Last Thanksgiving I was looking for ways to mix new and familiar flavors together in order to get people to try new ingredients. When I saw the recipe for Pumpkin Layer Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting and Quince-Ginger Compote from a local food blog Bitten Word, I knew I had found the perfect fit. These cupcakes were such a hit at my office that I made them once for our group Thanksgiving Potluck and a few weeks later for our organization’s Holiday Bowling party.
The frosting is basically half goat cheese and half cream cheese, which makes the final product thicker and tangier. This way, it doesn’t compete with the spicy cake or become too sweet when paired with the quince topping. Since I used the recipe for a two-layer cake and adapted it into cupcakes, there was a lot of quince topping left over. This just meant that the second time I made the cupcakes I didn’t have to make the topping again! The topping also goes well with yogurt, oatmeal, or could be baked into a dessert of its own. I also drizzled some of the quince syrup on top of the cupcakes to add some more moisture and flavor.
If you aren’t able to find quince in your local grocery store, try substituting with Asian pears. The peak for the quince market often depends on your physical location and by the time you hear whispers of quince, they’re already gone!
Last year, October 16th 2010 I went to Crooked Run Orchard with my boyfriend to pick apples. Crooked Run is a bit of a trek from the city, but it isn’t the furthest orchard by far. Prices were quite reasonable and there were many variaties to choose from. Pumpkins were advertised, but the gourd lot was barren. Parking was a bit tight, but the day was crisp and sunny. After picking the apples I couldn’t believe that I had never been apple picking before! It’s such a fun activity, especially when you’re able to move at your own pace. We took our spoils home with us and made an apple pie out of the apples we picked. In my experience, picking or growing whatever produce you use makes the end product taste much better, since you know exactly what went into it.
These cupcakes were made by my boyfriend’s mother last September. She used a recipe similar to the carrot cake cupcakes she made for CupcakeCampDC 2010 and won first place for! The little fox in the bottom right hand corner is a baby fox that I picked up at the Christmas Store in Outer Banks the month before.
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As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for a free box of Magnum Ice Cream bars. Out of the four flavors, only vanilla and double chocolate were available in our local grocery store.
The bars are true to promotional photos, but they are a tad on the small side, considering you only get 3 bars in a box for $3.00. They were crunchy, refreshing, and cold, but I couldn’t tell the “premium” ingredients that are supposed to set these bars apart from others. I’ll just stick to the nostalgic fudgesicles or Dove bars–until maybe we get the other flavors here!