Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Key Lime Cocoa Ice Cream Cupcakes~ Gluten Free

Not too often does life give us second chances.  So many nights I have spent replaying a conversation or interaction and wishing I could go back in time to change the outcome.  It drives Don nuts, listening to me process what could have been done differently or how to make those changes now.  In February 2012 I auditioned for the tv show Recipe to Riches.  Not long after that experience I started this blog.  It ignited a desire to communicate about my love of food and desire to share it with others.  Writing and maintaining this space is both fun and satisfying for me.  I am grateful to Recipe to Riches for sparking this journey and prompting me to explore my creativity both in writing and cooking.  My one regret since that audition?  Not being myself.  The hand pie I took was tasty, there is no doubt about that.  The problem was it never represented me or how I cook.  It was designed solely to be made into food in a box and to win a contest. It came dangerously close to being on supermarket shelves. I think I would have been apologizing for the rest of my life if that had happened.  That's not really how I cook.. read my blog for some great side salads to go with that...

And yet, to have been so close to success and have it slip away has been the subject of many discussions over the last year and half.  Don and the kids told me I needed to stop wallowing to move on.  It wasn't that I was stuck, it was more that I wished I could do it all over again.  In January of 2013 I waited for the audition times to be announced.  For twelve months I kept a mental list of foods I might want to test out in large batches and marketing schemes that would be successful. I planned my audition tape and stories I would tell. Time marched on and the desire to redo things lessoned. By March I had determined the show was cancelled and I finally let go of all those great ideas.  There would be no second chance.

Imagine my elation in May when it was announced Recipe to Riches was returning, although with a new network, new hosts and new audition format.  We talked a lot about different foods that might be successful.  It was a short list.  Let's be honest- I don't eat food that comes out of box!  There's barely a recipe on this site that doesn't include fresh vegetables.  If I was going to take a recipe that truly represented me, it was going to be harder than I thought. Ice cream cupcakes have been a staple at birthday parties for years at our house.  When Luke was little, he insisted he hated cakes but loved cupcakes.  No amount of logical discussion could change his mind on this.  Explaining that the ingredients were the same led to no where.  Ah!  But without Luke's insistence on this idea, the ice cream cupcake would have never been born.  Everyone loves ice cream cake, but no one wants to try and cut through it.  Putting it in a cupcake form allows each person to simply grab a cake and dig in.  They store amazingly well in your freezer, so if you live alone and make a batch, you've got dessert for weeks to come.

This was a product I could stand behind.  Key lime and chocolate was a flavour I first tried in Paris with Josilin and my mom.  I've made cookies with these flavours before and I had a feeling ice cream would be a hit too.  Several taste testers later, I had a winning recipe.  Off went the application and I waited for my big break.  I auditioned in Toronto and received a gold ticket for my efforts.  They loved the taste but were worried the frozen dessert market is saturated.  Three hours in a stifling hot tent in July probably sounds like a terrible way to spend a Saturday, but I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.  All day my mantra was: be yourself. be memorable.  From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, I felt I had represented the food I make and the person I am.  The monkey was off my back.  My second chance was exactly how I had dreamt.  No need to re-process the entire day or wish I had said something different.

Will I be on TV this year?  Nope.  And I could care less. There is peace in my heart.  Truly, it was the journey that mattered most.  My Recipe to Riches dreams are done.  There will be no audition next year.  I don't need another chance to be who I am.  Do I wish they had picked these cupcakes?  Of course I do!  They're delicious; rich and chewy dark chocolate cake, layered with a tart and creamy ice cream and topped with a hint of lime buttercream.  I think they're the perfect dessert, out of a box or your kitchen.

Key Lime Cocoa Ice Cream Cupcakes~ Gluten Free

ice cream (middle)
2 Tbsp lime zest
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup key lime juice
5 egg yolks
Heat the milk, 1 cup of cream, salt and sugar in a sauce pan until warm.  Add lime zest, cover and remove from heat.  Allow to infuse for 1 hour.
Set up an ice bath by placing a bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water.  Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the remaining 1 cup of cream in the bowl.  
In a stand mixer, whip together the egg yolks.  Rewarm the milk mixture and then gradually add some of the milk into the yolks, with the whisk attachment running as you pour.  Scrape the warmed yolks mixture back into the saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom until the custard thickens (approx 175degrees).
Strain the custard into the cool cream.  Stir over the ice until mixture is cool, add the vanilla extract and lime juice, then chill in fridge at least one hour, preferably overnight.  
Freeze custard in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions (mine takes about 30min)
Flourless Chocolate Cake (bottom)
4 oz dark semi-sweet chocolate chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp lime zest
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Butter muffin pan and dust with cocoa powder
In a saucepan on medium heat, melt chocolate with butter, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat and reserve.
In a stand mixer add eggs and sugar and combine well (about 3 min).  Add melted chocolate, salt and lime zest and continue mixing (about 2min).  Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.
Pour 1/8cup batter into each muffin tin spot and bake about 10-12min, until top has formed a thin crust. Cool on a rack 10min and then freeze.
Key Lime Icing (top)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 tsp scant, kosher salt
2 Tbsp key lime juice
3 cups icing sugar
In a stand mixer, combine butter, salt and lime juice.  Gradually add icing sugar until completely mixed and whipped into a spreadable icing.

On each chocolate cake, add 1/3 cup softened ice cream.  Return to freezer until hardened (about 2hrs).  Remove from muffin pan and top with a generous spread of lime icing.  Store in freezer until ready to consume.  Remove from freezer 5-10min prior to eating (5min on a hot humid day; 10min in your cool AC house!)


  1. Come on . . . never say never. Those of us who have eaten your food (and taste-tested your RTR recipes) know how good it is and know that others would buy it. What about one of your soups? It could be frozen for mass distribution through Loblaws stores.
    Once again this year, while watching the show, I will feel the need to diss the contestants who made it onto RTR in your category. Long live the Gluten Free Key Lime Cocoa Ice Cream Cupcake!

  2. You always cook with heart, passion; imagination and integrity. say nothing of the delicious flavours. Now we can add chutzpah to the list. The cupcakes look fantastic. Rock on in the kitchen Catherine.