Carrie's Cookie Quicksand Cupcakes

/ Saturday, June 14, 2008

On June 12, 1988 the lovely Ms. Carrie Goldberg was birthed. Twenty years later, she has grown into a world traveler, a prudent friend and any employer's dream girl! Although she's working with a PR company this summer, party planning is where her verve truly lies. She was born exuding tastefulness and artistry. As a friend I felt a bit guilt ridden not having planned her birthday festivities myself, but come now... no one can coordinate an event like Carrie can! Location, location, location! The birthday girl arranged a fifteen person dinner at the upper west-side staple Calle Ocho. Owned by the same proprietors as Rain, Calle Ocho combines everything Carrie loves about a dining experience: a creative menu, unusual flavor  combinations, a bit of spice and Sangria. Lots and lots of Sangria. Ten different kinds of of Sangria to be exact. Stop by Calle Ocho for brunch you'll be absorbed into the merrymaking of Sangria Sunday. All Sunday, every Sunday, you are served free pitchers of Sangria with your meal. Talk about starting the day off right! 

Needless to say, Calle Ocho was the perfect venue for Ms. Goldberg's twentieth. Props to her! As soon as we were seated the muted lighting, vibrant murals and piquant plantain poppers (served with a great black bean dip I'd love the recipe for) fostered a sexy vibe that carried us all through the night. 
And we cannot forget Adam our dream waiter. He was tremendously sweet and so keen to contribute to the birthday spirit. Cupcake carrier in hand, I came teetering into the dining room 15 minutes late. Adam immediately came to my rescue whisking my baked goods off to the industrial size refrigerator and returning with a glass of water. He saved us both from melting! Upon draining our 4th pitcher of Sangria, Adam presented Carrie with complimentary birthday pitcher number five. At the very end of the meal, as we all sat basking in sweet wine and birthday wishes, Adam entered the dining room with a tray flickering with candles. They were my cupcakes! He took the liberty of plating and lighting
 them in the back so that Carrie could have her birthday cupcakes for a surprise dessert. It was absolutely perfect. 

One by one, Carrie read aloud the birthday charms I stuck in her personalized cupcakes. They wished for friendship, love, lust, memories, etc in the following year! The birthday girl decided to assign cupcakes to her each of her guests according to what wishes she wished to bestow upon them. I received romance. 

Speaking of the special birthday cupcakes. We need to have a little chat...
A few weeks ago a mysterious list was sent to Ms. Goldberg with random "favorites" questions. Favorite smell. Favorite ice cream flavor.  Favorite shape, color, etc. They were strictly for research purposes of course. Apart from the purple bag and miscellaneous goodies I was planning on gifting Carrie, I really wanted to develop special cupcake just for her. It was to be a cupcake that completely catered to her taste. Naturally it would be named after her as well. Well, a week after receiving her reply I was still conflicted. 

Favorite Smell: freshly baked cookies
Favorite Ice Cream: Spiced Cookie from Ben & Jerry's (oatmeal chocolate chip ice cream) 
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Word: Noisette and Framboise

Do you go the cookie route? Do you do something with noisettes and framboises?  She loves chai lattes...could that work? What about green tea? Peach bellini? How do you create a cupcake for someone who has such complex taste! 

Then, the culinary clouds cleared and Carrie's cupcakes was created. I call it: Carrie's Cookie Quicksand Cupcakes. 

Here's a bit about their anatomy. So you start with an extra moist dark chocolate cupcakes. However, they are not your ordinary dark chocolate cupcakes...they are an adaptation of the beloved black bottom cupcake. For those of you who don't know, black bottom cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes with a cream cheese mixture baked into the middle. You dollop the cream cheese mix on top of the batter right before you pop it in the oven and the yummy filling sinks down into the cake as it bakes. However, my cream cheese filling was dazzled up a bit. Before I started on the cupcakes, I had baked  a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. A portion of the batch was sacrificed to the cream cheese filling. I crumbled the cookies directly into a bowl with cream cheese, one egg and a little bit of sugar. The cookies, just ever so warm, left chocolate ribbons swirled through out the mixture. Lumps of cookie crumbles were strewn all through out just waiting to be bit into! The cookie cream cheese was baked into the cupcakes, creating a sump of sugary goodness....Next up, frosting. To continue the idea of the cookies sinking into the quicksand cupcakes, I adhered to the cream cheese theme in my frosting. Thick white cream cheese was mixed with sugar, vanilla and a little bit of almond and then dolloped on top of the cakes. The final touch was a freshly backed oatmeal chip cookie stuck in the sinking cream.  The idea was the oatmeal cookie was being sucked down through the creamy quicksand into the middle of the cake.

The result: success. I really enjoyed the flavor combination. The cupcakes certainly weren't too sweet and the different layers made each bite interesting. There was a great balance between the rich cupcake, tangy cream cheese and slightly salty oatmeal cookies. I think everyone was pleased with them. Carrie's 20th birthday has gone down in cupcake infamy! 

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