and the highest speed on my little hand mixer, I went for it! For 4 minutes straight I whisked and whisked and whisked at full throttle. My reflection in the kitchen window was determined and concentrated and the rosiness in my cheeks was building. Then, I looked back down and the beauty had begun! WHITE peaks! Yes! Heavenly peaks!!! They were coming up …so I continued, harder, faster, stronger. And then firmer peak, yes!! I rocked it! The eggs starting to transform into these beautiful billowy clouds….with the momentum of my own hand and the 350 watts behind me, I had done it!

I did a happy dance in celebration and out loud and to its face, told the marshmallow frosting who was the boss! Oh yeah!!! Then another wave of triumph! Then a quick check to see if the peaks were still there. Yep, still there. Whew..Then another Boo-yeah! I am the Baddest Cupcaking Queen in town…Damn, I better get that printed on my wallet or something!

This moment of victory just zapped and killed all of my previous thoughts. They were all gone and left to replace them an immense feeling of triumph. Just triumph and pride at my creation of frosting. In my excitement I frosted all the cupcakes at lightening speed and hit broil on the oven to get them all golden. The toasting would have been much funner with a kitchen torch, but I guess you can’t have everything.

So how was the final product, you ask? In my opinion it was ok.

Key learnings:

1. I felt that the biscuit bottoms somehow absorbed the cupcake mixture and made the cupcake dry so, I am investigating a biscuit-chocolate recipe, where the biscuit is either sprinkled on top or part of the cake mix.

2. Bitter chocolate doesn’t really go with S’mores, so milk chocolate in the middle next time.

3. Vanilla extract in the marshmallow topping. In all my whipping furry, I forgot to mix in the vanilla. Oops!

4. Taller application of frosting. I want more loops and swirls of frosting, but alas, with 350W I couldn’t get enough air to keep the frosting standing tall and proud.

Testers’ response:

1. The public liked the frosting and found the sweetness balance just right.

2. The testers also found the cupcake a bit dry.

3. Several testers said that the appearance could be improved.

Overall, the results were not overwhelmingly bad, and actually the majority liked the cupcake. I myself, did not LOVE the cupcake. And I NEED to LOVE all my cupcakes. Equally and wholeheartedly. So I must carry on and leave this S’mores recipe battle for another day in the not so distant future.

P.S. You like the use of the old semi-colon in paragraph 6, eh?

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