This week’s challenge almost didn’t happen. Our roof rat issue in the attic escalated to our water pipes being chewed through 4 nights in a row and we subsequently had to move to a hotel. The water has been turned off and will not be fixed until we know the problem is eradicated. Those rat bastards!
I spent 2 full days at my parents house helping them prepare for Thanksgiving, which had to be moved there as we were going to host and obviously that wasn’t happening. Did a lot of baking; we had a derby pie, cherry pie, and chocolate pie. They were all pretty amazing.
After spending so much time driving, I didn’t want to drive back to my parents house to do this challenge. So at the last minute, I decided that I could just wash my dirty dishes in the backyard with the hose. Baking challenge accepted.
The preheat was to make a holiday inspired trifle. I’ve never made one. After some thought, I decided upon a gingerbread cake with pumpkin whipped cream and candied walnuts. Was given 45 minutes to complete and had no trouble this week finishing in the allotted time. Trickiest part was getting the cake cooled in time so the whipped cream wouldn’t melt. Thank you freezer!
End result . . . not sure how I felt about the cake by itself. The recipe called for self-rising flour which I didn’t have. I ended up adding some baking powder and a little more flour because it was very watery. The pumpkin whipped cream was just right and together with the cake and nuts for crunch, c’est magnifique! Notice the plastic cups and plastic forks. Tried to use the least amount of equipment that I would need to wash.
The main challenge this week was Thanksgiving imposters, in cupcake form. I premade some modeling chocolate and then put 90 minutes on the clock.
For the cake, I took a white cake recipe and added the zest of 1 large orange. The twist in the challenge was to incorporate cranberries, so I added dried cranberries in the batter. It took 15 minutes to get the cupcakes in the oven. I feel myself starting to move faster in the kitchen. And with about a 30 minute baking time, I was feeling confident on finishing in time.
While the cupcakes were baking, I made the frosting. A new one for me; champagne buttercream. And for irony, used Cupcake Prosecco. Took quite a bit of champagne to reach the desired consistency. In a taste test, it kind of left a thirstiness behind.
Still had some time while the cupcakes finished baking, so I got started on the decorations. My family has certain dishes that are a must for Thanksgiving and I wanted to show that on my cupcakes. Mashed potatoes seemed like a no brainer. My frosting was white so all I needed to do was dollop some on and put a little pat of butter (yellow modeling chocolate that appeared to be melting) in the middle.
Second imposter would be green beans and ham hocks. My boyfriend is pretty disgusted with this family tradition as the green beans are cooked to complete mush, but we like them. I used more colored modeling chocolate for this one.
For my last imposter, I went with sweet potato casserole. My mom and I love Kathy Lee Giffords recipe (yeah, I know) which is topped with walnuts and brown sugar as opposed to marshmallows. I already had the candied walnuts from the preheat, so this would be quick and easy; just color the frosting to orange and throw on some of the nuts and brown sugar.
My cupcakes were maybe slightly overfilled, but not a problem. I threw them in the freezer as soon as they came out to get them cool enough to frost. Gave them sufficient time in the freezer and only took them out with 10 minutes left in the challenge. Because the decorations were made while the cupcakes were baking/cooling, it was super easy to assemble. I finished with 1 minute to spare.
Happy with the result. The flavor was lovely and the frosting went well with the cake. I wasn’t as happy with having to wash everything in the backyard with a hose. Really hoping our house can be habitable (ie. running water) for the next challenge.