The birthday celebration happily fell on Cinco de Mayo this year – ole! I was greatly inspired to do something out of the ordinary for it after a trip to San Antonio in April where I purchased the most adorable donkey piñata, some local prickly pear syrup, and the ubiquitous colorful papel picado (associated with Day of the Dead in November, but the quintessential Mexican decoration).
Cinco de Mayo Menu:
- Key Lime Cheesecake with Lime Glaze
- Mexican Sweet Buns (Conchas)
- Mexican Brownies with Spiced Churro Buttercream
Key Lime Cheesecake. In selecting this particular cheesecake, I wanted to evoke the experience of an ice-cold salty margarita to go with the theme. The cheesecake batter contains lime juice, but the glaze is made up entirely of it – pure magic. The glaze sets the tone for the bite, starting with a gelatinous, acidic tang that’s only slightly-sweet and ending with a creamy, slightly-salty cloud of cake. The recipe I used came from a blog where the author decorated the top with puffs of whipped cream and half lime slices, so I duplicated that look.
Once you get the hang of cheesecakes (knowing your preferred density – straight cream cheese or for it to be cut with sour/heavy cream, mixing room temperature cream cheese before adding the eggs, and steaming the cake with a water bath set on a separate rack of the oven to prevent leakage), it’s hard not to make them for every occasion or for none in particular. I pretty much can’t think of any other dessert that qualifies as breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
Mexican Sweet Buns. These tasty little buns were so fun to make – both because the assembly instructions were super helpful and because of the fun colors (you guessed it – they’re all-natural!). I used the recipe (and she has an awesome video) from the Sprinkle Bakes blog which featured a lovely shell (concha) design in the sugar paste. The tricky part wasn’t overlaying the sugar paste on top of the bun, though that did take some practice. What was hard was overlaying it before the bun raised too much. If I make these again, I will roll out and indent all the sugar paste pieces before dividing the dough into buns. The color was easy to incorporate in the sugar paste but it took quite a few drops of the natural dye.
Mexican Brownies. These delicious and festive brownies were inspired by the chocolate bars you find paired with every imaginable spice, but usually something with heat like, chipotle or cayenne. I decided on cayenne and looked at several recipes to inform the quantity. No one used more than one teaspoon so I went with that, but I was surprised how subtle the taste ended up being. The cayenne seemed to kick in on the back end, as I was finishing the last morsel. The way to include more punch, I concluded, was to put icing on the brownie (always a good idea!) in which I’d put more of the spice as well as plenty of cinnamon. This worked well and elevated the brownie out of its initial middle of the pack status. I topped these with picks decorated with piñata clip art, to go with the donkey.
My only regret with this order was not finding a way to use the prickly pear syrup I bought! But, I’m working on some ideas on that front. Hope you found a way to celebrate the “holiday”!
corrie @ Peachie’s Treats