Posts filed under 'Sports'
mr. t’s 60!
A._’s dad is a big fan of the Ateneo Blue Eagles basketball team. When the team captured the 2011 UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) crown making them four-peat champions, Mr. T. and his wife were naturally ecstatic. This euphoria was carried over his 60th birthday celebration as evidenced by these “sporty” cupcakes. Of course, some of the cupcakes must have the Ateneo colors.
Cupcake base was caramel. Frosting for the basketball cupcakes was whipped cream tinted orange with melted semisweet chocolate markings. Frosting for the Tony 60 cupcakes was creme ivoire (white chocolate glaze) tinted blue. Since creme ivoire is chocolate-based, I had a challenging time getting the right shade of blue as the candy colors (food color for chocolate) palette is limited. I had to use a mixture of the Wilton candy color and the regular gel-based food color.
I was happy with my test cupcake even if the blue frosting stained my tongue. I forgot to warn A._ about it when I delivered the cupcakes. I wondered if the birthday boy were among those who got a blue-tinged tongue? Hmm, it must have been quite a sight but I was sure it added to the festivity of the occasion.
I was curious so I asked if Mr. T._ used to be a basketball player. No, his wife told me they are just avid fans of their alma mater’s team. Wow, such dedication! I wish I can be that way too with my own team but they always lose early. Sigh. At least I was fortunate that the UP Fighting Maroons captured their only championship trophy to date (haha, still hopeful!) during my sophomore year in UP. For UAAP fans, just figure out the year.
Thanks A._ for making my cupcakes a part of your wonderful celebration!
January 2nd, 2012
Basketball Cupcakes – dome-shaped cupcakes decorated like a basketball, frosted with slightly sweetened whipped cream tinted orange and piped with semisweet chocolate markings. Price available upon request.
This was my first time making basketball cupcakes and I debated in my mind how to decorate them. Do I make separate toppers or just decorate straight on the cupcake? As I am partial to chocolate, I thought of making chocolate toppers. Alas, I did not have enough time as I was given less than a week’s notice by E._ so I just decided to turn the cupcakes into edible basketballs.
My chocolate butter cupcakes are a perfect fit as they bake into a dome, unlike my devil’s food which have flat tops. I tried a creme ivoire topping (a white chocolate glaze courtesy of Rose Levy Beranbaum) and tinted it orange. I also tried a whipped cream topping. I told E._ that the whipped cream topping will most likely appeal to the children who will attend the party. She texted me back and said that the cupcakes were for grown ups. Oops, my bad. E._ must have been smiling (and probably laughing as well) while texting that message to me. Anyway, I suggested another flavor that I knew will be a hit with them: mocha with bits of chocolate coffee candies. So I made one batch chocolate butter and one batch mocha. Yum.
Later on, I found out from M._ who picked up the cupcakes that the desserts were for E._’s boyfriend who was celebrating his birthday. Thanks, E._! I’m sure your party was fab!
November 22nd, 2010
Runner’s Treat Cupcake – soft and springy chocolate banana cupcake frosted with peanut butter ganache and topped with a colorful running shoe chocolate candy. Price available upon request.
Just as I was cranking my training up a notch to improve my 5-K PR, my knee pain recurred. For a beginner runner like me, getting injured in the early stages of training is frustrating. But then again, for runners of all types—elite marathoners or just weekend warriors—being sidelined is akin to torture.
What do I do now in the interim? Knee strengthening exercises are in order. And of course, I now have the perfect chance to complete my runner’s cupcake that I planned on making. As I mentioned before, I wanted something with cocoa, milk and bananas which are all power foods for runners. The recipe called for vegetable oil but I really dislike its taste in baked goods (except for chiffon cakes where oil is an essential ingredient) so this time around, I used melted unsalted butter. It didn’t affect the texture of the baked cupcake and it definitely tasted better, although my niece K._ said that regardless of the fat used, the cupcake taste “sooo good.”
I bought the running shoes chocolate mold online and when I got them in the mail, I was really, really excited. Now I can create a near replica of my own running shoes in chocolate form and I get to eat them! How cool is that?
The cupcake has a certain lightness and springiness to it, which what I was also aiming for. You know you are running in proper form when your feet are quick and light and springy, like popping off the ground.
The chocolate peanut butter ganache (I used reduced-fat Skippy peanut butter) wasn’t too overwhelming after all. I am also thinking of replacing the all-purpose flour with the whole wheat version to add fiber and make the cupcake healthier.
Overall, I am very pleased with this cupcake. It has the right texture, superb flavor, and a cute and very appropriate topper. Truly a great reward to have after an exhausting but exhilarating run. A word of caution: running or exercising does not necessarily give you the license to overindulge because you believe you can burn off the extra calories during your workouts. You still have to eat healthy but it’s ok to have a “sinful” reward—like this cupcake!— once in a while.
By the way, I improved my 5-K results with a time of 33:21 in the Asian Hospital-sponsored Runew 2010 last May 2. I was gearing up for a sub-30 minutes for my next race but as injury struck, I have to take time off. I miss running already but if I want to run for the long term, I need to allow my body to fully recover. I know it will take a while but it’s all about keeping perspective. In the meantime, there are more cupcake flavors to try, more decorations to think of and more baking projects to fulfill. This temporary layoff has its upside after all.
* * *
So what are the power foods in this cupcake and how important are they to a runner’s body?
•Unsweetened cocoa powder – rich in flavonoids which are antioxidants that reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. They also protect skin against sun damage and lower blood levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. Cocoa powder has no added sugar and has less saturated fact than dark chocolate.
•Skim milk – according to a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking fat-free milk at breakfast significantly reduces the number of calories eaten at lunch and also leads to feeling more satisfied.
•Banana – supplies carbs as well as potassium, which runners lose through sweating; potassium also help regulate muscle contraction and prevent cramping. Bananas are also good as pre-run food because they’re unlikely to cause gastrointestinal issues.
•Peanut butter - great for runners who are trying to lose weight. The protein and fiber in peanut butter helps you feel full. It is also a source of protein, needed to build and repair muscles damaged during training.
*sources – Runner’s World, About.com
June 9th, 2010
Billiard Balls Cupcakes- buttery mocha cupcakes with chocolate coffee candies inside, frosted with whipped cream and decorated with colored sugar crystals and white chocolate buttons. Price available upon request.
rack ‘em up!
Just when I think I’m running out of ideas to decorate a cupcake, I get an inquiry that gets my creative juices flowing. I was working on another cupcake project when someone texted me about billiard balls cupcakes. I have never done them and so the challenge was on.
I figured men are most likely to be gifted with these so I chose my mocha cupcake recipe. Each cupcake rises to a dome when baked so they’re perfect to sub for billiard balls. For decoration ideas, I surfed the net. Some decorations were made of fondant and from my search I found someone who shares my sentiments with this popular decorator’s medium.
From the blogs I read, I found out that the book “Hello Cupcake” has instructions on how to make cupcakes look like billiard balls using colored sugar. I do not have a copy of the book so I just did the decorating on my own. I also made my own colored sugar. The numbers on the balls are written with melted chocolate on white chocolate buttons.
I think the cupcakes look awesome and they taste great too. The bits of chocolate coffee candies inside the cupcakes boost the coffee flavor. To make the sugar adhere to the tops, I used unsweetened whipped cream. With the sugar coating, I thought there might be major sugar overload but suprisingly, the cupcakes are not toothache-inducing at all. And the sugar topping turns to a delightful crunchy covering. The 8-ball by the way is covered with chocolate sprinkles.
These cupcakes come in 16 pieces—15 “billiard balls” and one white sugar-topped “cue ball” . My niece K._ asked if there is also a cue stick. Well, sorry to disappoint but I cannot provide that!
April 29th, 2010
a bonafide runner, finally!
I recently completed my first 5K race during the National Geographic Channel Earth Day Run 2010 last April 18 at the SM Mall of Asia. Out of 1754 racers, I placed 317th with a PR (personal record) of 34:17 mins. Not bad for a first-timer! My runner friend R._ who is racing for his first full marathon this May suggested indulging on a cake to celebrate my accomplishment.
As I was surfing the net for ideas, I came across this intriguing cupcake created to celebrate the 2010 Boston Marathon. This cupcake has Gatorade Jello in it. Hmm. I was thinking more of something with cocoa, milk, bananas—natural food that can refuel tired muscles after a tough workout.
When I came across this chocolate banana cupcake recipe, I thought it fit the post exercise snack perfectly. Carbs? Check. Protein? Check. Sodium? Check. Flavor and texture? Check. Ok, so this also has sugar but some elite runners have been known to indulge in pizza and french fries as post race fuel so I guess a cupcake can not be that bad!
Anyway, right out of the oven, my nephew P._ gobbled two. My 16-year-old niece K._ who ran the 3K in the NatGeo Run with her mom and placed 258th out of 1466 runners— I am mighty proud of her!—got one piece, reached for the peanut butter and slathered it on her cupcake. Taking a cue from her, I made chocolate peanut butter (another protein source!) ganache to frost the cupcake. The ganache tasted great but I felt it was a bit overwhelming. I might try a plain ganache next time. I promised my good friend R._ that as soon as I get some chocolate candy molds of running shoes to make my cupcake toppers, I will bake him some of these goodies so he can reward himself after a long run.
I will be improving on this cupcake and I will post the final version when I get everything right—frosting, topper, photo and all. And I hope I get to shave some time from my PR on my next race on May 2!
April 21st, 2010