Jackfruit, Banana, and Peanut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting24

cupcakes topped with chopped peanuts and salt

I have heard of Jackfruit. After all, I do live in San Francisco and get exposed to a variety of “exotic” ingredients. This was, however, my first time tasting it and to be honest, I am not sure how to describe it. I am told that I need to try the real (fresh) jackfruit as opposed to canned (canned was admittedly what I had on hand), but have also been warned of the amount of work it involves to wrangle one into submission. I have since learned that many Asian grocery stores sell manageable chunks of fresh jackfriut, so I wouldn’t have to commit to a large whole one.

So, while I can’t easily compare jackfruit to something familiar to the US palate, I will describe the resulting cupcakes as tasty starting off with a hint of banana then rounding out with a jackfruit or “tropical” flavor. They are dense and muffin-like with definite chew and crunch. The cake could be lightened up some by cutting back some on the jackfruit and peanuts.

Cupcakes
20 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces canned jackfruit, drained and chopped
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped

1. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar in a medium sized bowl.
2. In a separate medium sized bowl bowl, beat eggs to break up.
3. Add oil, coconut milk, and vanilla to the eggs and mix to combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix to combine.
5. Add jackfruit, mashed bananas, and peanuts to the rest of the ingredients and mix to combine.
6. Scoop into cupcake papers about 2/3s full with an ice cream scooper.
7. Bake at 350 degree oven for ~25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

jackfruit and banana
jackfruit & banana

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4-5 cups sifted powdered sugar

1. Bring butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment.
3. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
4. Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar and beat until combined.
5. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like

Assembly
1. Frost cupcakes.
2. Chop some unsalted peanuts with salt.
2. Sprinkle peanuts on top of cupcakes

jackfruit, banana, and peanut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting65

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate, Coconut, Simple Recipe (Tuesday November 7, 2006 at 9:53 pm)

old fashioned chocolate cupcake with coconut buttercream

I was simply in the mood for something simple. I figured it was a good time to start working on what I hope to become my favorite old-fashioned chocolate cupcake recipe. I already have a rich chocolate cupcake recipe I love that I have used a lot this past year, but sometimes I want something that reminds me of the chocolate cake I ate as a kid.

This is the recipe I normally use, which is a slight variation from a recipe in an old Better Homes & Garden cookbook my mom had forever. While I think the recipe is very “old-fashioned” I did want to give it a boost and enhance the chocolate flavor.

I started with the recipe above but adjusted some ratios which really involved adding an egg, more butter, and more cocoa. I also added instant espresso powder as I saw this in a number of old-fashioned or devil’s food type recipes. Lastly instead of the “dump it all in one bowl and mix” method, I decided on using the typical creaming method which involves creaming butter with sugar, adding eggs, then alternating dry and wet ingredients.

Ultimately the cupcakes came out great. The flavor is indeed richer and more chocolatey while not super intense. The cocoa and milk keep it mellow. The texture is somewhat spongy, but not as spongy as a sponge cake. It is moist enough, but the kind of cake you want to eat with a glass of milk. I think I will decrease the amount of espresso powder in subsequent tests as I could kind of taste the coffee and only really want to taste chocolate.

One last thing before I get on to the recipe. As you may have noticed my posting frequency dropped off somewhat this month. I am afraid that posting will be intermittent over the next couple months. I promise to pick it up as soon as I can.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cocoa powdered
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1-1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition.
3. Measure the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and espresso powder into a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure the milk and vanilla into a measuring thing.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 3/4’s full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: I try to use the best quality cocoa I can find. It makes a huge difference. For this recipe I used Valrhona cocoa.

Coconut Buttercream Frosting
1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups coconut, sweetened flaked

1. Beat butter briefly, scrape bowl.
2. Add the sifted powdered sugar and milk. Beat until smooth.
3. Add coconut and mix until combined.

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with coconut-buttercream frosting.
2. Top with chocolate shavings.

cupcakes

Lemongrass Cupcakes with Lemongrass-Coconut Buttercream Frosting24

Posted by chockylit in Coconut, Experimental Recipe, Herbs & Flowers, Vietnamese-Inspired (Sunday August 6, 2006 at 7:06 pm)

lemongrass cupcakes with lemongrass-coconut buttercream frosting
Having worked with lemongrass before, in Thai curries and soups, I knew I would have to coax the flavor out of these tough, little stalks. The key, I found, was to search out the freshest specimens possible and peel away the tough outer skin. The next step was to chop a whole stalk and steep in the liquid intended for the cupcakes.

The end result was deliciously sweet and moist with a subtle lemongrass flavor that paired well with the very coconuty frosting. But I have to be frank… when I tasted the batter it was really bringing back taste memories that I struggled to recall. When it finally hit me, I was almost disappointed. How could something as exotic as lemongrass remind me of the milk at the end of the bowl of fruity pebbles!

The baked cake lost its fruity pebble flavor, thankfully, and I was quite pleased with the cupcake overall.

Lemongrass Milk

1-1/2 cups milk, whole
1 stalk lemongrass

1. Bring milk and lemongrass to a gentle simmer for about three minutes.
2. Turn off heat and let cool until warm.
3. Transfer about half of the milk and most of the lemongrass solids into a blender and pulse for about 30 seconds.
4. Transfer everything back into the pan and let cool fully.

chopped lemongrass
chopped lemongrass

lemongrass milk
simmering lemongrass milk

Lemongrass Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup lemongrass milk (see recipe above)
1 teaspoon lemongrass, tender part only, chopped finely
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
5. Add chopped lemongrass to the lemongrass milk.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the lemongrass milk and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and lemongrass milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full.
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

cooling cupcakes
cooling cupcakes

Lemongrass-Coconut Buttercream Frosting

1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/4 cup lemongrass milk (see recipe above)
1-1/2 cups grated fresh coconut
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. Beat butter briefly, scrape bowl.
2. Add the sifted powdered sugar and lemongrass milk. Beat until smooth.
3. Add coconut and mix until combined.

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.
[Optional] Chop unsalted peanuts with some kosher salt until fine. Sprinkle over cupcakes.

lemongrass

Samoas® Cupcake48

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate, Coconut, Experimental Recipe, Step-by-Step Photos (Friday March 31, 2006 at 9:19 pm)

This here is the original recipe referred to in the Chronicle article. The only difference being that the caramel filling was not published for a number of reasons, one to keep the length of the recipe down and two because they tested just as well without the caramel center. I will add that making the caramel can be dangerous! So, if you do it, please make it in a deep pot.

Lastly, I had no clue just how many calories were in one of these! I should have known what with all the butter, coconut, and cream… but seriously… I am glad I ate just a half of one. They are super rich and mini size might be more appropriate (now that’s a thought).

It was fantastic to be mentioned alongside actual businesses. The folks working hard to supply us with made-to-order cupcakes! I am totally adding their links to the right sidebar this weekend.

Brown Sugar Butter Cupcakes

12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds after each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and vanilla together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full.
10. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Toasted Coconut Topping

2 eggs
10 ounces evaporated milk
1-1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 cups shredded, sweet coconut

1. Spread the coconut onto a sheet pan. Toast in a 350 degree oven, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the coconut is an even brown color, about 10 minutes.
2. Crack the eggs into a small saucepan and beat lightly to break up.
3. Add milk, sugar, and butter. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thick, bubbly, and golden, about 15 minutes.
4. Press mixture through a metal sieve and into a bowl to remove any lumps.
5. Add 2 cups of the coconut, reserving the remainder for assembly, stir to combine.
6. Let the mixture cool.


toasted coconut

Caramel

1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter

1. Combine the water, sugar, and the corn syrup in a deep saucepan and cook over medium heat.
2. Stir together with a wooden spoon until the sugar is incorporated.
3. Cover the saucepan and let it cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
4. After 3 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
5. Do not stir from this point on, but it is important to carefully shake the pan so that one area of the caramel doesn’t burn.
6. Continue to cook until the caramel turns an even amber color then remove from the heat and let stand for about 30 seconds.
7. *** This is the dangerous part *** Pour the heavy cream into the mixture. Wear oven mitts, stand away from the pan, and be careful. The mixture will bubble up significantly.
8. Stir the mixture, again being careful. Add the butter and stir until combined.
9. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

Note: You will have leftover caramel, it stores well refrigerated in an airtight container for about a month.


the cone!

Chocolate Ganache

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate like Valrhona 61% cocao
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Chop chocolate and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
2. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.
3. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
4. Add vanilla and stir until combined.
5. Let cool to room temperature.

Assemble
1. Using a small pairing knife, cut off the top of the cupcake in the shape of a cone. Flip the top over and cut off the cone.
2. Fill the cavity with a teaspoon of caramel.
3. Replace the top of the cone.
4. Smooth on a light coating of chocolate ganache.
5. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to harden the ganache.
6. With your hands, press out a disk of the coconut topping and place on top of the cupcake. Press to shape the mixture into a dome.
7. Press in some more plain toasted coconut on top of that.
8. Drizzle the top with lines of ganache. Note that you may have to warm the ganache over a water bath to get it to drizzling consistency.


the ganache layer


smoothing on the ganache


drizzling on the ganache

Papaya-Coconut Cupcakes with Ginger-Lime Cream Cheese Frosting43

Posted by chockylit in Cheese, Citrus, Coconut, Tropical Fruits (Saturday March 25, 2006 at 5:12 pm)

I made these cupcakes for a dinner party I will be going to tonight. I wanted to make something to compliment the Asian-inspired menu. It was also a good time to try out some vintage molds I bought at a flea market last weekend. I figured something dense and moist, like this recipe, would be easiest to unmold.

The texture of this cupcake is interesting, not quite a cupcake or a muffin… almost like a fruit cake, but nicer. The cake is moist, chunky, and fruity. After having tasted it, I felt that vanilla pastry cream would have been a nice compliment. Unfortunately, with limited time to shop for more eggs, I stuck with the plan of ginger-lime cream cheese frosting. The end product is still delicious and I will happy to bring them to the party.

On a side note, yesterday was the official one year anniversary of the blog. This will be the 30th cupcake recipe that I have posted and to celebrate, oh how exciting, I will be posting the 31st tomorrow. And lastly, for those of you in the bay area, I am told there may be an article about cupcakes in this Wednesday’s San Francisco Chronicle, in the food & wine section. Check it out if you get a chance.

Papaya-Coconut Cupcakes
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces papaya, chopped
1/2 cup coconut, sweetened

1. mix flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium sized bowl
2. in a separate small bowl, beat eggs to break up
3. add oil and coconut milk to the eggs and mix to combine
4. add eggs/oil/coconut milk mixture to the dry ingredients, mix to combine
5. add vanilla, papaya, and coconut to the rest of the ingredients and mix to combine
6. scoop into cupcake papers with an ice cream scooper
7. bake at 350 degree oven 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean


cooling cupcakes

Ginger-Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or chopped fine
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon lime juice

1. bring the butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
2. sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
3. beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy
4. add the sugar and beat until combined
5. add gingers and lime juice, beat until combined
NOTE: If you are not sure how much ginger taste you might like, start by adding half the amount and taste/adjust until you get the ginger flavor you like.
6. you can add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like


empty molds

Assemble
1. frost cooled cupcakes.
2. top with lime zest.

Coconut Rice Pudding Stuffed Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting & Fruit26

Posted by chockylit in Cheese, Citrus, Coconut, Tropical Fruits (Sunday February 12, 2006 at 10:40 am)

It’s been downright balmy in San Francisco this week, sunny and in the seventies. It got me thinking about beaches, coconuts, papayas, and other things tropical. I had been planning on making Vietnamese coffee cupcakes and stumbled upon a recipe for baked coconut rice pudding. I settled quickly on using the rice pudding as a stuffing for a cupcake and went from there.

The end result was quite delicious. I found though that the cupcakes tasty significantly better the second day after all the flavors had time to meld together. The rice pudding is fantastic on its own and the recipe provides for plenty of left overs. In fact each individual component – the pudding, the simple cake, the frosting, the fruit – is great. And even if one thing didn’t quite come out, you’d still have a tasty treat on your hands.

Cupcakes from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chopped lime zest

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and lime juice/zest together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/lime juice mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes).
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Tip: It is important that the butter is at room temperature and beat well. Otherwise you might get butter chunks which sort of melt into little pools and make the cupcakes come out funny-looking. Not a huge deal, but I thought I’d mention it.


lime zest

Vietnamese Baked Coconut Rice Pudding

1/2 cup rice, short grain
2-1/2 cups coconut milk
1-1/3 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter, cut into chunks
1 cup loosely packed sweetened, flaked coconut – toasted

1. Toast coconut if you haven’t already. Spread on a cookie sheet and place in 350 degree oven for a five or so minutes shaking occasionally until golden brown.
2. Mix the rice with the coconut milk, the milk and the sugar.
3. Grease an oven proof dish. Transfer mixture into the dish, top with chunks of butter, and place in the oven. Be careful, as this is a liquidy mixture and tends to spill.
4. After 30 minutes stir in the coconut and return to the oven.
5. Cook for another 1-1/2 hours, or until almost all the milk is absorbed and a golden skin has formed on top of the pudding.
6. Remove and let cool.


toasted coconut

Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger

1. Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment.
3. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy.
4. Add half of the sugar and the ginger. Beat until combined.
5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Tip: For this recipe, where fresh fruit is set on top of the cupcake, it is best to use a cup or so more sugar to get a stiffer consistency. I didn’t do that and the fruit slid off somewhat in transit.


fruit garnish

Assemble
1. Using a small pairing knife, cut off the top of the cupcake in the shape of a cone. Flip the top over and cut off the base of the cone.
2. Fill the cavity with a teaspoon or so of rice pudding.
3. Replace top.
4. Frost with the frosting.
5. Arrange slices of thinly sliced tropical fruit, like papaya, mango, and banana.

German Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Glaze15

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate, Coconut, Nuts (Sunday October 9, 2005 at 11:52 am)

I make my husband German Chocolate Cake every year for his birthday. It was his favorite growing up and his grandmother still bakes him a German Chocolate Cake whenever we go to visit. This year I made a cupcake version.

Researching for the recipe, I looked closely at the Better Homes & Garden version and the Magnolia version. The ingredients were almost identical and the proportions very similar (the BH&G recipe had slightly more chocolate and slightly less butter). The main difference between the recipes, however, was the number of steps involved. The BH&G recipe had 5 simple steps. The Magnolia recipe had 10 relatively simple steps, but it also had the unfortunate requirement of my having to wash out my one Kitchen Aid bowl in between two steps. I fully intended to do both versions, half recipes of each, and do a side by side comparison of the two. I wanted to know if twice the number of steps made a difference. I am sad to say that I didn’t manage this side-by-side comparison, we got home much too late from birthday present shopping. For the sake of time, I ended up whipping out the BH&G version and added milk chocolate glaze.

The result: The cupcakes were disappointing looking; they shrunk up, pulled away from the papers, and had an insipid, grey color. The texture was fine – I expected them to be too dense, but they were fluffy. The flavor? Boring, but salvaged by the milk chocolate glaze and coconut-pecan topping. Next year I am definitely trying the Magnolia version…

Cupcakes
(from Better Homes & Garden’s New Cook Book, Meredith edition, 1989)
makes 24 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

4 ounces German Sweet Chocolate (Baker’s brand, available at most grocery stores)
1/3 cup water
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs

    preheat oven to 350°F

  1. in a small saucepan, melt chocolate and water over low heat. remove from heat and let cool.
  2. add flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of the electric mixer, stir to combine
  3. add chocolate mixture, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla to the bowl, mix on low to combine, then beat on high speed for 2 minutes
  4. add eggs, beat on high speed for 2 more minutes
  5. scoop into cupcake tins, bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes

Milk Chocolate Glaze

4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. place chocolate in a bowl
  2. heat cream in a saucepan until bubbles form around the edge
  3. pour hot cream over chocolate and stir until smooth
  4. add vanilla and stir until combined
  5. refrigerate to cool

Coconut-Pecan Topping

1 egg
1 5 ounce can of evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1-1/3 cups shredded, sweet coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans

  1. crack the egg into a small saucepan and beat lightly to break up
  2. add milk, sugar, and butter. cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thick, bubbly, and golden, about 15 minutes
  3. remove from heat, add coconut and pecans, stir to combine
  4. refrigerate to cool

Assembly

  1. drizzle a teaspoon of glaze on each cooled cupcake
  2. top with a teaspoon of coconut-pecan topping

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