Chopped Challenge

I reached my hand into the bag and drew three ingredients: Seaweed, Raspberries, and Nutmeg. The incongruous items immediately discouraged me. I tossed around a few ideas in my head like Raspberry sushi or sometype of pasta dish, but nothing seemed to qualify as appetizing. I finally resorted to the Internet to help and found that my best bet was going to be baking. I found a recipe for a seaweed-spiced cupcake and substituted what would have been green tea frosting with a fresh raspberry frosting.

The cupcake recipe had a relatively simple base with wet and dry ingredients, however incorporating the seaweed was tough. In my first attempt to chop the dry sheets of seaweed felt as if I was trying to cut a flat piece of plastic with a dull knife. I turned to using scissors and cut the sheets into small pieces. After being fully soaked in milk the seaweed was drained and put into the blender with some milk remains, cinnamon, and nutmeg. This thick paste was then added to a simple butter, sugar, and egg batter. In another bowl cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove twirled in with the flour base. Just when I thought I would mix the wet and dry bases together for the finish, the directions called for me to whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and fold them in. I didn’t have a Kitchen Aid and previously ignored all the directions that required one to did it by hand. I sat down and began to whisk vigorously. After fifteen minutes of whisking then taking a break then whisking…etc. it began to form stiff peaks. I folded the fluffed egg whites into the spiced seaweed batter giving it volume. The smell of the seaweed overpowered any other scent my nose attempted to decipher. I popped the cupcake trays into the oven and began the frosting process.

Lucky for me, the frosting was much easier than the batter. I mashed up some raspberries in a mortar and creamed it into a powdered sugar and butter base. The raspberries turned the frosting into a vibrantly pink color. The raspberries added an acidic balance to the sweetness of the sugar. After trying the frosting I was afraid it might be too sweet.

The cupcakes cooled I tried one on it’s own. It was amazing. The overpowering smell of the seaweed batter was lost in the baking process. The cake without frosting resembled more of a spiced muffin. The seaweed bits provided soft texture while the spices brought in hints of the fall season. The dense treat sat heavily in my hand leaving a layer of oil on my skin. I coated the top of my next spiced cupcake with the raspberry frosting and took a bite. The flavors didn’t really seem to fit. One screamed fall and pumpkins while the other screamed summer and fruity. I’m fairly certain I won’t pair seaweed, raspberries and nutmeg in my next cooking adventure, but I was pleasantly surprised by my outcome.



One Comment Add yours

  1. Although these ingredients might have not been your first choice, I think you did a really good job of utilizing what you had and made some really great cupcakes!


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