The other day I was in the produce section of the grocery store when I found this:
PAPAYA!!! In Michigan! How could I not buy it and use it for the nefarious purpose of putting it into a cupcake?
I first made a syrup out of the papaya fruit. I sort of wish that I just left it, to be honest with you. Cut open your papaya, scoop out and discard the seeds and spoon it into a blender. Blend until it makes a liquid. I then reduced it with a half cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar in a saucepan, stirring constantly until it boiled. It makes it very sweet.
Papaya has such a mild taste that I wasn't sure how exactly it would work. Papaya cake for sure. I considered adding banana, but banana always masks the flavor of other fruits. I wasn't feeling in the mood for coconut, so just papaya cake. This cake has a VERY mild flavor. It wasn't something that I could eat hot out of the oven and not require some frosting on it. I would think that you could substitute papaya nectar for the papaya syrup that I used
Papaya Cupcakes - Makes just over 12
- 1 1/3 cups cake flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/4 cup papaya syrup/nectar
- 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners
- In a large bowl, add the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together with a wire whisk.
- Add the oil, water, papaya syrup, and egg yolks. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
- For the meringue, in a separate small bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in the 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff.
- Fold the meringue into the batter until lightly mixed.
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full of batter and bake for approximately 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. The tops of the cupcakes will turn golden brown. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a cooling rack.
I didn't take any picture of the naked cupcakes. You will just have to use your imagination, or make them yourself :)
And now for the frosting. I think this is what made the cupcakes special. I don't know if I would make the papaya cake again, but I would definitely make the frosting again. It came out more buttery than some of the other buttercreams that I have made, but I thought that it worked well.
Papaya Buttercream - Enough to generously frost 15 cupcakes
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon papaya syrup
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 pound confectioner's sugar (approximately 4 cups)
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until pale and fluffy.
- Add the syrup, milk, and a pinch of salt. Beat until well combined.
- Continue to add the confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing on medium-high speed after each addition.
The frosting comes out a beautiful salmon (papaya?) color. I think that it made the cupcake special. Honestly, I didn't love these cupcakes. In fact, I was hesitant about bringing them to lecture this morning. Some people agreed that they weren't my best work, but others said that they were their favorite of all the things that I have made! I bet it has a lot to do if you like papaya to begin with. They were fun to decorate, at the very least :)