I’ve been dreading writing this post. It’s torture to write about projects that don’t work. It forces me to relive the trauma. Deep breath. Here we go…
It started with a birthday. Our friend’s son was turning one and he was having a watermelon-themed party. I offered to bring some cupcakes (just 24 – a much easier task than others that I’ve undertaken). My goal was to make watermelon cupcakes that tasted (rather than looked) like watermelon.
Both the watermelon syrup and watermelon butter that I prepared as cupcake ingredients had a strong watermelon flavor. When baked into a cake, however, any semblance of their watermelon flavor disappeared in in the oven like lost socks in the dryer. My bright red syrup produced a cake so yellow that it may as well have come from a Duncan Hines box – no red color and no watermelon taste. Even the watermelon glaze that I topped the cupcakes with was a bust; it vanished into the cupcakes as if it never existed.
Luckily, I found some cute watermelon candies at the oldest and most esteemed candy shop in St. Louis, Crown Candy Kitchen. Without the watermelon candy, no one would have ever known that my cupcakes were supposed to be watermelon-flavored. Although, perhaps not knowing would have been better – everyone loves a good yellow cake.
I’m only posting the watermelon cupcake recipe because perhaps/hopefully some of you will be able to suggest where I went wrong and advise me on how to make a better watermelon cupcake. You’ll note that the title of this post includes the phrase “attempt one.” I plan to have an “attempt two” sometime to try and get it right.
I wonder how you added the watermelon syrup to the cupcakes. In the past, when I’ve tried to flavor cupcakes with syrup, putting the syrup in the batter didn’t make much of a difference. I brushed the syrup on top of the cooked cupcakes before frosting (or skipped the frosting). It soaked into the cake and flavored it pretty well.
I’ve also used the drip-the-syrup-into-the-cupcake technique in the past (see my Shirley Temple cupcakes). With my watermelon cupcakes, adding the syrup after baking just made them extra wet and soggy – no watermelon-flavor. Maybe if I started with a drier cupcake with no watermelon syrup and then added the syrup, I would have had more success.
What other ideas do you have?