This week’s challenge ingredient is Garlic. I’d really like to visit the Gilroy Garlic Festival sometime, but couldn’t get there in time for inspiration to use this ingredient.
I did wait for local garlic to become available at my favorite farm. I pondered how to best feature the flavor of garlic in a Sweet and decided to combine it with local honey and lemon. The resulting treat is a delicious, moist cake that will melt in your mouth, a tart glaze on top and a honey garlic brittle that reminded me of the Bit-O-Honey candy bar, only with a touch of garlic. The brittle was my favorite part, but everyone on this week’s tasting squad really liked the cupcake. It’s one of the best lemon treats I’ve made.
You will need to follow four recipes to make these cupcakes. First, the actual cupcake. Then you will make a Garlic Simple Syrup which will be used to brush the top of the cakes after baking. Then you’ll make a super easy lemon glaze for the top and finally, the honey garlic brittle.
Oh, hey, speaking of honey! My friends at Honey Ridge Farms are offering up a nifty discount, 10% off any of their products. Just enter discount code HRF10 at checkout. And now, the recipes…
Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes
Makes 18 cupcakes
1 cup of my favorite gluten-free flour blend
1 cup of almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill is my preference)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. guar gum
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup local honey
1 1/4 cup tofu ricotta cheese–Recipe Below
2 t. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1 stick Earth Balance vegan butter-y sticks, melted and allowed to cool
2 T. fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together flours, baking powder and guar gum. Set aside.
Cream eggs, sugar and honey in stand mixer for 2 to 3o minutes until a pale yellow color is reached. Incorporate tofu ricotta cheese, melted butter-y stick, vanilla bean paste or extract, lemon juice and lemon zest. Slowly add in the flour mixture, mixing well on medium until batter is smooth.
Insert cupcake papers into pans, fill with scant 1/3 cup of batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle will come out clean when these are done.
2 boxes of extra firm silken tofu, 12.3 ounce boxes
1/2 cup plus 2 T. raw cashew pieces, ground fine (I use a coffee bean grinder)
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. sea salt
Mix 3/4 of the tofu, crumbled, with the cashew pieces, lemon juice and salt in food processor until it is very smooth, like a nice buttercream frosting. Add in the remaining crumbled tofu and process again. This will be smooth with just a touch of graininess due to the cashews. Refrigerate for at least one hour prior to use. You will not need the whole batch for the cupcakes. The remainder will keep in the refrigerator for about one week.
The Honey Garlic Brittle was inspired by this recipe from Emerils.com. Modifications have been made to make this work best for my application, including changing the water/sugar ratio in the simple syrup. Bam.
Garlic Simple Syrup
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar and garlic slices. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, strain out garlic and reserve for use in the brittle.
Honey Garlic Brittle
*Note: This will work best if the humidity is relatively low. If it is extremely hot and humid, you may end up with puddles of something very similar to the Bit-O-Honey candy bar, chewy, gooey and dental work removing. You’ll miss out on the brittle part but it will still taste great!
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup local honey
1 t. salt
1 T. Earth Balance vegan butter-y stick
1/4 t. baking sodo
reserved garlic from simple syrup recipe
Using a mortar and pestle, mash the reserved garlic slices from the simply syrup recipe. Set aside.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar, 4 or 5 minutes. Add corn syrup, local honey and salt. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Continue stirring until mixture reaches 290 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove the pan from heat, add in butter, garlic puree and baking soda. Stir until butter is completely melted.
Carefully pour the mixture onto the baking sheet. Spread out evenly with a spatula. Let cool completely before breaking into shards.
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Combine sugar and lemon juice by stirring.
To Assemble Cupcakes:
Allow cupcakes to cool about halfway, they should still be a little warmer than room temperature when you start assembling.
On a cooling rack, use a pastry brush to lightly coat the tops of the cupcakes with the garlic simple syrup. Not only does this add garlic flavor to the cupcakes, it will also help to keep them moist.
Next, add a generous teaspoon of Lemon Glaze to the top of the cupcakes. If the cakes are still slightly warm, this will help the glaze to spread more easily.
Allow the glaze to set up and the cupcakes to cool to room temperature.
The final step is to insert a shard of the honey garlic brittle into the top of each cupcake.