Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Summer Cantaloupe Cupcakes

Yeah, it's Cupcake Hero time again. This time the Cupcake Hero Staff are on summer vacation and the lovely April of Abby Sweets is hosting the event. The theme for June is melon. Any kind of melon we want. The sky's the limit. There's only one small problem.

I don't like melon. Any of it. It all falls squarely on the I'm Not Eating It list. This was going to provide one heck of a challenge for me. So I started thinking of which melons I don't dislike as much as the others. Honeydew ranks at the bottom for me. And I'm not at all a fan of watermelon. I'd rather go hungry. But I did have a cantaloupe salad once that I sort of thought was okay. So I narrowed down the melon theme to cantaloupe.

Then I started thinking some more. There's a small town in North Central Ohio, not far from over here in Nowhere, Ohio. And every Labor Day Weekend they have the Milan Melon Festival. Mostly they pack a lot of food vendors in the town square, they have a 5k race and it's your standard small town festival. The thing about the Milan Melon Festival though is that Toft's Dairy out of Sandusky makes a cantaloupe ice cream specifically for the festival. And if you get there on Labor Day, chances are they've run out. And they don't make it any other time of the year. The crazy thing is that I actually really like the cantaloupe ice cream. Bizarre.

So with the melon salad I had once and the ice cream in my head, I called around to see what other people like about melon. My sister, Super G, told me that "even people who like melon, don't like it warm". She was a little put off by the idea of a baked melon cupcake. She told me she liked melons that are cold, juicy and sweet. The Queen Geek, told me she likes that melons have very few calories. She sees them more as a vehicle for berries in fruit salads.

Thus the Summer Cantaloupe Cupcake was born. I tried to keep the lightness of the melon and not overpower it's subtle flavor by making it a white cake with just a hint of ginger. I knew from that one salad the one time that ginger and melon go well together. Then I decided to get fancy and create a melon curd. I didn't know it could be done. But I did it. Hooray! It's actually pretty good. And adding that to the center of the simple white cupcake contributes to the juicy factor of melon that Super G likes. Then I topped the whole cupcake with a cantaloupe cream cheese frosting which has a subtle flavor that reminds me of that ice cream at the melon festival.

I have a feeling if you like melon you will really like this cupcake. Because I don't think it's too bad.

Summer Cantaloupe Cupcakes
an original Shazam recipe

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in 16 cupcake wells.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.Whisk egg whites and milk together in a small bowl to combine; set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternately with the egg white and milk mixture. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat briefly until smooth on medium speed after each addition.

Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges turn light golden brown; a toothpick inserted in the center will show a few moist crumbs. Set aside to cool completely.

melon curd:
1/2 cantaloupe peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 cup sugar1 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Puree the first 4 ingredients in processor, scraping down sides of work bowl occasionally. Add yolks; puree 15 seconds longer. Strain through sieve set over large glass bowl, pressing on solids with back of spatula to release as much puree as possible. Discard solids in sieve.

Set glass bowl over sauce pan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk puree until thickened and thermometer registers 170 degrees F, about 12 minutes. Remove from over water. Whisk in butter. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

4 cups powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 (8oz.) package Neufatchel cheese
6 Tbsp Cantaloupe curd

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar and beat well. Add cantaloupe curd and beat well.

to assemble:
Once cupcakes are cool, with a paring knife cut out a cone from the top of each cupcake. Level off the top of the cone to create a space on the inside of the cupcake. Fill the space with a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of curd. Replace the cupcake top. Pipe the frosting on top. If the frosting is soft chill for 20 minutes or until firm enough to pipe.


April said...

MMM, looks delicious! I can't wait to try it!

Anonymous said...

It is beautiful! I join you in the "don't care for melon" club. And, the boys around here? I'll bet you can guess ...

Peter M said...

A simple beauty...like a single rose...with a gooey filling in it! lol

Mrs. White said...

I can't stand melon either, but I love cupcakes and I love the color yellow so these still look pretty yummy to me. Truth is, add enough sugar to any fruit and it's probably edible, right? ;)

CB said...

You and me both sister. I do not like melon either so this month will be a bit of a doozy. Looks like you put your cupcake cap on and baked up a winner! Great job!

Miss. Von Schtoop said...

Oh my gawd! Yum! Those look amazing.

Deborah said...

I love melon, but I think this would be a very hard cupcake to come up with. You've done an amazing job!! I hope you win.

Johanna said...

these look amazing for the melon lovers but I am with you on melons - I have come to love cucumber (which I think are just savoury melons) and the occasional watermelon on a hot day but other melons leave me cold!

Cakelaw said...

These look scrumptious!!! The photo with the melon curd oozing out is just devine - I want one!!! Melon in a cake doesn't put me off at all.

Mara said...

Melon curd, how creative, I love it...look at it oozing out of there...so pretty and summery. I am a huge melon fan but this was a challenge for me too. Warm melons?! hee!