Monday, December 27, 2010

The Ultimate Muffcake



It started as a Twitter conversation.




It ended in a pact to create a muffcake recipe to love.



Somewhere in the middle there were some giggles.



Others joined in on the fun and here I am, committed, to make muffcake converts out of all of you. (Recipes to come tomorrow or the day after, whenever I recover from this late night posting, or stop laughing. Whichever is last.)

I googled muffcake, just to make sure I wasn’t mistaken, and I was only a little disappointed at several posts dedicated to muffcakes on food blogs. It certainly isn’t a new idea. I still think it’s brilliant. I’ll go ahead and credit Rice and Wheat since she’s the first one to bring it up to me.

Here’s what it means to me: Muffins with frosting, or cupcakes without. And there has to be some discussion about texture here: moist, soft crumb, and crunchy edges (but not tough).

2010-12-25 15-37-25.141

The thought of muffcakes rolled around in my foodie brain all through the holidays. I read all about cupcakes and muffins in McGee’s book and looked at dozens of recipes to get a feel for proportions, fat contents, and chemical reactions of leavenings. I actually dreamed about them. In my half-crazed middle-of-the-night-restlessness, I decided to make three muffcakes.



Rice and Wheat:



And Salty:


170Salty Seattle, the mastermind of the operation, is a gastronomical genius in the kitchen. The girl cures her own bacon and makes her own salt. I seriously considered trying to make a sous vide muffcake in tribute to her, but decided I wasn’t in the market for that contraption just yet. When I’m rich and famous…

Salty’s muffcake is salted caramel.  I sprinkled the caramel muffcake with home made salt. My husband brought a bucket of ocean water home and boiled it down to salt. He’s hot stuff and no you cannot have him.

The muffcake was delicate, buttery and sweet. You could easily make this one into a cupcake. The salt on the top just melted down into the moist top. Lovely.181

The muffcake representing me was pumpkin flavored with a dollop of sweetened mascarpone in the middle. They sort of erupted in the oven, but I found them to still be tasty. The middle turned into a cavern of wet and caramelized goodness. I think mascarpone and powdered sugar whipped together would make an amazing frosting.

Rice and Wheat’s Project Food Blog entry for the picnic challenge was all about muffaletta and making things happen. I sincerely fell in love with their blog when I read that post and the sandwich just called my name for days afterwards. A muffaletta muffcake was in order.

221This was definitely my favorite muffcake. I used a corn muffin base that promised a “cakey” texture, and in the middle I layered cheese, olive mix, and sliced ham. The crunchy sides, the salty olives, the ooze of cheese, and the mouthfeel of the ham—I was in love at first bite. The sweet corn muffin base made all the difference. Things fell apart pretty quickly, but probably because I ate the whole thing piping hot out of the oven.


For sure, my muffcake crew are all jabbing my ribs as they read this completely innocent post. Really. It’s entirely impossible to avoid double entendre when you describe food. Just try.


You can visit and get their side(s) of the story.

On a side note, I was watching an episode of Parenthood (not sure why I need to apologize, but this is the first episode I have ever watched, promise—except that I may possibly watch more of them) today and the parents were trying to explain to their 5-year-old how babies are made. A 5-year-old. Because she was asking. For details.

I will completely freak out if 6 months from now my daughter asks me about that. Completely. Freak. Out. I am just not prepared to have such a conversation. I’m sure I’ll still be freaking out when she has her first boyfriend. Then I’ll have double complete freak out.

Kids. They don’t make ‘em like they used to. But then again, they do.

Do you think I could use cooking to explain the birds and the bees? Or am I just mixing my metaphors too much?

Maybe I’ll take the same approach as I take to Santa.

“Santa? Who told you about Santa?” I ask, and then let her go on believing that Santa lives in Utah.

Sex does happen in Utah. She wouldn’t be entirely mistaken.



Lizzy said...

LOL, I'm a little scared to google muffcake myself! Cute blog~~~

Jackie said...

You made three muffcakes too :D I like the look of the Mariko Muffcake, to be honest. It looks right up my alleyway. Having said that, the ingredients in the Angi Muffcake looks pretty awesome...

As I've now arrived in Spain I may try to make some Spanish Muffcakes this week - I love a bit of multicultural muffcakery! Lovely post, you did the Muffcake Mafia proud ;)

Jax x

Mother Rimmy said...

What fun! I love the name "muffcake!" Wonderful pictures!

sara @ CaffeIna said...

I'm loving reading all your girls' posts about the muffcake! It sure was a fun project. Looking forward the recipes but the pics are already great and enticing :)

Mariko said...

Lizzy: Unless Salty changed things... there was nothing alarming with the muffcake google. Mowielicious made a beautiful one, I must say.

Jax- Spanish muffcakes... So exotic. Can't wait!

Mother Rimmy: Thank you!

Caffeina: It is fun. You can join in too. :)

Torviewtoronto said...

lovely pictures cake looks fluffy and wonderful

~Lisa~ said...

Hmm muffcake? I like the idea.

~ Lyndsay The Kitchen Witch said...

All these muffcakes are making me hungry :-)

Nice to meet you, I come by way of Salty's blog.

Meanwhile, here's what I did when my, now 19 year old son, first asked me how babies come out of their mother. I looked him right in the eye and said "lasers."

I figure its something he can tell his psychiatrist one day ;)

saltyseattle said...

I am honored by the salted caramel muffcake- i would absolutely love to try it. and the rice and wheat muffy muffcakes incorporate so much muff it's more than a mouthful! love it, love you, great post, muffmafiamember. xx

Indie.Tea said...

It was an awfully muffcake, Rice and Wheat's was :)
I hope you had a lovely Christmas.

angi said...

Heeee ok, so maybe I'm biased because it's named after us and also, it's got OLIVES but let me just say how much I HEART our muffcake. I'm truly honored, my dear. :) I do also love how yours look like a mini-explosion though. And your husband made salt! I propose a battle royale between Mr. LittleFoodie and SaltySeattle's salt! :)

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} said...

This is so fun! I loved reading about all the different interpretations of muffcakes. Such a fun concept.

Mariko said...

Lisa: I'm sure you could make a great one.
Lyndsay: You made my day. I am totally using that line.
Salty: Thank you Salty, from the bottom of my muffcake heart.
Indie Tea: I did. Too nice. Don't want to go back to reality!
Angi: I certainly would like to try Salty's salt, especially since we had no idea what we were doing. Our salt tastes good, and mineral-y. Not sure if that's good or bad.
Maryea: Thank you. We loved it too.

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

I finally had the chance to read your blog. I would MUCH rather not have time to read your blog because I'm too busy hanging out with you than reading your blog. I miss you a lot. I wish i could come over right now and talk. Oh well.

This post is great! I think you're amazing.

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