1. I’ve used nuts.
2. The bride hates tomatoes. She put them on her evil foods list.
3. Tomato cupcakes at a wedding? I don’t think so.
2. Our tomato plant has been very kind to us this year. See the picture. I figure I should give back to tomatoes by supporting them as well.
Where to begin with a tomato cupcake? Luckily, Garrett of Vanilla Garlic had paved the road by creating a tomato soup cupcake recipe back in October of ’06. In his post about the cupcakes, he points out that they took 5 minutes to make. While that has great appeal, I thought I would have to make them slightly more snazzy to win a contest.
Again my favorite cupcake blogs did not let me down. Chockylit of Cupcake Bakeshop had a recipe for a basil cream filling. I thought giving the cupcake a filling would sweeten up what had the potential to be a more muffiny cupcake.
I spent some time thinking about the topping. I debated for a while using a cream cheese frosting as Garrett had done. At first, I couldn’t picture cream cheese with tomato. Then it hit me… “Hello, what kind of Jew are you? Bagels, cream cheese, tomatoes, and lox.” Wow, I must be out of NY too long. Despite the realization about the joy of cream cheese and tomatoes, I opted against the cream cheese in favor of a tomato honey glaze. I really wanted to take the tomato flavor home.
For the final and perhaps most important component, I found a recipe for pesto truffles on The Dough Ball.
I essentially turned a 5 minute cupcake into an all-day baking adventure.
This cupcake was a meal in itself. A unique, delicious, and filling meal. The only thing I would change is to put more filling into each cupcake. I really enjoyed the bites where I had both filling and cake. I might also try it with some actual frosting. I loved the glaze, but I’m not sure how much it added to the whole thing. It was great when I first made it. It tasted like a tomato version of applesauce. (I might even make it again for that very purpose. Maybe to serve with a potato pancake, for example.) However, by the next day it had absorbed a bit too much into the cupcake.
The Results that Counted
Finally, announcement time came. First place went to…. Tomato Beer. Come on, it’s 90 degrees out and people are at a drinking event. That’s a shoo-in winner. Congrats to Mr. Tomato Beer if you ever happen to come across my blog. Second place went to someone else and third place went to someone else. Guess I wasted my time. But no, turns out they created a special prize just for my tomato cupcakes! The judges gave me runner up because they LOVED them but they didn’t think they were quite tomato flavored enough to give them the big prize. Hey, I’ll take it. The prize was a free dinner for two at Iron Barley. Woohoo!
In case anyone doubts my prize winning, (I have no idea why you would), here is some video evidence.
This next video is of my acceptance speech. I have thus far avoided even putting a picture of me on this blog. However, I just love listening to the oohs and ahhs on this video so I had to share. There goes my anonymity. Feel free to ignore me (unless you are a member of my immediate family, in which case I expect high props) and focus on the oohs and ahhs. It’s fun, at least for me. Note that when I brought the leftover pesto truffles into work, I got “ugh – no thanks”. Different strokes for different folks.
Detailed Baking Notes
This next part is the detailed baking notes for any other crazy cupcake people who would like to spend a whole day making a cupcake or for anyone who would like to make just a small component of them (for example the truffles). I had to write this up to enter the contest which is why you are getting more detailed notes than normal.
Makes dozens. You will definitely have more truffles than cupcakes and you will be happy about that. Truffle recipe found on http://thedoughball.blogspot.com/2007/06/my-second-sugar-high-friday-and-my.html
Modified from a recipe found on http://vanillagarlic.blogspot.com/2006/10/tomato-soup-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese.html.
(The reason for the modification was simply that all the condensed tomato soup that I found had high fructose corn syrup in it. Therefore, I tried to reproduce condensed tomato soup on my own with regular corn syrup. If you don’t care about eating high fructose corn syrup, I’d use Garrett’s recipe. It’s probably lighter.)
Basil Cream Filling
Honey Tomato Glaze
Modified from a recipe found on http://www.foodtv.ca/recipes/recipedetails.aspx?dishid=7445