Cupcake Adventure

I did something new today. I entered my first-ever food competition.

I have organized food competitions; judged food competitions; promoted food competitions; created food competitions. I have never entered a food competition, until today.

When my latest Food Network Magazine arrived a few weeks ago, there was a piece about the Chocolate Adventure Contest sponsored by Scharffen Berger Chocolate and tuttifoodie.com. This competition, like most others, is about an original recipe – not what I believe is my strength. I’m much better at following directions the first time, then adding my personal touch forever after.

This food competition was about using Scharffen Berger chocolate (of course!), and one of 14 “adventure ingredients.” Here’s the list to choose from:

Adzuki bean
Almond flour
Bee pollen
Coconut butter, cream or milk
Fresh beet
Fresh or whole dried chili pepper
Meyer lemon
Molasses (light, dark or blackstrap)
Stout beer
Sweetened condensed milk
Sumatra coffee bean

What to use? What to pick?! Well, buttermilk and coconut milk looked the most familiar to me. Then I had to find a recipe. Julia’s Queen of Sheba cupcakes weren’t going to work. There is no way I could (or would) pass off Julia’s recipe for an altered
one of my own.

Then I looked at the refrigerator, and there it was. Grandma Baker’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake – one of HH’s favorites!

I had made these earlier in the year, and although I am sure this recipe is not unique to Grandma Baker, it is the treasured family recipe that Cousin Rhonda cleverly transformed into a potholder in Grandma Baker’s own handwriting for the family last year. This is the one.

Looking at Grandma Baker’s ingredients, and upon opening up the frig, I decided that buttermilk was the way to go (since there was buttermilk sitting in the frig from the recently successful Chicken Fried Chicken). The dilemma was buttermilk and mayonnaise in the same recipe; would it be too…tangy? Oh well, it was worth a try.

For me, entering this contest is not about winning; it’s about entering and honoring family traditions in a slightly updated way. So I went for it, substituting the 1 ½ cups of water in the recipe for buttermilk.

I made the batter. Tasted it. Ooooh, a bit tangy for sure. Oh well, what are you going to do?! Just need to forge ahead. I tried to make sure I filled the cupcake cups only 2/3 full (I’m getting better at that.) They cooked up. I wanted to make sure they were not dry, so I started at 12 minutes cook time; tested; put them back in for 3 more minutes and pulled them out to cool.

They looked good. Perhaps still a little on the moist side inside since the fuller ones were a bit concave.

I let them sit to cool. When I checked back, more had “fallen.” Hmm, time to taste-test to see how they turned out. I selected one of the concave ones so no one else would have to eat what could be “the bad ones.”

Very moist, probably just cooked, so delicious! This cupcake was not tangy at all! The moistness required me to eat it fast so it didn’t completely fall apart in my hands.

HH arrived at the Diner a little later, he said they looked good, but not done – no frosting. (The frosting is another story…) He finally sampled (using a plate and fork), and declared them delicious! Moist, chocolatey, melt in your mouth. Success!

Now we wait. The Chocolate Adventure Contest doesn’t conclude until after the New Year. I confirmed that my entry was received; I’ll keep you posted on the progress…


  1. Good for you. I bet you have a good chance. Keep us informed. How did you package it for shipping?

  2. No shipping, just sending the recipe. Although they did ask if each entrant has a website, but didn't ask what it is.