chocolate cupcake stuffed with ginger caramel, frosted with mango ganache, and topped with a mango-Ginger won ton110

Posted by chockylit in Asian-Inspired, Chocolate, Experimental Recipe, Step-by-Step Photos, Tropical Fruits (Tuesday June 12, 2007 at 4:18 pm)

chocolate cupcake stuffed with ginger caramel, frosted with mango ganache, and topped with a mango-ginger won ton

The impetus for the recipe was that I wanted to approach the challenge of creating a fruity chocolate ganache frosting. The remainder of the components just fell in place. For a first try, I would say the frosting was fine. I could taste the mango and of course the chocolate, but the mango was subtle. There was also the issue of the texture, not bad but definitely unexpected for a ganache which is normally very smooth. I contemplated beating the ganache in an electric mixer and possibly adding some powdered sugar to smooth it out, but didn’t want to dull the taste further. If I had managed to get some mango liquor on the other hand, I would have definitely beat the cooled ganache with a cup or two of sifted powdered sugar and added liquor to taste. Maybe next time…

As for the end result, I used my favorite rich, chocolately cupcake base so I was off to a good start. The caramel and frosting tasted great together, but all in all I would say the flavors were a bit too subtle. I would pump up the ginger in the caramel, likely with fresh, chopped ginger, and pump up the frosting as I described above. I think this cupcake is definitely worth another take.

On a side note, my next post may be a bit slow to come. I gave birth to my first child this past weekend a couple weeks on the early side (but full term and quite healthy). Naomi and I have some work to do over the next couple weeks, but once things settle I hope to be back at it and newly inspired. Thanks for all your well wishes!

Naomi Porro
Naomi Porro, Born June 8th, 2007

Cupcakes
~15 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

100 grams Valrhona 61% cacao (or any bittersweet chocolate)
1-1/2 sticks butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon fleur de sel or any salt

1. Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.
3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
5. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 15 seconds between each
6. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the mixture, return to the electric mixer, and mix until blended.
7. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Ginger Caramel

2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or any salt
1 teaspoon ginger powder

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, lemon juice, salt, and ginger powder. Stir until combined.
9. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

cupcake filled with ginger caramel
giner caramel filling

Mango Chocolate Ganache

meat from 1 mango
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate like Valrhona 61% cocao
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or any salt

1. Puree mango meat in a blender or food processer. You should end up with around a half a cup.
2. Chop chocolate and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
3. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.
4. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
5. Add vanilla, mango, and salt. Stir until combined.
6. Let cool to room temperature.

Note: The texture of this frosting isn’t as smooth as regular ganache due to the pureed mango. But it tastes great and looks fine. I was also planning on adding mango liquor to taste, but couldn’t find any locally. If you do happen to come across some, I think it would be a great addition as the mango flavor is otherwise mild.

Mango Ginger Won Tons

spring roll or wonton wrappers, thawed if frozen
1 mango
1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger
1 egg, beaten to blend
grapeseed oil for frying, or other vegetable oil

1. Trim the wrappers into 2″ squares.
2. Chop the mango into a small dice. The meat from a half of a mango will likely be enough, but the leftover mango-ginger mix makes a great topper for salmon.
3. Chop the ginger into a fine dice. Mix mango and ginger together.
4. Lay out your cut wrappers so they face you in a diamond shape.
5. Using a pastry brush, brush egg along the top edges of the wrappers.
6. Spoon a small amount of mango and ginger into each wrapper.
7. Fold the bottom pointed corner of the wrapper up over fruit and press to seal. You will end up with little triangles.
8. Fill the bottom of a heavy pan with 1/2 inch of oil. Heat the oil to between 360°F and 375°F. 9. Working in batches, add spring rolls to hot oil and cook until golden and crisp. About 30 seconds per side. 10. Using slotted spoon, transfer spring rolls to paper towels to drain. Set aside to cool fully.

Note: I happened to have purchased 4″ wrappers, but they come in many sizes. I cut the wrappers with kitchen shears into 2″ squares. This proved to be a good size for cupcake decorating.

brushing egg on wrapper
brushing egg on wrapper

stuffing won ton
stuffing wrapper

folding won ton
sealing wrapper

Assembly
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 caramel.
3. Replace the top of the cone.
4. Scoop a tablespoon of ganache on top of each cupcake. Smooth with a small offset spatula.
5. Top with a won ton.

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

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.

Recipe: Lychee-Coconut Cupcakes with Ginger-Cream Cheese Frosting, Candied Ginger Sprinkles, and Sugar Decorations22

Posted by chockylit in Cheese, Coconut, Spices, Thai-Inspired, Tropical Fruits (Monday August 15, 2005 at 2:20 pm)

The lychee and coconut flavors in these cupcakes are subtle, but decidedly tropical. The cake texture is crumbly and moist. The chopped lychee and coconut provide interesting texture variation. The unfrosted cupcakes are delicious and not too sweet, perfectly yummy on their own.

The frosting was fantastic as expected, when is cream cheese frosting not? I added about a tablespoon of fresh ginger which provided some texture, but added more and more ginger powder until I was happy with the bite. I can’t say exactly how much I added, but its best to just add to taste. The burnt caramel sugar decorations added a nice crunch and another layer of flavor.

Overall, these cupcakes tasted pretty special… very multi-dimensional and flavorful. The recipe should be a good starting point for any combination of tropical flavors.

Cupcakes
24 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup oil
25 grams coconut cream powder (1/2 pack) dissolved in 1/3 cup hot water
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces canned lychee fruit, drained and chopped
1 cup fresh coconut, grated (see note below on dealing with the fresh coconut)

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 to the eggs and mix to combine
4. add eggs/oil to the dry ingredients, mix to combine
5. add vanilla, lychee, and coconut to the rest of the ingredients and mix to combine
6. scoop into lined cupcake tins with an ice cream scooper
7. bake at 350 degree oven (325 convection) for ~20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean

Ginger-Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4-5 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or chopped fine
1 teaspoon ground ginger (the spice)

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 4 cups of the sugar and beat until combined
5. add gingers and 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. add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like

[optional] Sugar Decorations

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon glucose

1. put everything in a small saucepan over medium-high heat
2. stir until sugar dissolves
3. let boil until it reaches 320 degrees F, use a candy thermometer
4. brush down the sides with water as it boils (to prevent crystallization), don’t stir
5. prepare a small bowl of cold water to dip pan in once temperature is reached
6. transfer pan into bowl and quickly drizzle sugar syrup over a silicon mat or mold

Assembly

1. chop some candied ginger to sprinkle on the cupcakes
2. scoop a dollop of frosting on to each of the cooled cupcakes
3. sprinkle candied ginger on top
4. place sugar decoration on top of that

[note] Ah, The Coconut

There was to be only one option, fresh coconut. Fresh is always superior to dried, no? First I took an ice chipper and a hammer and poked a couple of holes into the coconut.


fig. 1 poking holes

I set the coconut over a plastic container to drain.


fig. 2 draining

Then I took the coconut, wrapped it in a towel, grabbed a hammer, and relocated to the front stoop. There I preceded to bang on the coconut until the darn thing gave. That took some brute force. It had been a while since I cracked a mature coconut and it proved to be mildly frustrating.


fig. 3 cracked

The cracked coconut and I returned to the kitchen where the flesh was separated from the shell with a butter knife. The brown skin was peeled off the flesh with a vegetable peeler. The flesh was rinsed in cold water and 4 ounces was weighed into a tared bowl.

I opted for using a food processor to grate the coconut flesh. Given the amount of time I had already invested in the coconut, hand grating with a box grater seemed extravagant. I grated in small batches in the hopes of getting at uniformity. It worked out fine. I am not sure just how much better the fresh coconut is compared to bagged, as I didn’t try the second option. I can only hope it was worth the effort.

Printable, PDF-version of the recipe.

Baking Fun: Hummingbird Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting30

Posted by chockylit in Bananas, Nuts, Simple Recipe, Tropical Fruits (Monday March 28, 2005 at 3:15 pm)

I made these bad boys yet again. It’s probably the 20th time. They are simply one of my favorite non-chocolate cupcakes. “Hummingbird cake”, from what I understand, is a southern recipe. I have seen the recipe around. Martha Stewart had it in her magazine. I forget when… I got the recipe I use from the internet. I don’t remember where from as I copied it down a long time ago.

Seeing as I can’t find the recipe and all the others I have found have twice the oil, I will go ahead and reprint what I have.

Hummingbird Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 8oz can crushed pineapple, with liquid
2 mashed bananas
1 cup coursely chopped pecans

1. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt with a whisk in a good sized bowl.
2. Beat eggs.
3. Add oil and vanilla to beaten eggs and mix until somewhat combined.
4. Add egg/oil/vanilla mixture to flour/sugar/baking soda/cinnamon/salt mixture.
5. Mix together pineapple, bananas, pecans until combined.
6. Add to the rest of ingredients and stir to combine.

Bake at 350 degrees for ~25 minutes until golden and a cake tester comes out clean. I top these off with the cream cheese frosting recipe from the Buttercup Bakeshop book.


finished product


dry, wet, and chunky