Look at this gorgeous carrot and salted caramel cupcake. Delicious, no?
Instead of just inhaling it, I made it.
I had the fun and honor of baking with Pichet Ong the other night. We made chevre cheesecake parfait, apple tartlettes, stilton soufflés with basil and arugula ice cream and, my favorite, the cupcake, which in addition to its beautiful caramel frosting tinged with vanilla and coffee, had a lime cream cheese filling.
The cupcake was then sprinkled with Maldon salt—as are many of Pichet’s desserts. His philosophy? “When you add salt, your mouth is watering and you can taste everything a little more.”
A few other kitchen tips I learned:
• Instead of dumping your spices into the dry ingredients, like most traditional baking recipes advocate, add them to the fats—the butter and oil—so the flavors are absorbed and more pronounced in the finished good.
• “Only use unsalted butter. Salted butter doesn’t have the full potential of flavor; it tastes flat.”
• The longer you cream your buttercream frosting, the fluffier it will be.
• On the act of frosting: “I start with a lot and then remove,” Pichet says. He also likens it to “the ultimate spa experience—it’s therapeutic, you can have intimate conversations while doing it, you can listen to Madonna…”
The class was through ICE, but Pichet’s promising to offer his own, so keep your eyes and ears open. And, while you’re at it, be on the lookout for his limited edition pumpkin cupcakes. He also promised that they’re delicious, and I have no reason to doubt him on that.