January 22, 2009

Mead (Honey Wine) Chiffon Cupcakes

Yes, it's Iron Cupcake Earth time again. The theme for this month is wine. I knew immediately that I had to do a mead or honey wine flavored cupcake. Back in December, there was an article in Hour Detroit magazine that fascinated me. It was called "Mad About Mead" and featured a meadery called B. Nektar. Based in Ferndale, Michigan, the founding couple started off homebrewing mead and the hobby lead to opening their own meadery. I'm always interested new local products and liked the varieties of flavors they produce. For the Iron Cupcake challenge I made special trip to Champanes, a warehouse sized wine shop in Warren with a real stuffed lion in the entryway (quite the eyebrow raiser).

Of the B. Nektar meads I bought, their award winning Vanilla Cinnamon seemed the most appropriate for flavoring a cupcake. It was quite sweet, like an ice wine or Sauterne, and the honey flavor was very pronounced. I chose to adapt a chiffon cake recipe so that the honey flavors wouldn't be overwhelmed. Then I kept the frosting light as well with a meringue flavored with more mead and sweetened with honey. The cakes on their own would be good for kids because the fermented aspect of the mead flavor dissipates in the baking. All that's left is a wonderful honey fragrance. I think they would be great topped with some fruit puree. The frosting is more suited to adult tastes because you do get the yeasty, winy flavors from the mead. The frosted cupcakes were an ethereal puff of honey sweetness with nuances of fermentation. Thanks Iron Cupcake for encouraging me to play with another new cupcake flavor.

In this recipe I used:
Sleeping Bear Farms Star Thistle Honey
B. Nektar Meadery's "Vanilla Cinnamon (mead) A light colored and semi sweet wine made with whole cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans. The beans are sliced open by hand before being added to the mead to ensure maximum flavor extraction.This mead won a silver medal at the 2007 AHA National Homebrewing Competition."
*If you live in the Detroit area B. Nektar has tastings at their Ferndale meadery on the first Friday of every month, see their website for more information.


Mead Chiffon Cupcakes
Based on Alton Brown's Chiffon Cupcake recipe
Makes less than a full dozen (~9-10 cupcakes)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
a small pinch of cinnamon
2 eggs, separated
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
2 tablespoons mead
2 tablespoons neutral oil

-Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and line a cupcake tin with paper liners.
-In a small bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
-Beat together the egg yolks and 4 tablespoons of the sugar until very light yellow, ribbon stage.
-In a very clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tarter until frothy. Gradually add the remaining tablespoon of sugar to the egg whites, beating in between each small addition. Continue beating the egg whites until they form shiny, stiff peaks.
-Add the mead and oil to the egg yolk mixture and stir until combined, then add the flour mixture again stirring until combined.
-Stir a third of the beaten egg whites into the egg and flour mixture. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
-Fill the cupcake papers two thirds of the way full with the batter.
-Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick poked into a cupcake comes out clean.
-Cool and frost.

Honey and Mead Meringue Frosting
Makes enough to lightly frost 10 cupcakes, double the recipe for generous frosting

1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons mead
1/4 cup honey

-Beat the egg white, sugar and mead over a simmering double boiler until soft peaks form. *I would strongly suggest using a hand mixer for this.
-Add the honey in small amounts and beat in.
-Continue beating over the heat for at least 7 minutes until the frosting forms strong peaks.
-Remove from heat and beat for another minute to allow the frosting time to cool slightly.
-Spread your desired amount of frosting on a cupcake with a spatula and then tap the frosting lightly while turning to create spiky peaks/curls. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.

This month's voting will begin Thursday, January 29 at 8 p.m. at No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner and ends Wednesday, February 4 at 12 noon.
The January Prize Pack includes prizes from: Dogbone Art, Lots of Sprinkles, Cakespy and Sweet Cuppin Cakes Bakery and Cupcakery Supply.
Prizes also come from these corporate providers:
Head Chefs by Fiesta Products, Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, Jessie Steele Aprons, The Cupcake Courier, and Taste of Home Books
Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers and Upwithcupcakes.com

37 comments:

Ricki said...

Oh, my mom used to make a chiffon frosting like this one! They look great (and is it just me, or does the frosting look like a jester's cap?) :)

Sara said...

This is a beautiful cupcake! I have to admit,I love anything with meringue.

Medena said...

They look great! Interesting, different, love honey!

Calm In The Kitchen said...

These look amazing! I have never tried/used mead, but now I must!

I still haven't finished my iron cupcake entry...AH!

You definitely have my vote!

;) amy

Guiltless Glutton said...

Damn, I was hoping I'd be the only one to submit a mead cupcake! Ah well, yours looks delicious. And I LOVE what you did with the frosting. It reminds me of koosh ball tongue rings

pharmfresh said...

Oh my goodness, this is why I'm glad to know another food blogger from Michigan! I will most definitely be taking a little road trip to the closest place that sells that mead sometime very soon!

Chef E said...

That is too cute...like something from a kids cartoon character, but is missing eyes...sorry my imagination goes array...

On the blue cheese apple pies, my friend and I decided if you did not like blue cheese you could have used feta, or a milder blue cheese...I used Maytag, but I like that combination of sweet savory...so it was a success...

shellyfish said...

Ohhh, yum! A friend of mine used to make mead - I love it! I'd also love one of these here cuppers!

Hannah said...

What fun, spiky frosting! :)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

What a wonderful idea! I made some eggnog muffins with rum, but they weren't one of my better experiments because the flavors didn't really come through.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

What an interesting wine! And I love those peaks you did with the frosting!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

These cupcakes are pretty! An unusual, but delicious flavoring! I bet they taste wonderful...

Cheers,

Rosa

Fearless Kitchen said...

What a great idea! I love mead, and this would give me something more to do with it.

Joelen said...

That's one *gorgeous* looking cupcake!

TavoLini said...

neat-o! I dig the peaks :D

Is the mead tasty? I've never had it before.

Esi said...

I love how the frosting looks. Such cute cupcakes!

Laura said...

I might make these for my husbands birthday he absolutely LOVES mead. Thanks! Laur

jkru said...

that looks soooo tasty and adorable!

Joy the Baker said...

Honey Wine Cupcakes!? How interesting! The look just lovely! I'm so glad you got a chance to play around. Looks lovely!

Elra said...

Maggie,
that is insanely beautiful, I am sure they taste divine!
Cheers,
Elra

kellypea said...

I've always connected mead with history and honestly didn't realize it was still made. Your cupcakes are whimsical and sound very delicious. I'm imagining the aroma right now. Yum!

VeggieGirl said...

Loooove your frosting skills!!

Jo said...

Beautiful looking cupcake and the picture sure does it justice. Love the way you have swirled the frosting.

madcapcupcake said...

I love the spikey decoration!

Kevin said...

I like the sound of using mead in cupcakes. That cupcakes cray hair doo looks great!

Christine aka Mistress of Cakes said...

Your cupcake was on seriouseats.com as a photograzing favorite! Congrats!

Christine aka Mistress of Cakes said...

Your cupcake was on seriouseats.com as a photograzing favorite! Congrats!

Stef said...

I love mead! These cupcakes look awesome!

Snooky doodle said...

Nice!! great entry :)

Superchef said...

i voted for you!!!! the cupcakes just look awesome!

The Other Tiger said...

One of my husband's dreams is to open his own meadery. He made raspberry and blueberry meads for our wedding years ago (and got rave reviews from everyone on them), and I once made a wine olive oil cake for him with mead instead of wine. It was incredible. I think it was also a chiffon cake recipe. Anyway, I'm inspired to try baking with mead again by your post! Your cupcakes look incredible.

Donna-FFW said...

Had to tell you these made such an impression I mentioned them on my post today. I have to get to these!

Anonymous said...

I love mead, but have never thought of using it in food. This sounds delicious!!!

Yum!

MeadFan said...

Great idea, thanks for sharing. I am going to hit the recipe books to see what ideas I can come up with...

Justin Kade said...

Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe!
I Buy Barbeques

honey4mead said...

Man those look good, can't wait to try some!

tongue rings said...

This is a beautiful cupcake!
I want try it too
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