RECIPE: Tomato Cupcakes | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures RECIPE: Tomato Cupcakes | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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RECIPE: Tomato Cupcakes

A first for most of us: tomato cupcakes!
Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet
  Before raising an eyebrow, remember that tomatoes are a fruit!

And cookbook author Hannah Kaminsky, who developed this recipe, is a fan.

“When it comes to the divide between sweet and savory, the line that separates the two is becoming thinner and more difficult to distinguish with every passing year.” says Hannah.

“Palates are opening up, eaters from all walks of life are growing more adventurous, and chefs are gleefully pursuing their wildest culinary dreams. In a world with such a vast array of flavors, there must still be countless winning combinations merely waiting to be discovered.

“In my eyes, tomato cupcakes aren’t such a stretch of the imagination. Tomato soup cakes have been around since the turn of the century as a thrifty way of making something sweet in times of sugar rationing. Originally dubbed “mystery cake” as a way of concealing the secret ingredient, you’d never know there was tomato present in the tender crumb.

“Taking inspiration from these humble origins but with the desire to celebrate the bold, beautiful tomatoes now in season rather than bury them in an avalanche of sugar, it seemed high time to revisit the idea of a tomato cake.”



“You can truly taste the tomato in these fiery red cupcakes,” says Hannah. “Not only that, but the unassuming beige frosting holds yet another surprise taste sensation: A tangy punch of balsamic vinegar, tempered by the sweetness of the rich and fluffy matrix that contains it.

“Trust me, it’s one of those crazy things that you’ve just got to taste to believe. Although it may sound like an edible acid burn, that small splash is just enough to brighten up the whole dessert.

“While tomatoes are still at their peak, sweet as ever and available in abundance, now is the time to experiment and try something new. Don’t call it a secret ingredient this time around and finally let them shine when the dessert course rolls around.”


Ingredients For 15-16 Cupcakes

For The Tomato Cupcakes

  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes, roughly blended, or
    1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    For The Balsamic Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic reduction
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Up to 1 tablespoon milk
  • Optional garnish: small basil or mint leaves
  •   tomato-cupcakes-top-down-kaminsky-230
    The cupcakes photographed in the garden. Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.


    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F and line 15-16 cupcake tin wells with papers.

    2. COMBINE the blended (but not completely puréed) tomatoes, olive oil, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and set aside.

    3. WHISK together in a separate large bowl the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Make sure that all the dry goods are thoroughly distributed before adding in the wet ingredients. Mix everything together with a wide spatula, stirring just enough to bring the batter together and beat out any pockets of unincorporated dry ingredients. A few remaining lumps are just fine.

    4. DISTRIBUTE the batter to the prepared cupcake pans, filling the papers about 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centers pulls out cleanly, with perhaps just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not wait for the tops to brown, because the centers will be thoroughly overcooked by then. Let cool completely before frosting.

    5. MAKE the frosting: Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat briefly to soften before adding in the confectioner’s sugar, balsamic glaze and vanilla. Begin mixing on low speed until the sugar is mostly incorporated, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Turn the mixer up to high and slowly drizzle in the milk as needed to bring the whole mixture together. Continue whipping for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.

    6. FROST the cupcakes and garnish as desired.

    *NOTE: All of Hannah’s recipes are originally vegan. We converted them to dairy for THE NIBBLE’s readership.


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