Surprise! This decadent dessert may have originated in England, not France… maybe, most likely, probably, I dunno. On my last day in London, the last meal of the journey took place at Dean Street Townhouse in Soho, where I capped it off with a Crème Brûlée (which appeared on the menu as “Trinity Vanilla Cream”). A symphony of rich creamy vanilla custard and crunchy toffee is just as sweet, no matter where it’s from. But for the sake of my “British Invasion” series, let’s say England.
Continuing my exploitation of traditional British desserts, here’s one that does not date back as far as Victorian times, but rather the 70s by two gents who seem to have been conducting their own Epic Meal Time experiments. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of bananas unless they are mashed up and blended into a fluffy batter and baked… so that’s exactly how I incorporated the rich banana flavour into this cupcake. Adding a layer of dulce de leche on top allowing it to seep into the cake was just the icing under the icing on the cake.
The best way to learn about a culture is by eating it, I always say. It’s so easy to be inspired when you learn more about a culture’s food and its history. Paired with my love for culinary challenges and my fascination with the cupcake’s versatility, finding and creating a cupcake recipe inspired by another dessert was something that excited me for the duration of my recent trip to London.
While I enjoyed the sights of London with its history, architecture, parks, and people, I felt most at home at the Borough Market where I picked up a small jar of pure Madagascan vanilla powder, a pinch of which would transform a simple buttercream into an aromatic addition to any cake. I was, however, unsuccessful in finding the right jam for me at the Market (I went on one of its lesser volume days). Then I was introduced to Fortnum & Mason where a modest jar of strawberry preserves waited for me.
From time to time, a How-to recipe video floats around the interwebs. It gets shared on Facebook, it might even garner a “Like” but very seldom do I actually make an attempt to item in question… until the Apple Rose.
For Thanksgiving, it seemed to hit all the right buttons for an autumn post meal dessert: apples, cinnamon, pastry, and of course the presentation was sure to wow. At the risk of this ending up in the “Nailed It!” meme pile, I gave it a go. I’m happy to say I actually nailed it.
I tend to judge a Chinese restaurant by their fried rice, a Thai place by the Pad Thai, a pizzeria by its pepperoni and cheese, and a bakery by its vanilla cupcake. The beauty of its simplicity lies in how versatile it can be yet how it can stand alone as a dessert show-stopper untouched. Two ways I’ve played with this recipe is first by giving it a tropical flare by topping it with toasted coconut and candied dried pineapple, and then filling the cupcake with something (in this case, some candy… more on that later).