I tried to take inspiration this year from two people I miss in life and who were wonderful bakers: Sophie and my grandmother. I chose my grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe and substituted dark chocolate because Sophie and I used to enjoy dark chocolate together all the time. I also modified the recipe to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil and it added wonderful richness to the cake.
I was reflecting on my memories of Sophie and recalled weeks and weeks of her making homemade marshmallows which we would have with cocoa at Madeline’s all that winter so I decided to take that on. It is technically tricky because if the temperature of the marshmallow isn’t correct the consistency is off but three batches later, I had it! I then melted them and whipped them into a basic buttercream and the filling was born!
I had a wonderful time creating the cupcakes this year and really felt like Sophie and my gramma were with me. As a finishing touch I hand made little Bagels for each cupcake to perch on top.
—By Tamarynde Cacciotti
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