There is so much to be said about Thomas Jefferson. Many people are out there saying it all. I see Jefferson as almost a magic 8 ball. We turn to him looking for something that resembles the answer we most want to hear.
In addition to being the main author of the Declaration of Independence and our third President, Jefferson had many interests. For example he was into architecture, archaeology, wine making, cooking and industrial design.
Jefferson was also what was called a gentleman farmer. These guys had estates of many purposes. I’ve seen the gentleman farmer described as an “intellectual farmer.” This term, like many, fits Jefferson.
At Monticello, Jefferson oversaw the growth of many plants. Monticello had flower gardens, fruit gardens and vegetable gardens. there is much to choose from here toward developing a cupcake for Jefferson. Jefferson called his eight-acre fruit garden “fruitery.” There he grew gooseberries, currants, raspberries and apples.
And there were the peaches. At some point Jefferson planed as many as 38 varieties of this sweet, juicy fruit. With his bounty of peaches, in addition to drying them, he made mobby, a peach cider or brandy (depending on whether or not it was distilled).
In contrast to the success of his peach growing, Jefferson tried with limited success to grow almonds. Since, Jefferson was a man of contrasts, it seemed suitable that his cupcake should combine the flavors of his successes with the flavors of his failure. His failures, after all, were as important in the making of the man as his successes.
The Botanist is a peach and almond cupcake. The cake is flavored with peach schnapps, peach preserves and peach puree. There is a bit of ground almond and almond extract in the cake as well. The frosting is a peach-rum buttercream; it was flavored with a bit of almond extract, peach schnapps, peach preserves and spiced rum.
With all of the peach-based ingredients in this cake, I expected the fruit flavor to be stronger than it was. Overall, I would call this cupcake a flavor success. However, there were some elements that weren’t what I was going for. These cupcakes turned out to be softer than I thought it would be, and as you can probably tell from the picture below, they did not rise as much as I expected them to. I may find myself back in the kitchen tweaking this recipe. I’d also love to try the frosting with a brandy instead of the schnapps and rum combination.