Chocolate Adventure Contest Launch Party

I have been a regular reader of Tablehopper for a few years now. I have intermittently entered some of her contests to win tickets to events and never had any luck. Until this time. When I read the about the Chocolate Adventure Contest party I felt a flutter in my heart and wished I could attend. And I did! I won! I was one of the 15 lucky Tablehopper readers who received an invite to the party.

It is sponsored by Scharffen Berger and TuttiFoodie and since it is chocolate contest there were bowls of chocolate, a table of chocolate, and gift bags with chocolate. They had a blind taste testing of “mystery” ingredients and it was hinted that they may be some of the adventure ingredients. I did okay, guessing the almond flour and sweetened, condensed milk. I missed the third and final one, tamarind paste, which is not on this year’s adventure ingredient list. The only category this year is cupcakes. I feel inspired to try make some creations and enter the contest.  Plus I have a lot of chocolate that I need to use.

The party was held at Orson, a restaurant by Elizabeth Faulkner. I have not eaten there, but I do like Citizen Cake. They had delicious appetizers, including mini fried chicken. The cupcakes (pictured above) were just okay. I liked the chocolate with a chocolate ganache the best (go figure!). There was a lemon with popcorn on top, but it had a weird “crust” on the bottom that caused the cupcake to lose some cupcake integrity and made it hard to eat. The last was a coffee/chocolate/fruit one, that was fine.

And I finally feel like blogging again! I hope to catch up with some previous recipes.

Beater Blade vs. SideSwipe

I have been using the Beater Blade for the past several recipes and I now feel I can write an honest review about it.  It is extremely weight-light since it is made entirely of plastic (polycarbonate) and I was concerned it would not have the force necessary to mix everything well.   I like it and it does do a reasonable job of wiping down the sides of the bowl, but I still need to go through with a spatula for some of the “sticker” recipes.  I feel like it leaves more residue than the SideSwipe every did.   The Beater Blade did not strain the motor.   The SideSwipe seemed to cause some motor strain and a very small rocking of the mixing.  Overall I preferred the SwideSwipe, up until the point where it broke.  I can be perfectly happy with the Beater Blade, however, if it also breaks in short amount of time, I think I’d be more likely to replace it with the SideSwipe.   I have also noticed that a few major retailers have started carrying the Beater Blade (just within the last week or two) and I suspect it will be more widely available in the future.

Sprinkles!

Eaten Sprinkles CupcakeA Sprinkles Cupcakes opened in Palo Alto last week.   I went on Wednesday, the 2nd day the shop was open, at 5:30pm.  I waited in line for 25 minutes outside the store and it took approximately 35 minutes total until I was holding cupcakes in my hands.  Since I waited so long I splurged and purchased four of them. At $3.25 each, they were not cheap. Overall I liked the cupcakes, but they were not my favorite. The cake was moist and had the appropriate texture and the frosting was acceptable, but nothing special. What I didn’t like was the cake-to-frosting ratio. I think this is a consequence of the fact that the cupcakes are mushroom shaped with a pronounced “muffin-top” that is much wider than the main cupcake.   Since the whole top is frosted there is too much frosting for the actual amount of cake. My other complaint is that none of the flavors were interesting, they were all fairly generic. And while I am happy to eat a vanilla cupcake, I might be happier with something more exotic. I did eat all the cupcakes within two days and they were certainly very tasty but I haven’t been back since. I am certain I will eat there again while shopping in the area, but I feel I can make equivalent or better cupcakes.3 Sprinkles Cupcakes