MOSES LAKE — The frosting was the crowning touch, strawberry cream cheese frosting for red velvet cupcakes. It had awesome strawberry flavor, had been whipped to maximum creaminess —
“Wait,” said Corbin Wortham, as his team prepared to actually frost the cupcakes.
Oops. “He forgot to put in the extract,” said his teammate Melisa Salgado. It was a setback, but only a minor one. After some vanilla extract and more mixing, the cupcakes were ready for entry in the second annual “Cupcake Wars” at Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center (CB Tech).
The top three recipes will be served at the annual fundraising banquet for the Columbia Basin Cancer Foundation Feb. 3, said CB Tech culinary instructor Susie Moberg. This is the fourth year CB Tech’s culinary class has made cupcakes for the annual “Country Sweethearts Ball.”
Moberg said the winners will be announced later this week.
The sweetheart theme influenced the choices made by some of CB Tech’s chefs. Alyssa Lease and Ivyrose Christensen went with s’mores. “We were thinking campfires, outdoorsy,” Ivyrose said.
“My idea of country sweethearts was a campfire date,” Alyssa said.
Kayla Schneider and her team went with strawberry shortcake – Valentine’s Day, sweethearts, all that. Their first attempt was a regular strawberry cupcake, but it just didn’t work. “We really didn’t like it, so we found this recipe.” The second taste test went much better.
Nicholas Thompson and his team first considered a cookies-and-cream style cupcake, but basically those were chocolate. “We decided to add a mocha flair,” he said. So the team went with a mocha-hazelnut cupcake with white chocolate filling and hazelnut frosting.
“We had multiple feedback. We made a lot of those cupcakes,” Nicholas said.
Alyssa and Ivyrose cooked cupcakes with a graham cracker crust, a chocolate cupcake, vanilla buttercream sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs. Ricardo Moreno went a different way with his s’mores – a chocolate cupcake with chocolate filling, the marshmallow frosting slightly toasted with a torch. (His classmate Kate Tran, practicing the toasting technique on Ricardo’s extra cupcakes, burned a couple of paper cupcake cups. But hey, the competition cupcakes were already on the rack.)
Ricardo came up with his recipe on his own, he said – only to go online and discover other cooks already had come up with the components.
Kate also went in the direction of coffee, baking a caramel mocha cupcake with coffee icing, drizzled with chocolate and caramel. “The coffee icing tastes like coffee ice cream. It’s awesome.” Kate found her recipe online and “changed things up, because it (the cupcake) wasn’t fluffing up enough.”
Eva Buys and her team opted for peach cobbler in cupcake form. “We just wanted to try something different.” The cupcakes featured peach puree and brown sugar, with a cinnamon buttercream frosting.
With all the testing and tweaking, all the chefs were pretty confident. “We’re not going to be last,” Nicholas said.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.