Been there. Never done that. When I admire the beautiful platter of Honey Cakes above, I can’t take credit for the creative plating, the golden color of the cake or the luscious, burnt honey and vanilla bean flecked beehives. That’s the expertise of Chef David Guas at Honey Summit 2011. Although I’ve been in my share of professional kitchens and witnessed magic, fireworks and love in a pan… I’ve never really had anything to contribute. That is, until the final challenge of Honey 101 at The Culinary Institute of America, Greystone.
As my Team Three teammates, Helene Kennan, David Guas and James Barrett strategize the contents of the Mystery Basket, I look over my Vanilla Cupcake Recipe on the iPhone. As they talk halibut, fava beans and chile rellenos, I pull from my pocket and unfold the same recipe also scribbled on a piece of paper. You know, just in case.
Helene said to me the night before, “You’re making cupcakes tomorrow.” James reassured me, “We’ll deal with the basket, you just make the cupcakes.” So today, master Pastry Chef David Guas and I are making cupcakes and we’re starting with my recipe… my little contribution.
Team Three has a plan and secret weapon, David Guas. How can we go wrong? David gives my cake recipe the go-ahead and even raises an approving eyebrow at my use of brown sugar. As the cake batter comes together, so do David’s ideas about elevating my simple recipe with a burnt honey buttercream frosting. “They don’t have to be in the shape of cupcakes, do they?” David asks rhetorically.
The kitchen is alive around me; sauces drizzling, chefs rushing about.
I stand motionless, staring as Chef David puts the finishing touches on our dessert. He’s mumbling something about a non-edible garnish.
I can’t believe we made cupcakes at The Culinary Institute of America using my cupcake recipe. Even if they aren’t in the shape of cupcakes.
Rather, our Honey Cakes hit the judging table with all of these other honey infused Mystery Basket masterpieces:
Seared Halibut with Grilled Bacon Steaks, Fava Beans with Melted Leeks — Get the recipe here.
It’s not long before the first Honey Cake is sampled. I’m nervous and anxious as I await the review. Then, a voice from the crowd proclaims, “These taste just like Tastykake Krimpets!”
Photos #3 #4 credit Andrea Schepke, EvansHardy+Young.