Monday, May 16, 2011

Sweet Deals

I'll be honest, I’m not a baker! Other than a few cakes, cookies and some brownies, I haven’t put my head and heart to baking. Somehow this line of cooking has failed to excite me. Not that I don’t enjoy those guilty pleasures..oh, I do! But guilt surpasses the joy of biting into a luscious cake or a chocolaty brownie after seeing the amount of butter going in with my own eyes. On top of that, I don't really do well with measuring cups - heck, I don't even own one! And having an enthusiastic baker for a neighbor the last 3 years, there was no dearth of baked goods around providing little motivation for me to bake. I got to indulge without having left overs lingering in the fridge enticing me to down those extra calories (I have little self control when it comes to sweets and prefer not having any in the house instead of looking at something in the fridge I shouldn't have). Yet, I dared to enter. I participated in a bake sale on Saturday to raise money for Share Our Strength. I didn’t go in to show my baking talent (I doubt I possess any) or to start a new string of experiments in the kitchen but rather to support a good cause and meet fellow bloggers from San Diego. And I enjoyed every minute of it, not to forget learned lots.
 The day was gray and somewhat chilly but we had a great crowd at the bake sale where bloggers from San Diego put up tasty treats for sale. The goodies were a treat to the eyes...neately packed and elegantly decorated with colorful ribbons and stickers. We had a successful day with around $1750 dollars raised that went towards eliminating child hunger. I made Semolina cake and Mango-cardamom cupcakes for the event. Lesson learned, go with safe choices like vanilla-chocolate for a fund-raiser! There were some people who asked me what cardamoms were. Yet..the cupcakes were well received at the bake sale and I personally enjoyed them along with my hubby and our friends. Being able to bake something new without a kitchen disaster gave me a new level of confidence and I may just attempt a new cake for some special occasion instead of picking one up from my favorite bakery.
 I won't write the entire recipe but I used a simple Vanilla cupcake recipe as a base and modified it to incorporate Alphanso Mango Puree and Cardamom powder from two pods. I cut the measurements in half from the original recipe since I made mini-cupcakes, and put about 3/4 cups of mango puree instead of milk first and added just a little bit of milk and a couple of tablespoons of flour to get the right consistency. I topped the cupcakes with a home made butter-cream cheese frosting with fresh chopped Hayden mangoes and a little bit of Alphanso puree. The taste of mangoes just takes me back to the mango-filled summers spent in India and this cupcake was a new addition to the hundred other mango recipes I know (like any other Indian).
 Here are some pictures:
Hayden Mango
Mango-cardamom cupcakes
Table full of baked goods
Lookin' good, there!
My cupcakes

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