Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gingerbread Cupcakes with a Caramel Glaze

The recipe for these cupcakes was taken directly from "Baking From The Heart"(2004), a collection of baking recipes complied by Michael J. Rosen. The actual cupcake recipe was provided by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock, and more specifically, Lewis' mother. This gingerbread recipe was allegedly discovered inside of an old notebook, and is approximated to be about 100 years of age. How can somebody say that there is no historical aspect to cooking? Scott Peacock's quote about this recipe's lineage pretty much summarizes everything I believe about cooking:
"Cooking is a dialogue that takes place between a person and whatever he or she is making. Between the past and the present. Between one generation and another. So even is I make a dish that isn't exactly the way you remember it tasting in your family's version, tasting and smelling my version can reconnect you with those people and that special dish, because it turns out that what we're all looking for is not so much an ideal that's taste, but an ideal that's emotional: an echo of that time when you felt secure and loved and all things were still possible."

Now what about this recipe? What did I think? The cupcakes were very moist and had a robust molasses flavor. They were definitely not what I was expecting. These cupcakes were not airy and fluffy; dense and powerful would be better words to describe the consistency. They were more spicy and gingerbready than sweet. The caramel glaze is a must because it adds an unexpected sweetness and beauty to the finished piece. I really liked these cupcakes and had a lot of fun putting them together (the caramel glaze was especially exciting to prepare). However, I would not say that everyone at the party would love these cakes. I feel like they are a product of the Great Depression, or some time in history that only relied upon the necessities. The recipe is simple, but the end product makes a resonating culinary statement. You have to be ready for these cupcakes because they do not joke around.

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