WFC 2015 was the 4th year of this world wide amazing competition. I had qualified and had planned on going in 2013 but cancer reared it big ugly head right into my family and there was NO way I could go. My husband didn't want me to go and wasn't ready to accept publicly what changes his life was about to take so I begged off by saying I just couldn't afford it. Mike McCloud, CEO of the #WFC even called personally to let me know the film production company had pegged me as one of the contestants to follow...damn that was hard to hear but NO REGRETS.... there was just no way I could leave. So I thanked Mike for taking the time to call but told him I just couldn't afford the costs involved.
Fast forward two years and my husband is cancer free, has settled into his physical changes; they are HUGE and life changing so I'm really proud of him for choosing to live and participate no matter what! And it seemed like the perfect way to celebrate kicking cancer's ass and to move forward embracing what is now our new normal. So I made up my mind I would try my best to qualify again! AND I did!
I qualified just 4 weeks prior to the start of the competition which didn't give me much time to prepare. Tiny little fact: I would be competing against teams who had months and months and even the entire year to prepare and many of these teams would be professional chefs and bakers.
I had to develop a cupcake for the required dish and then a dessert of my choice. Cupcake would have to be turned in at the one hour mark and my signature dessert at the two hour mark. I REALLY needed to work on a cupcake cause I'm not very experienced with cupcakes....why I don't know. I just never made that many! So I experimented with cupcakes after work...oh yes I work for a non profit full time....experimented on the weekends and even in my sleep! I delivered enough cupcakes to make all my friends gain weight!
I finally figured out the cupcake that I thought could compete against the big guns! A Caramel Apple Cupcake with Rum Cinnamon Frosting! Whohoo it's good. I mean really, really good!
Next I had to find someone to be my sous chef...my team mate really! Everyone works with at least one and some have up to four or five helpers! So I contacted one of my foodie friends who lives just south of here and I had first met when I was hosting the Real Women of Philadelphia web site. I knew she was going and offered my help to her and asked if she would team with me. The answer I got stunned me: "I'll see" .....that's it! That's all she said! She didn't even bother to make up an excuse.......Well never mind, obviously I had miss judged completely our "friendship".
That was my first realization that the food competition world in general is as nice as nice can be, but some people take it and themselves all VERY seriously, in fact way too seriously! Me...it's about friendship; building, nurturing and cherishing TRUE FRIENDS...that's MY big win in all of this!
Here's where Karma jumped in and took over! I contacted Lori Cripe McLain an online foodie friend who I had NEVER actually met and asked her if she would like my help and would she help me? She said YES right away and the rest is history! We are now nicknamed the "two skinny chicks" and had more fun than anyone else there! Lori is so good for me...she has a quick whit that kept me laughing, she has the same attitude about it being about so much more than a "win" and have I said yet I ADORE THIS WOMAN? Well I do and she placed in the top ten of the Recipe Category so went on to cook a second time trying to make it to the final table! She is grace under pressure and the best home cook around! One of the top ten in the world in fact!
Here we are together...This was taken just before I started making the Caramel Apple Cupcakes!
Anyway...that's just a snipped of the goings on at the World Food Championships 2015....I'll post more soon when I share my signature dish......
Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Rum Cinnamon Frosting TOP 20 IN THE WFC 2105
FOR THE CARAMEL APPLE CUPCAKES
2 Cups sugar
2 Large eggs
½ cup melted butter
2 teaspoons caramel flavor
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 apples peeled and grated
Preheat oven to 350
Coat cupcake pans with nonstick spray or use cupcake liners (yield 24 cupcakes)
Using an electric mixer combine sugar, eggs, butter and caramel
In a separate bowl combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, salt
Mix dry ingredients into wet. Do not over mix
Fold in apples
Fill cupcake liners ¾ full
Bake until cake springs bake about 15-20 minutes.
Remove and cool before frosting
FOR THE RUM CINNAMON FROSTING
1 Cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 egg white
2 teaspoons rum extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup boiling water
With an electric mixer combine sugar, cream of tartar, egg white, rum extract and cinnamon.
Slowly pour boiling water into sugar and beat on high until stiff.
Fill piping bag with frosting and pipe onto cupcakes or frost with a spatula.