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Kumquat Coconut Cupcakes And A Giveaway

***Update 5/24/2010: Congratulations to Barbara for winning a year’s subscription to Australian Gourmet Traveller! And thank you to everyone who shared your wonderful, amazing stories of personal achievements for this giveaway!!***

Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream and Kumquat filling

A year ago this week, I dusted off my neglected WordPress account to blog, with nary an idea as to what I would write about or for whom. Leaving behind the comforts of a cushy paycheck, it was a decision that acknowledged the need to stop existing and to actually start living life by exploring those interests that really ignited me: Food. Photography. Writing. People. Travel.

I felt like a novice ice-skater in the early posts: anxious and hesitant, spending more time agonizing over the content and form of a post than with the activity of writing itself. With time, the experiments began. I started to try different voices, going through them like jeans on a rack, trying on a range of colors and cuts in the quest for the perfect fit.

Then there were the photographs. I had almost forgotten how satisfying it was to hear the camera’s click with every press of the shutter, and it wasn’t long before I got to know my camera intimately well, immersing and absorbing every iota of camera- and photography-speak.

Needless to say, it has been an amazing year of growth, breath-taking experiences and new friends. You’ve probably read many a food blog that’s gone on and on about the doors that an online journal has opened for them, and I can tell you that it is all true.

With blogging challenges like this and this, and attending the first-ever BlogHer Food Conference, it was difficult to tear myself away from my new playground on Twitter, a place constantly ablaze with creative ideas and smart minds tossing witticisms and words of support back and forth. And let’s not forget that crazy month of 30 desserts, or that weekend of food styling and photography heaven in Long Beach, and that trigger-happy Sunday in San Francisco spent looking through the lens. All happy and inspiring moments, which, if you had foretold to me in early 2009, would have elicited anything but belief.

Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream and Kumquat filling

But the real reason why I managed to have this memorable year, is YOU. It was your comments and emails of kindness and encouragement that have kept me on my toes, exploring new flavors and ingredient pairings, pushing me to hone my photography and styling skills, and just experiencing food in a whole new light. With your support, you’ve shown me that this wasn’t a lofty, idealistic dream borne out of a disenchantment with a 9-to-5 routine. You’ve actually helped make it a reality.

So to thank you, both regular commenters and blog stalkers alike, here’s Bon Vivant’s very first giveaway: I’m giving one lucky reader a year’s subscription to Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine, a prize worth US$140 (for international subscriptions).

You’ve heard me wax lyrical about their annual cookbook, now you get a chance to drool over insanely beautiful food styling and photography paired with inventive recipes, every month!! That’s 12 issues of inspiration. What’s not to like about that?

Best of all, this giveaway is open worldwide. Yes, whether you live in Iceland, Mongolia or South Africa, you get an equal chance to win a year’s worth of this gorgeous magazine just by leaving a comment below with your answer to the question:

What was your proudest moment in the past year?

The rules are:

  • Leave your comment before Midnight Pacific Time on Sunday, May 23. This gives you one entry in the draw.
  • To double your chances, become a fan of Bon Vivant on Facebook and email me to let me know that you’ve become a fan. If you’re already part of the fan page, you can indicate that in your comment.
  • The winner will be picked by a random number generator and the results announced the week of May 24.
  • Any plagiarized content, trackback from spams, non-goal oriented comments, and comments containing abusive or inappropriate languages don’t qualify.
  • Please provide a valid email address so that I can award you the prize if you win. I will not share your contact information with anyone else.
  • If you win, you have to reply to my email within a week to claim it. Otherwise it will be forfeited and awarded to someone else.

Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream and Kumquat filling

While you’re pondering on your answer to my question, perhaps you might want to munch on some of these Kumquat-filled cupcakes to pass the time? I stumbled upon these cute citrus fruits a few months ago – when they were at the height of their season – and fell in love with them at first bite. Their sweet-sour freshness on the palate and fragrant chewy skin, make them yummy capsules of Vitamin C. Prepared in a compote, with this recipe, they easily became a permanent fixture on our breakfast table, savored with breads and pancakes for as long as supplies lasted. When I saw them again at our local grocery store (which seems to have a regular supply of the fruit), I knew I had to find a way to use them in a cute and dainty dessert, and so these cupcakes were born. Bon Appetit!

Kumquat Cupcakes With Coconut Buttercream
Makes 14 cupcakes

Kumquat Compote: (adapted from Seattle Bon Vivant)

1 pound/ 455 grams kumquats, rinsed and ends removed
7 ounces/ 200 grams fine granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Quarter the kumquats or chop into eighths (for bigger fruits), removing the seeds and placing them in a small tea or cheesecloth bag.

Place the kumquats, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with the bag of seeds and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from heat and pour its contents into a glass dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The following day, remove any loose seeds and return the mixture to the pan, bringing it to a simmer. Skim away any scum that appears on the surface while cooking on medium high heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes.

Remove the bag of seeds and leave the compote to cook for another 5 minutes, still stirring. Bring to a rapid boil for a minute, then turn off the heat. Immediately pour into sterilized jars and leave to cool and refrigerate before using.

Cupcakes:
6 ounces/ 170 grams unsalted butter, softened
9 ounces/ 255 grams granulated sugar
3 large eggs (about 6 ounces/ 150 grams)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 ounces/ 400 grams all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
A pinch of salt
12 ounces/ 370 grams milk

Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C. Beat the butter at high speed with an electric mixer until creamy, then add the sugar and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, which should take about 3 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, waiting for the previous egg to be fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla extract.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, then start adding all the flour and the milk to the butter/sugar mixture in batches, alternating between the flour and the milk. Pause after each addition, to allow the flour and milk to be mixed thoroughly before the next addition.

Scoop the batter into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool on wire racks.

Frosting:
5 ounces/ 140 grams shredded coconut
4 ounces/ 115 grams unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
5 ounces/ 140 grams powdered sugar, sifted

Spread the coconut on a lined baking tray and toast in an oven pre-heated to 300F/ 160C for 15 to 20 minutes, until it turns a golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Beat the butter with an electric mixer until it achieves a creamy, paste-like texture. Add the cream and sifted sugar and continue to beat the mixture until smooth.

To assemble:
With a melon baller or a teaspoon, make a cavity in the middle of each cupcake and fill with a teaspoon of kumquat compote. Seal each cavity with some of the cake sponge that was removed and pipe or spread the frosting. Sprinkle each frosted cupcake with the toasted coconut flakes and chill for at least an hour before serving.

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LWee - Congratulations on your one year anniversary! I hope to be still reading your blog and getting inspired in the years to come.

Proudest moment in the past year?
In the kitchen – successfully made a batch of pineapple tarts for CNY and introduced it to my colleagues. This is coming from someone who doesn’t like to cook/bake but loves good food!

At work – got promoted! yay!

At home – still enjoying life with R and planning to conquer Mt Kilimanjaro at the end of this year.

If I win, can I swap the subscription for a bunch of your yummy macarons? or the yummy lemongrass flan? or squash blossom and goat cheese gallette?

Ok, time to stop salivating at your photographs… need to get back to work.

Congrats again and keep up the good work.

Chez Us - Oh, I love your kumquats. Reminds me I forgot to candy some this year. I love having a few little jars around for the year. Wonder if I can still find any …

One Year! Congrats! I love the give away & would go ga ga over winning it!! My proudest moment this past year involving food – pulling off the 1st of many spectacular food photography workshops yesterday. If I say so myself, it was brilliant!! As well, my other proudest moments involving food have been the wonderfully creative and warm relationships I have built the past year with you, Allison, Janet, Darya and Megan!! So inspired by all of you all the time!

stacy - My proudest moment of the last year would have to be replying “Yes” when my husband asked if I wanted to move across the country. It’s been stressful, challenging, and terrifying, but I think it was good for us. Now if only sunny SoCal was actually sunny this week…

I am a fan on Facebook, too!

Dominique (De vous à moi...) - The proudest moment in the past year, it’s when my son anounced me I’ll be grandmother in august…
Happy birthday to your blog… It’s allways a pleasure to read every post!

Zen - My proudest moment of last year would be to have a friend who took on various challenges, taking bold steps, going beyond her comfort zone and found ‘herself’ in more ways than one, and that person is YOU, my friend… =)

heather - wow those look incredible. coconut and kumquats are two of my most-loved foods — putting them together is genius! if ever i can find kumquats in the stores around here, i’ll give these a try. so my proudest moment in the past year was definitely finishing my master’s thesis and getting my master of public health in nutrition. it was a strenuous and challenging two years — an incredible feeling to have accomplished it!

cheers,

*heather*

Shannalee - Wow, these cupcakes look amazing! Tried my first kumquats in January (even went to a kumquat festival on vacation in Florida!) and wish I’d known about this then! :)

My proudest moment was probably the party I had last August to celebrate MY blog’s first birthday. It’s an exciting time. Enjoy it and the looking back!

Wizzythestick - My proudest moment was over an incident at work where I stood up for something I really believed in and reported a matter to the police. I got in a world of trouble with my employers and am still somewhat persona non grata in my workplace. In the end a child’s life was affected in a positive way because of my actions and I can sleep well at night. knowing I did the unpopular but right thing. Thanks for making this an international giveaway and I became a fan on facebook

Felicia - Proudest moment was succeeding in making home-made ‘bak kwa’ (Chinese pork jerky) for Chinese New Year this year!

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best - Happy bloganniversary! Here’s to following your dreams! I like that picture of the kumquat compote, the richness of the deep orange hue and the glistening of the syrup.

My proudness moment in the past year was keeping it together when I found out that we had to move from the bay area to New York.

Asha@FSK - Congratulations on your year of happiness!! :))) Just realised I completed 2 years myself! totally forgot about it…. haha.. have to make something happy to celebrate

Wendy - Congratulations on your 1st year! My proudest moment of the past year was purchasing my first home.

tigerfish - For me, it has to be clinching a book deal last year! I’m seeing it to completion this year, hopefully.

Love those kumquats :)

lini - Kumquat and cakes are both my favourite.I love them both.But i have not eaten kumquat cakes yet.

Kaitlin - The cupcakes look great! I am new to your blog, but I love your photos – congrats on your first year!!

My proudest moment was… hmm… It’s kind of a proudest state, I guess? I’ve really been coming into my own in the past year, and I’m happy that I am finally truly myself. College has been great for me :)

OysterCulture - Congrats on your 1 year blogaversairy – I cannot believe its only been a year for you – the writing and photography are incredible – Usually you see a some bit of floundering as people discover their voice – but you started at the top, not sure where else there is to go?

For me my proudest moment,is being able to check one item off my bucket list – adjunct instructor in international business at a local B school. I have not started the class yet, but worked on my syllabus yesterday – that’s a bit harder than it looks. I am just so excited.

Dixie - My proudest moment in the past year was when I stopped trying to please everyone else, and just focused on myself for a change. It was really refreshing, and my stress level went from a 9 to about a 3. :)

Leslie - Congrats on your 1 year anniversary!

Barbara - Ohhh… I love this kumquat-filled cupcakes! Congrats on your first year AND thank you: great giveaway!!!
My proudest moment in the past year… mmmh… cooked leg of veal for the birthday party of my husband. It ‘was quite a feat for me!
I am a fan on Facebook too, as Barbara Palermo.
Love from Italy!

Beth - Congrats on the Blog!

My proudest moment would have to be watching and helping my boyfriend recover from an intense surgery….without ANY complaining. He couldn’t solids for over 4 months….

anna - Happy one year!!! Those cupcakes look yuuuummyyyyy.

I’ve had a LOT of great moments over the past year…moving several states to go to school, finishing school, getting my first real pastry job…

Beaulotus - I love lucky draws, especially one that’s open to everyone no matter where we live!

Love your blog, hope that you will find fulfillment and success in your endeavour.

My proudest moment is recent, when my eldest son passed his golf test (in Italian) on his first try. He hasn’t had much success in his young life, not being quite good at or motivated by anything. It was a surprise that he passed and I am really quite relieved that he managed it because truth be told I was expecting him, as usual, to fail. You can say that I wasn’t proud of myself actually for having had thoughts like that, but it didn’t take away the sense of joy and pride that I had when he got through that. I hope that it would be the beginning of many more successes to come.

shenais - anything coconut- mmm. :-)
my proudest moment- talking with my tween about her body, sex, etc. without passing out!

El - Danielle, Congratulations on your blog anniversary. It’s been wonderful to read your posts, make your recipes and watch your photography skills develop to a professional level. This blog is all the gift I need. Here’s to your future posts!

katieatthekitchendoor - Congrats! I only hope I make it to my one year anniversary… bringing me to my proudest moment so far this year: the first time one of my photos got featured on tastespotting.com. I couldn’t stop smiling.

P.S. facebook fan!

Kirstin @ ivorypomegranate - Proudest moment this year: surviving eight months in Baghdad!

(email: kirstin [at] ivorypomegranate [dot] com)

thanks!

beth - Yay for a year! And these look delicious – and not just ’cause I like any excuse to say kumquat.

My proudest moment of the past year? I’m just happy I survived it, it has been a doozy. But I also made many delicious yeast-based items in the kitchen – which always terrified me, seemingly for no reason…

Workwise, I’ve managed to put together some pretty amazing fashion shows and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Megan Gordon - Great, great giveaway, Danielle and look at those cupcakes! My word!

My proudest moment this year: I guess probably realizing that I absolutely can live on my own without freaking out…and kind of enjoy it, actually. Also seeing my youngest sister graduate a few days ago. That was up there. Kind of a big deal as she’s the last among three of us–a sign that we’re all grown-up (sort of).

Work-wise: receiving an actual real-life check for my first freelance writing job. That was big. I still can’t believe people pay me money to eat, photograph, and write about it!

Becky - congratulations! proudest moment of past year ~ finally, achieving sobriety.

Emily Martin - Happy bloggiversary! I am a fan of yours on facebook :-)

My proudest moment in the last year was being paid to make a huge wedding cake for a complete stranger. I never thought I’d get paid to cook!

Lynne - Congratulations on your Anniversary!! I am also a Facebook Fan :)

Our first Anniversary is just over a week away and this past year has been a whirlwind of incredible activities and very proud moments.
We eloped (notified the 6 children via telephone after the fact), moved to a new community, both of us changed careers, we bought a new house and adopted a dog from the SPCA!
Life is fabulous and each new day brings wonderful surprises…all I can think of is what comes next??

Lick My Spoon - Congrats on a year of living the dream, Danielle!

My proudest moment of the year so far? Being asked to do what I love (eat, write, travel) by the great folks at Kapalua Food & Wine Festival in Maui! still pinching myself that I get to go to Hawaii for the first time due to this little experiment of mine called food blogging.

Chocolate Chip Cookies « Bon Vivant - [...] Before you go, celebrate Bon Vivant’s first anniversary by joining in on our first giveaway!  [...]

Lethea Benson - Okay, my proudist moment? My daughter receiving a scholarship & saying thanks for making me study harder=) That’s the moment when I think it clicked with her that some of the hardest things you do can be the most rewarding ever!
Thanks so much!

sylvia - My proudest moment, is when I completed a national training camp under my ministry – royal rangers.
It encompassed camping skills, survival techniques, and many a outdoor cooking.

My team and I gathered tinder, kindling and branches to start out own fire. And roasted 2 large chickens over a spit fire.
It got burnt a fair bit, but because we cooked it from scratch ourselves, it tasted good anyway!

tricia - First congrats on your year of blogging and living your life from the heart! The challenges are great but powerful and amazing all at once :) and you’ve done a fantastic job! Plus–the cupcakes look ridiculous/divine. Can’t wait to try them!

Easy Broccolini « Bon Vivant - [...] really want to thank all of you for the heart-warming, personal stories you shared about your proudest moment in the past year. I knew a question like that might provoke some really insightful answers, but you guys just blew [...]

house garden - Congrats barbara! I so envy you LOL!

Thanks for the recipe. I sure will try it this weekend.

Easy Broccolini » Beyond the Plate - [...] really want to thank all of you for the heart-warming, personal stories you shared about your proudest moment in the past year. I knew a question like that might provoke some really insightful answers, but you guys just blew me [...]

Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Chanterelles, Sage | Beyond [the Plate] - [...] ends. As much as I enjoy making my own stocks, pie and tart crusts, ketchup and the occasional fruit compote, the prospect of home-made pasta still intimidates me, hence the inertia around forking out for a [...]

Easy Broccolini | Beyond [the Plate] - [...] really want to thank all of you for the heart-warming, personal stories you shared about your proudest moment in the past year. I knew a question like that might provoke some really insightful answers, but you guys just blew me [...]

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