For this week's addition of Baked Sunday Morning we are tackling Tomato Soup Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting. Hmm? Usually, they would have had me at mascarpone, but the tomato soup, really? I have seen a few recipes for cakes and cupcakes using tomato soup as an ingredient, but I have never felt a need to attempt one. Not because I thought they wouldn't taste good (tomato soup and grilled cheese is one of my all-time favorites after all), but more from the perspective of -- I have stacks of other recipes I want to try first! This, however, is why I love baking clubs. I would have simply passed over this recipe and moved on to something more in my comfort zone. But not today, I have decided that Matt & Renato of Baked Explorations have yet to lead me astray. Not only am I eager to make these, I am also going to get a little crazy and try them 'savory style'.... should be interesting!
There were two versions of this recipe in Matt & Renato's book. The written recipe called for cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Alright, I am familiar with all those flavors, and they can make almost anything taste good if used properly. Then, in a tiny, easily overlooked corner of the page (in the 'Baker's Note' section), it is mentioned that you can really go crazy with these by omitting the above spices and substituting them with fresh ground pepper and extra salt. Doesn't that sound fantastically different? I am in!
First, let me say these baked up beautifully. I tasted the cupcakes alone right after they cooled. They were moist, tender and fluffy. They were texturally perfect. They also tasted like tomato soup...just like I sipped it right off a spoon. The flavor of the fresh ground pepper added a nice little savory bite, but so very strange.
Enter the frosting. I whipped up this heavenly concoction and had to restrain myself from eating it all before I frosted the cupcakes. It was temperamental, but divine! I'd have to say, I can think of a dozen other recipes that I would use this with, but I wasn't so sure how it would pair with the tomato soup cupcakes. It seemed like it would be a waste of a beautiful thing....
Sadly, my fears on the frosting were confirmed. The flavor profile of these never quite came together for me. The frosting on its own was delicious, but I couldn't get past the cupcake flavor. I felt a bit like I was licking the wallpaper in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory ... "The Snozzberry taste just like a Snozzberry! The Tomato Soup Cupcake tastes just like a Tomato Soup Cupcake!" By no means was it a poorly written recipe, it just wasn't for me. Am I glad I tried it? You bet! I loved the challenge of this week, and I hope there are more like this to come!
Click here for Matt & Renato's Tomato Soup Cupcake recipe, and to see the what my fellow bakers thought of these week's challenge.
In closing, I want to wish all you lovely, patient and deserving moms out there a very Happy Mother's Day! I hope you have as relaxing and enjoyable of a day as you possibly can... I think we all secretly fantasize for a fleeting moment about doing nothing on Mother's Day but sitting in a bubble bath with a nice glass of wine and a trashy tabloid, but alas, it is not to be. Instead, we get to be kissed and hugged all day by our loving, smiling kids, and visit with our own mother's who would kill us if we ever tried to wiggle out of spending the day with them...at least that is how it is in my family :) It's not such a bad trade off in my book.
Jaime @ The Great Cake Company