I just got back from the Chocolate on the Beach Festival at Pacific Beach, WA. My sister, girlfriend and I decided to take a girl's getaway and this was the perfect venue. Good friends, chocolate,wine and the beach-doesn't get much better. The weather cooperated on the drive from Seattle, blue skies, dry roads, and snow covered scenery to enjoy.
Once we arrived at Seabrook ( a great little seaside community), our house wasn't ready so we enjoyed a few hours walking on the beach and drinking some local brew at the Mill 109 Pub in Seabrook.
It was a great week-end of fun and letting our hair down. One of those what happens in Moclips stays in Moclips kind of week ends ! A highlight of the festival was the Wine and Chocolate Pairing on Saturday at the 4th Annual, Chocolate & Wine Festival at the Ocean Crest Resort. They paired wine with a variety of chocolate foods. We tried the pulled pork in a chocolate bbq sauce-yummy; the sugared bacon chocolate truffles-killer; but out hands down favorite was the Red Wine Cupcake with Wine Buttercream created by the resort chef, Andy Bickar. I thought I had died and gone to heaven-it was so light and so many flavors, the chocolate the port, the buttercream -we talked about it all night.
All I could do the rest of the weekend was think about that cupcake and how to recreate it. This is the recipe I came up with-it's still missing something with a little sour/tart taste in the butter cream-I thought the cream fraiche would do it,maybe next time I'll try a little mascarpone instead. It came out delicious and pretty close to what we tasted. Let me know what you think.
Port Wine Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes
1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 ounces good quality dark chocolate chips
1/2 Cup boiling water
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 Cups sugar
4 large eggs-room temperature
1 1/4 Cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 C red wine ( I used a good quality Port)
In a heatproof bowl combine cocoa powder and chopped chocolate and pour in the boiling water. Use a whisk and stir the chocolate until it’s all melted. You may need to pop it into the microwave for little 20 second bursts if it starts to freeze up-just be careful not to overheat it. Set this aside while you cream the butter and sugar.
In your mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then beat in each egg one at a time until combined with the creamed butter mixture.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk until combined.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture making sure it’s all combined- I kept my mixer on medium.
Using medium speed on your mixer add 1/3 of the chocolate to the batter mixture, then 1/3 of the the wine, alternating until all of it is blended
Using an ice cream/cookie scoop fill your cupcake papers almost all the way to the top.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes and let cool completely before icing. This buttercream is very delicate and if there is any heat in that cupcake it will melt immediately.
Port Wine Buttercream
6 egg yolks (1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons port
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 cup Port (separate from the 3 tablespoons)
Place the yolks, 3 tablespoons wine and sugar in a heatproof bowl ( I used my Kitchenaid mixer bowl). Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, and using your mixer’s whip attachment, beat the yolks until they are foamy and quite hot-they will feel hot when you dip your finger in them. If you used your mixer bowl then move the bowl onto the mixer (or away from the heat), and beat until they have come to room temperature and formed a dense foam.(If you used a different bowl then gently pour/scrape the eggs into your mixer bowl). Beat in the butter a small (grape-sized ) piece at a time. Add the 2 tablespoons creme fraiche until incorporated. Once you have added all of the butter and creme fraiche, carefully and slowly stream in the cup of Port wine (or whatever you are using),being careful not to over beat your buttercream. (If your buttercream emulsion breaks and looks curdled take a small amount 20-25% of it and warm it over a pot of simmering water, when it melts add it back to the original buttercream and whip it back to a good consistency) When it reaches piping consistency you are ready to pipe. After piping these can sit out at room temperature for a couple of hours-if you refrigerate them , let them come back to room temperature before serving-the frosting hardens in the refrigerator but comes back to it's lovely light as air self if it has time to warm up.
PS. We loved the cupcake so much from the festival that we researched the Chef and when we saw his menu at the Ocean Crest Resort we immediately made reservations for dinner. If you live in Seattle, or Portland and anywhere within driving distance of this resort-make the trip-this is the best meal any of us ever experienced. We were stunned that in this little out of the way town along the Washington Coast we found food that rivals fine dining in any large city. We asked to be put on the mailing list because we wanted to know when Chef Andy Bickar gets stolen away-it's just a matter of time-we want to know where he goes next. We shared Fried Razor Clams in a traditional panko crust with smoked lemon aïoli. Then a bowl of Grandma's Clam Chowder which we discovered when we saw this quote on the resort's website:
“The Ocean Crest Resort in Moclips has a great restaurant. Whenever I go there, I have to have the spinach salad and Grandma’s Famous Clam Chowder.” – Olympic Gold Medalist Apolo Ohno, Chicago Tribune 02/07/10
My sister had the spinach salad with baby spinach, wild mushrooms, red onion, strawberries, Gorgonzola, and a warm brandied pancetta vinaigrette. She also had the Sea scallops with a spinach gorgonzola cream, and chives. Julie had the Dungeness Cappelletti which was a house-made pasta, dungeness crab , three cheeses, herbs, pine nuts, sage brown butter, tomato, and basil pesto. I went for the gusto and had the Roosevelt Elk Tenderloin with caramelized onion-wild mushroom compote, truffled potatoes, and a red wine reduction. We finished this incredible meal with by sharing a huckleberry creme brulee. A perfect ending to a wonderful day. I cannot say enough wonderful things about what Chef Bickar does with the menu and food at this restaurant-I'll say it again , get yourself over to the coast and stop here, you won't regret it. I won't even begin to describe the wine list-check out their website.
The Weldin House where we stayed in Seabrook
The sunset from our balcony