Dharma Cupcakes

My friend Cristine is an amazing cooker. I know that makes her sound like a big pot, but she is, indeed, a lady. She cooks and bakes and makes and blogs about it and recently, she opened up her blog (which is amazing food porn) to guest bloggers and ta-da!…  I think of last weekend’s SNL sketch where my fave fellow University of Arizona alum, Kristen Wiig (take that Greg Kinnear and Craig T. Nelson!), dressed in 1930′s glam, is at a dinner party and keeps repeating “Don’t make me siiiing.”

Well, don’t make me post. (‘Cuz you know I’m gonna.)

Here is my entry for Cris’s cooking blog. My endeavor satisfied a feisty itch to get back into the kitch and I am oh-so-glad I did it.

The Dharma Cupcake’s story is a lovely one. I found myself on the cusp of my Lost Final Season Premiere Party searching for trifle recipes that would be 1) quick and easy 2) have a fruity, island theme, and 3) go well with graham crackers because the latter I planned on crumbling into a fine sand atop the trifle so that I could crash a doctored model airplane on top of it.  Foam Oceanic Flight 815 in hand, I browsed my way into 17andbaking.com and my world changed. Dramatic, yes, but hang on.

The girl is seventeen and, well, baking (read her story on her blog). In one of her recipes, she pays tribute to the all-American Hostess cupcake by adding something just as American to the mix: caffeine.

Alarm bells rang as I immediately removed the iconic Hostess swirlies in my mind’s eye and replaced them with perfect Dharma Initiative logos in espresso-spiked frosting. My dessert dilemma was over. We would have Lost cupcakes!

Now, artistic people should always challenge themselves technically as well as creatively in order to maintain their skills. I can boast that, since toddlerhood, I’ve known my way around a crayon and now have decent strengths in acrylics, ink and pencils stolen, er, borrowed from favorite sushi restaurants. I can draw a straight line like nobody’s business.

Enter piping. Is that what it’s called in The Biz? When you squeeze luxurious sugar crème from a bag, through a metal opening and onto a scrumptious treat? (Did I mention these were mini cupcakes? Holy carpal tunnel, Batman!). Yeah, I’m awful at it. There’s definitely room for improvement here.

But do you want to know the best part? They could look like rubbish and they would still be d e l e c t a b l e.

That being said, I introduce the Dharma Cupcake (I renamed it for my own tv-holic purposes). Imagine this: espresso-choco airy cake filled with espresso-sugar frosting, covered in bittersweet ganache and decorated with even more espresso-sugar frosting. All in the span of one itsy bitsy bite. Critics of sweetness will find that it is not overpowering, but delicate, yet adult in its coffee essence.

I am a fan. I will be making them again and again because I will overcome my shaky piping hand. Until then, I am fine with messing up because licking that rogue frosting is not the worst thing in the world.

Notes: I did find that the recipes for both the frosting and the ganache yielded a bit too much product, while the cake batter yielded the perfect amount.  I also found that filling the mini cupcake liners ¾-full was more effective. Bon appétit!

Recipe can be found here.

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