A good friend of mine is Canadian and in celebration of her birthday I wanted to make a tribute to Canada in cupcakes. Another friend and I tossed around ideas of what we thought of when we thought of Canada, including:
maple (trees, leaf, syrup)
people who want to live in the 51st US state (just kidding!)
My friend is from western Canada, so that ruled out the maple. Some of other concepts were difficult to put into a dessert. While googling for other ideas, we also found a recipe for the Great Canadian Ketchup cake. This seemed intriguing and definitely fit the theme. Although I don’t particularly associate ketchup with Canada, why not. This recipe is from the Heinz website that was in honor of its centennial in Canada. We thought the poutine would make an excellent decoration. Poutine is basically fries with gravy and cheese curds, although there are many variations.
The cupcakes were quite tasty and if I didn’t mention the secret ingredient, no one would have known it was ketchup. They had nice texture, were moist, and tasted like a spice cake. I used a red food gel food coloring to get the intense color, although my pictures don’t show it, they were very red. I kept the quirkiness of the original recipe with the letter “u” in color, etc. The poutine decoration added a nice crunchy texture and a bit of salt. Overall, these worked very well. With the theme decoration these won’t be in the regular rotation, but I would make them again.
Great Canadian Ketchup Cupcake with Poutine
makes about 22 cupcakes
2 cups (500 mL) All-purpose ﬂour
2 tsp (10 mL) Baking powder
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) Ground cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) Baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) Each ground nutmeg and ginger
1/2 cup (125 mL) Heinz Tomato Ketchup
1/2 cup (125 mL) Water
2 tbsp (30 mL) Red food colouring
3/4 cup (175 mL) Butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) Dark brown sugar, packed
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Put the liners in the cupcake tins.
Stir the ﬂour with the baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and ginger into a bowl. Stir the
ketchup, water and colouring in a separate bowl. Set aside.
Beat the butter and blend in the sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the eggs. Add the ﬂour
mixture and ketchup mixture. Beat on low, scraping down the bowl as needed, until combined.
Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for one minute.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
Bake for about approximately 20 minutes, or until the centre springs back when touched lightly.
Cool the cupcakes for 15 minutes before turning onto a rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Good Eats
yield: 2 cups (makes extra frosting)
8 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounces powdered sugar (sifting is optional)
In the bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended an very smooth. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the mixer speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition. Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.
Using Piknik Sticks (or an equivalent potato stick snack) create piles of of the sticks in the manner of a pile of french fries. Using Brown Decorating Gel create the “gravy” to cover the fries. Come back with White Decorating Geland add the “cheese curds” as little drops. It was also helpful to play with some sample decorations on a plate before making the real ones on the cupcakes.