Monday, January 11, 2010

Cupcakes and Coffee

Red velvet cupcakes and french-pressed coffee to be exact, but who wants to give away everything right with the title? I’ve been asked by several people for the recipe I used for my Christmas Red Velvet Cupcakes so I thought I’d write about it here. Well, while considering how I should proceed with the article, I decided to indulge on the remaining petite delicacies along with a well-deserved afternoon coffee delight.

Indulgence indeed but oh, it was heavenly. That’s when I realized (with the help of my Twitter friends) that most people are starting this decade with a resolve to be healthier. The guilt of butter (lots of it in the cupcake) and unfiltered coffee descended on me like Eve’s shame after eating fruit from the forbidden tree. Okay, it was a flitting guilt but it still made me pause (for about seven seconds).

It is a well-known fact among those who like to cook and like to eat that fat is a flavor carrier. So it becomes a challenge for those of us who thoroughly enjoy the culinary arts to cut fat out of our diets to sacrifice health for delight. I would rather die starving than give up the full sensory experience (a bit of an exaggeration).

The red velvet cupcake recipe I used can be found at the Cupcakes blog spot. After making the first batch of cupcakes and using a straight-up whipped cream frosting recipe (heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract), I was left a bit unsatisfied. So for the second batch, I added a ½ cup more butter and two ounces of water plus I used a whipped cream cream cheese frosting (adding one package of cream cheese to the mix). Adding a considerable amount of fat and, not to mention calories to the concoction have transformed it from a good cupcake recipe to a to-die-for piece of heaven.

I feel the same way about my coffee. A common rhetorical question I hear people ask is “why is my french-pressed coffee better than your drip?” That’s because traditional drip coffee uses a filter that absorbs most of the natural-occuring oils from the coffee grounds and, thus, alters the flavor of my favorite drink. Come on, what did you think that paper thing you put in your coffeemaker was filtering out? Duh. So beware of that enticing, sludgy, gritty potion you’re drinking – especially if you’re trying to decrease your cholesterol. However, if you want to continue indulging, please learn how to make french-pressed coffee properly so you can really enjoy your slow death.

So, what am I saying? I would be the last person to encourage people to forego the flavor carriers (have you seen me?). There are certain foods that need to be enjoyed and not merely ingested. If you’re indulging in these, then make sure you’re getting the full experience. There are a lot of other ways you can balance your fats by other healtier means and there’s a plethora of articles you can read about that. Me? I’m not the one who can properly advise you on this because I’m just like majority of the human race. You know in my dreams, the forbidden tree is actually a cafĂ© and they serve red velvet cupcakes and sinful coffee. I atone for my sins through absolution and an occassional sprinkling of water but there’s no way I will NOT take a bite. Guess I’m hopeless.