First the good news, the DC Food Blogger Bake Sale for Haiti this morning raised nearly $1,000 for Doctors Without Borders -- and made a substantial in kind donation of baked goods to N Street Village in Washington, DC. We had 23 people bake today and the selection was amazing - everything from homemade granola bars, cupcakes (lemon, banana, chocolate caramel), brownies (peppermint, vegan cheese cake and coffee), blondies, muffins (pumpkin, pecan), macarons, pound cakes, mini upside down cakes and more! Recipe round up here.
My contribution was the Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes... and I think they were pretty tasty in the end. I think a lot of people think that if you write a food blog, you're automatically an expert. Well, as anyone who followed my Twitter feed as I baked yesterday, I am not. But despite a week where everything that can go wrong did, they still turned out well. Good life lesson. When your caramel burns through no fault of your own - dump it and start over... it's not the end of the world.
Full story on the debacle after the jump...
I started out with a recipe from another blog that was based on a recipe in Martha Stewart's Cupcakes. There was a combo failure of a typo on the blog and me not understanding directions quite well. Here was how it all played out:
8:12 am Awake.
10:34am Start baking the chocolate cupcakes. (Duncan Hines Devils Food... don't judge, it was a busy weekend)
1:11pm Cupcakes have cooled. With a small paring knife, I cut little cone cores out of the middles (to pour salted caramel into). All is well in Florida Girl baking world. Next up: caramel from scratch (for the first time. EVER.)
1:21pm ACTUAL TWEET: "Getting nervous. Sugar, water, corn syrup boiling but seems stuck at 200 degrees. Gotta get to 360 before adding the whipping cream."
1:38 pm ACTUAL TWEET "Pretty sure something's NOT right with the caramel. #bakingFAIL"
1:40pm ACTUAL TWEET "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I am throwing away that pan rather than try to clean 5 cups of burnt caramel out of it. 360 degrees must be wrong." @Shaw_Girl tweets me back that 360 is WAY too high. Like 100 degrees to high.
2:04pm Considers just getting baked goods from Whole Foods and trying to pass them off as my own. Eats some Ciao Bella Coconut Gelato with chocolate cupcake cores on top while pondering break down.
2:17pm @SkinsHoos comes to my rescue and tells me how to clean the pan (if this ever happens to you, add soapy water to the pan, bring to a boil, dump and repeat til clean... amazed that it worked. This stuff was like hard plastic.)
2:30pm Decide to take break, go help brother unpack at his new apartment.
7:50pm Back home. Operation remove burnt caramel from pot underway.
8:30pm Just finished pan clean up. It's Earth Hour. Decide to celebrate with candle lit bath to chill, relax and begin caramel and icing with a new outlook.
9:50pm Caramel Part 2. On and perfectly successful. So happy I am not a food blogger failure. So far. Begin filling cupcake cores.
11:00pm Making buttercream icing. It's weird and involves both semisweet chocolate melted, butter, sugar, but also a water/cocoa powder combo. Doesn't seem to be coming together well... at all. Decide maybe it's a temperature issue, so put the mixture in the refrigerator and watch an episode of Greek on Hulu.
11:20pm Take icing out, beat it for another couple of minutes. Better. Maybe would be better with another 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Also, I want to know what happens with Casey and Cappie.
11:40pm Take icing out, beat another couple of minutes. Still not perfect but looks and tastes yummy. Try it out on one cupcake and decide it's delicious. (Also I am very sleepy.) Ice and package 48 cupcakes.
2:17am Get in bed. Zzzz.
In the end, Twitter pals came to my rescue (again), the bake sale was a great success, we raised awareness for the continued needs in Haiti, donated the leftover goodies to a great local organization, got to spend the morning with wonderful people... and now I know how to make caramel from scratch. (Will post specifically on that next.)