Walnut Cupcakes Topped with Rose White Chocolate Mousse and Baklava25

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Walnut Cupcakes Topped with Rose White Chocolate Mousse and Baklava

Having a seemingly insatiable sweet tooth, baklava, the sticky-sweet treat of layers of buttery phyllo dough, nuts, and honey syrup, has always appealed to me. None the less, I don’t have it too often as my run-ins with baklava are often of the unfortunate “guess how long I have been sitting in this plastic case” variety. Despite its questionable quality, I was tempted to buy some on a recent weeknight fly-by of GFC, a local Mediterranean “fast food” restaurant, to pick up dinner. I thought the better of it and decided to go the cupcake route giving me the excuse and chance to bake up some homemade baklava, which when you buy frozen phyllo dough, looked pretty darn easy to do.

Making the baklava wasn’t hard but it was time consuming. I didn’t mind so much, because boy did it turn out tasty. I was also very happy with the rose petal white chocolate mousse. I went easy on the rose, there is just a hint of it, and the mousse was definitely not too sweet and had a nice texture. Not quite as air-bubbly as a typical dark chocolate mousse, but nice texture just the same. Either two of these components stands well on their own.

I was pleased with the end result. The walnut cake soft and nutty, the mousse cooling with a hint of exotic flavor, and the baklava spicy, syrupy, and crunchy. Definitely a stretch as far as calling it a cupcake, I will admit, but an interesting dessert none the less.

Rose White Chocolate Mousse

5 ounces white chocolate
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
3 egg whites
1/4 cup rose simple syrup
couple drops of red or pink food coloring (optional)

1. Chop the chocolate and set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment set to medium-high speed, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light yellow, about 2 minutes.
3. Place the bowl of egg yolks and sugar over a pan of simmering water. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until thick, about 2 minutes.
4. Take the egg yolk mixture off the heat and add the chopped white chocolate. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until chocolate is melted and combined. Add the butter and incorporate. Set aside. Note: This mixture will be very thick.
5. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment set to medium-high speed, beat the cream until very stiff. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside. Wash and dry the bowl and whisk.
6. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment set to medium-high speed, start beating the egg whites. Heat the rose simple syrup in a small saucepan to soft ball stage (about 235 degrees on a candy thermometer). Gently pour the hot syrup into the egg whites as the mixer is running at low speed. Increase speed to high and beat until the egg whites are stiff.
7. Stir in about 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten. 8. Fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then fold in the whipped cream. Fold in food coloring if desired.
9. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.

Note: You can use purchase rose simple syrup (as I did) or make your own by boiling equal parts water and sugar with a couple drops of rose extract.

rose petal white chocolate mousse
mousse

Walnut Cupcakes
~20 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1-1/2 cups flour (cake if you have it, otherwise all-purpose)
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup grape seed oil or vegetable oil
4 egg yolks (approximately 3 ounces)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup walnut butter
5 egg whites (approximately 5 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup coarsely ground walnuts

1. Sift flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. In a medium bowl, combine oil, egg yolks, water, and walnut butter. Stir to combine.
3. On a low setting, start to beat the dry mixture and slowly add the wet. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until incorporated.
4. Transfer mixture to another bowl. Wash and dry mixer bowl.
5. Whip egg whites with whip attachment on medium-high speed until foamy. With the mixer on medium speed, add cream of tarter and slowly add sugar. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
6. Scoop about a third of the stiff egg whites into the batter and stir to combine. This should lighten up the batter.
7. Transfer the batter to the egg whites and gently fold until there are no more streaks of egg white. Fold in the ground walnuts.
8. Scoop into cupcake cups just less than 1/2 full (so there is room for mousse) and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

Note: You can use prepared walnut butter (as I did) or grind walnuts in a food processor until they become a paste. You can add a small amount of some mild oil to help it along.

Honey Syrup from Epicurious.com

1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
4 whole cloves (optional)

1. In a small pan, stir the sugar, water, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, and cloves over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes.
2. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium, and cook until the mixture is slightly syrupy, about 5 minutes (about 225 degrees on a candy thermometer).
3. Discard the cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. Let cool. The remaining will be used in the next recipe.

honey syrup
honey syrup

Baklava Disks from Epicurious.com
~20 disks / 350 degree oven

1/2 pound walnuts, finely chopped or coarsely ground
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or cardamom
1/2 pound (about 12 sheets) phyllo dough
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter

1. Mix together walnuts, sugar, and spices in a medium sized bowl.
2. Roll out 12 phyllo sheets. Place a sheet of phyllo onto a clean, flat surface. Brush with butter.
3. Repeat with 5 more sheets, buttering between each.
4. Spread the filling over the buttered phyllo.
5. Top with 6 more sheets, buttering between each.
6. Using a circular cookie cutter close to the size of the opening of your cupcake papers, cut as many phyllo disks as you have cupcakes. Using a spatula, transfer to a silpat covered or greased sheet pan.
7. Just before baking, lightly sprinkle the top of the pastry with cold water. This inhibits the pastry from curling.
8. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake until golden brown, about 15 additional minutes.
9. Drizzle the cooled syrup slowly over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 2 hours.

Note: I ended up making by Baklava too thick. I did three layers of eight sheets with two layers of filling. I ended up leaving behind the bottom layer when transferring onto the cupcakes (and saved the bottoms to nibble on). I adjusted the recipe to make a thinner Baklava.

baklava filling
filling

Assemble
1. Pipe the mousse layer just to the top of the cupcake paper.
2. Top with the Baklava disks.
3. Decorate with a dollop of mousse and a walnut.

buttering phyllo
buttering phyllo

scattering filling
spreading filling

stamping out disks
stamping out disks

baked baklava
baked baklava

Cashew, Carrot, Cardamom Cupcakes with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting23

Posted by in Carrots, Indian-Inspired, Nuts, Spices (Sunday October 21, 2007 at 4:47 pm)

cashew, carrot, cardamom cupcakes with cashew cream cheese frosting

This recipe is inspired by a delicious dessert I had when I was last in India. I actually didn’t know the name of the dessert, but I described it to my coworker and she informed me that what I had was Gajar Halwa or carrot pudding. I considered two preparations, one where I made the pudding and stuffed cupcakes with it and the second where I made the pudding and put it directly in to the batter. I opted for the second, simpler preparation. We were having an amazing weekend in San Francisco and I didn’t want to spend it all indoors.

These cupcakes are delicious and completely edible (meaning I could eat and eat them). The cake is much like a typical carrot cake, but mellower. Otherwise, it is just as moist and very flavorful with the crunch of the cashews and slight spiciness of the cardamom. The frosting is scrumptious. I am a fan of cashews and I am very happy with how this recipe came out – creamy, not too sweet, slightly tangy, and very “cashewy”. Together the cake and frosting result in a perfect mid-morning or afternoon treat – satisfying without overwhelming.

Cupcakes
makes 30 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 pound carrots
2 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee
1/2 cup water
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cardamom pods
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup cashews, chopped

1. Peel, rinse, and grate the carrots with a fine grater.
2. Sauté the carrots in clarified butter for 3 minutes. Add the water, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Remove the lid. Stir to cook off any remaining water.
4. Add the milk and cardamom pods. Simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
5. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and stir to dissolve. Simmer for 5 more minutes. You could stop here and have some yummy pudding to eat with vanilla ice cream.
6. Remove of the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. I spread the mixture on a sheet pan so it would cool faster. Remove cardamom pods.
7. In a large bowl, mix together the cooled, cooked carrot mixture, eggs, vanilla, 1-1/2 cups sugar, vegetable oil, and milk.
8. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.
9. Stir the flour mixture into the carrot mixture. Continue to stir until combined.
10. Add the chopped cashews and stir to combine.
11. Scoop out into cupcake papers about 2/3s full. This will give you a nice dome that won’t overflow, so long as your oven is hot enough.
12. Bake at 350 degree oven for ~25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

cardamom and cashews
cardamom and cashews

Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup cashews
2-3 tablespoons vegetable or nut oil
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, room temperature
8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
3-4 cups powdered sugar

1. Grind the cashews for a few pulses in a food processor to break them up.
2. Add two tablespoons of oil and continue to pulse until the nuts start to get creamy. Add more oil, 1 teaspoon or so at a time, until you get to a creamy consistency like chunky peanut butter.
3. Beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add the cashew butter and beat to combine. Scrape the bowl.
4. Sift 3 cups of the powdered sugar into the bowl. Beat to combine.
4. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Note: If you add too much sugar and the frosting gets too thick, simply add a tablespoon or so of milk to soften it up.

Assemble
1. Frost the cooled cupcakes.
2. Garnish with a cashew or candied carrot.

ready for transport
ready for transport

Blueberry & Raspberry Ricotta Almond Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting60

Posted by chockylit in Berries, Cheese, Italian-Inspired, Nuts (Sunday May 20, 2007 at 12:42 pm)

blueberry ricotta almond cupcake with cream cheese frosting

It was bound to happen. Can’t be pregnant, be a cupcake baker, and not make pink and blue cupcakes, right? I made these for the last day of birthing class. We have a snack break every class and it’s always filled with healthy savory treats. So, while I was bringing cupcakes, I wanted to make them relatively “healthy” (without sacrificing taste, of course).

This recipe is a slight variation from one I made a while back. I wanted to try using fresh almonds (hooray for vitamin E and “good” fat) instead of almond paste. The resulting cake was good, but not “almondy” enough. Next time around I would add a half teaspoon of almond extract. I actually really liked the grainy texture that the ground almonds added. But if this sounds unappealing to you, stick to the almond paste (or really grind the hell out of your almonds). As with the last recipe, this one turned out very moist. I could see these standing up to a few days of refrigeration.

I figured between the almonds, the berries, the eggs, the ricotta, and the cream cheese, I ended up with a fairly balanced treat. Fruits, healthy fats, protein, etc. to counter the heavy dose of sugar (yum, sugar). But to keep myself honest, I used my copy of Accuchef software to calculate the nutritional value. Scroll to the very end if you are curious, but perhaps some things are better left unknown…

On a side note, I have had to turn on comment moderation for the time being. So while it may seem like your comment has been posted, it will not show up on the blog until I approve it. This will hopefully be temporary. If anyone has any questions about this, feel free to email me directly.

Cupcakes
~15 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

4 ounces almonds, slivered/peeled
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 stick butter, unsalted/room temp
4 eggs, large/room temp
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blueberries

1. Grind almonds with 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until very fine. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer.
2. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup of sugar to the ground almonds while beating at low speed.
3. Add the ricotta and beat to combine.
4. While beating at low speed, add a tablespoon of butter at a time, waiting for the butter to incorporate until adding the next pat. The butter must be at room temperature or it will not incorporate well.
5. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then beat at medium for about 2 minutes.
6. Crack eggs into a bowl and break up with a fork. At low speed gradually add eggs about a tablespoon at a time, waiting for the eggs to incorporate until adding the next bit.
7. Beat again at medium speed for about 2 minutes.
8. Measure out flour, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and whisk to combine.
9. With a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into the cake batter until combined.
10. Wash and dry the berries. Toss with a small amount of flour. This will help keep the berries from sinking.
11. Fold berries into the batter.
12. Scoop batter into cupcake liners, about 2/3s full.
13. Bake at 350 for about ~25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean

Note: I wanted “pink” and “blue” cupcakes so I divided the batter in two and added blueberries to one and raspberries to the other. You could do this, mix the berries, or even use different fruit.

blueberry ricotta almond cupcakes cooling
cooling cupcakes

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 teaspoon vanilla

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 vanilla. Beat until combined.
5. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Assembly
1. Frost cupcakes.
2. Top with a candy decoration, berries, or slivered almonds.

Note: I kneaded store-bought white fondant with gel food coloring, rolled out with a little corn starch to prevent sticking, and stamped out small shapes to top the cupcakes.

blueberry & raspberry ricotta almond cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Approximate Nutritional Value per Serving

Without frosting
Per Serving: 216 Cal (50% from Fat, 9% from Protein, 41% from Carb); 5 g Protein; 12 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 5 g Mono Fat; 23 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 16 g Sugar; 51 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 78 mg Sodium; 84 mg Cholesterol

With frosting
Per Serving: 478 Cal (43% from Fat, 6% from Protein, 52% from Carb); 7 g Protein; 23 g Tot Fat; 12 g Sat Fat; 8 g Mono Fat; 63 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 56 g Sugar; 70 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 167 mg Sodium; 117 mg Cholesterol

Chocolate Bread Pudding Cupcakes with Toasted Walnuts, Homemade Toffee, and Cream39

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate, Experimental Recipe, Nuts (Saturday October 7, 2006 at 11:24 pm)

Chocolate Bread Pudding Cupcakes with Toasted Walnuts, Homemade Toffee, and Cream

Sometimes I am just so enamored with a cupcake. This is one of those times. These little babies are tasty. Deliciously chocolately while not being too sweet, the burnt taste of the toffee with the cool cream, and add to that the texture and flavor of the nuts!?! Yum!

I had a little trouble with this recipe. The trouble lied mostly with getting all the bread soaked with the chocolate mixture and into the cupcake papers. My first attempt involved filling the cupcake cups with bread chunks then pouring in the batter. This proved very messy. My second, more successful attempt, which I really should have done in the first place, involved pre-soaking the bread chunks in the batter then scooping into the cupcake cups… One simple change and all was well.

Aside from that, I can’t say enough about the flavor experience that these cupcakes provide. The chocolate is right there, not too sweet, the sort of chocolate flavor you get from a perfect warm chocolate cake… The toffee, oh, the toffee… you can use store-bought toffee to save time, but I plead of you, do not! The deliciously complex taste of a slightly burnt, homemade toffee is the perfect crunchy companion to the already stellar chocolate thing going on. Seriously! Well worth the effort. The walnuts and whipped cream round things off resulting in what I consider to be my favorite cupcake creation so far.

The flavor combination was by request from my husband whose birthday is tomorrow. Unfortunately, between the two of us we have already devoured a number of his birthday cupcakes… Oops.

Toffee

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 cup sugar

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring everything to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
2. The mixture will start to boil with vigor. Do not stir. Let the mixture boil over medium-low heat until the mixture turns a deep nutty brown, about 20 minutes
3. Pour on to a prepared baking sheet (either covered in a silpat or oiled parchment paper) and leave it to cool.
4. After the toffee has cooled, break it into small chunks.

Note: I like my toffee very dark – almost burnt. Getting the toffee just right for your taste can be a challenge. I think a nutty brown is a good place to start. One additional warning, if you cook it very long you could nearly ruin your pan or at a minimum create bunch of cleanup work for yourself. Don’t use your favorite pot or pan!

very dark toffee
cooled toffee

Chocolate Bread Pudding Cupcakes
27 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1-pound loaf dense white bread, 1 or 2 days old (I used Acme Pan de Mie, but you could use challah or brioche)
10 ounces Valrhona or any bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped
toffee from recipe above, chopped

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the cream, milk, vanilla, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, stirring. Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Chop bread into 1/2″ cubes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
3. Bring mixture back to boil and stir in chopped chocolate. Take off the heat and continue to stir until chocolate is melted.
4. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Slowly add the warm chocolate mixture, whisking constantly until combined.
5. Pour the mixture carefully over the bread cubes. Stir until all cubes are covered. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes.
6. Set aside about 1/4 cup each of the walnuts and toffee. Sprinkle the remaining into the bread cubes. Stir to combine.
7. Scoop soaked bread cubes into cupcake papers until bread cubes are level with the top of the rim.
8. Carefully pour the remaining liquid into each cupcake filling until nearly full.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for ~22-25 minutes until set.

baked cupcakes
baked cupcakes

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Whisk cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and whisk until combined.

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with some cream
2. Topped with crushed toffee and chopped walnuts.

soaking the bread in chocolate

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chestnut-Fromage Blanc Frosting and Madeira Wine Glaze37

Posted by chockylit in Cheese, Chocolate, Nuts, Portuguese-Inspired, Step-by-Step Photos (Sunday July 23, 2006 at 2:57 pm)

chocolate cupcake with chestnut-fromage blanc frosting and Madeira wine glaze

I apologize for the lapse in posting, but I just returned home from a trip to Portugal. More specifically, I was on the island of Madeira, the island where my mother grew up. It was a fantastic trip and my mother’s cousins where generous and gracious hosts.

I knew I would make a cupcake to commemorate the trip and I knew it would involve Madeira wine. I decided to pair the wine with chocolate for sure. I was keeping a lookout for one other local ingredient to use in the recipe and a trip to the Curral das Freiras, or Corral of the Nuns, provided me with some chestnut puree. Chestnuts are abundant in this area and a visit sure shows that. There were all things chestnut for sale there – syrup, cake, soup, you name it.

I had one more decision to make when devising this recipe and that was which cheese I would pair with the puree to make a frosting. I was leaning towards something tangy to balance out the earthiness of the chestnuts. I chose a fromage blanc from Cowgirl Creamery. It is indeed tangy with a texture similar to fresh ricotta. I think it’s choice is a matter of taste – I will admit it pairs somewhat strangely with chocolate – but I want to give it more time to sit and for flavors to meld. I will report back on whether ricotta, which is much sweeter, might be a better choice.

Update: Well, all in all, the cupcakes tasted very good, but ultimately I found the tang of the cheese a bit overpowering for the chestnut. I would try this again with ricotta or some other milder, sweeter cheese. I also updated the assembly instructions with some lessons learned.

Chocolate Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

200 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cacao
3 sticks butter
2-1/4 cups sugar
8 eggs
1-1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of 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 30 seconds between each
6. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and mix until blended.
7. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Madeira Wine Glaze

1-1/2 cups sweet Madeira wine
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon chopped orange peel

1. Add Madeira and sugar to a medium sized saucepan. Over medium-high heat, stir until sugar dissolves.
2. Boil until liquid is reduced to a syrupy consistency, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
3. Let cool for a minute then stir in orange peel. Set aside to cool completely.

shaving off some orange peel
removing peel

chopped orange peel
chopped peel

Chestnut-Fromage Blanc Frosting

1-1/2 cups (11 ounces) fromage blanc
1/2 cup (5 ounces) chestnut puree
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1. Beat cheese briefly, scrape bowl.
2. Add the chestnut puree and sifted powdered sugar. Beat until combined.

Note: I purchased the chestnut puree in Portugal. It’s a simple mixture of chestnuts and sugar. I have seen similar products in Italian grocery stores. Otherwise, roast some chestnuts and puree with raw cane sugar in a food processor until creamy.

Assemble
1. Drizzle glaze over the top of the cupcake to moisten and flavor the cake.
2. Scoop frosting onto cupcakes using a small ice cream scooper.
3. Starting from the top of the mound of frosting, smooth down to the edge of the paper with a small pallet knife.
4. Smooth off the top of the point of frosting, providing a flat top for decoration.
5. Drizzle with glaze and top with silver dragees, candied orange rind or some other decoration. [Note] Drizzle glaze before serving as it does become absorbed in the frosting over time, else omit the second application of glaze.

Note: Silver dragees, or bolas prateadas in Portuguese, are seen on many Madeiran desserts. I brought some back with me for a final “topping off” of my homage to the trip.

simple frosting technique step 1
scooped frosting

simple frosting technique step 2
spreading frosting

simple frosting technique step 2
smoothed frosting

Madeira glaze
drizzling glaze

Ube Cupcakes with Bubble Buttercream45

Posted by chockylit in Experimental Recipe, Nuts, Pilipino-Inspired, Yams & Potatoes (Sunday June 11, 2006 at 9:05 pm)

This is definitely an experimental recipe… one that ended up tasting great, but, trust me, looked a bit funky.

I got introduced to Ube in the form of ice cream from Mitchell’s Ice Cream here in San Francisco. I was ready to finally try an Ube cupcake recipe, so I went to Pacific Super, an awesome Asian grocery on Alemany Street not too far from where I live, and bought nearly everything Ube.

I reconstituted Ube powder per the instructions on the packet, but didn’t like the taste very much at all. I boiled and mashed some fresh purple yams and they tasted much better. It was an easy decision to skip the powdered and go with the fresh.

One thing I didn’t do, that I noticed the few recipes on the net did, is add food coloring. After my red velvet experience, I have been anti-food-coloring-in-batter. In this case, I think I would have been better off to relax my newfound prejudice…

The yams were a deep purple blue, which was great, but when mixed with the yellow egg yolks and other ingredients, the batter ended up a ghastly green. Maybe a little red food coloring would have balanced it out. On the other hand, I can say that the ghastly green is natural! Maybe a half cup of smashed beets might do the trick, if anyone cares to experiment even further.

One definite keeper for me is the topping of peanuts crushed with a good amount of salt. This is something I stole from a caterer friend. The salty-sweet taste is very satisfying.

Ube Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3-4 small to medium purple yams (ube)
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil, grapeseed or vegetable
1/2 cup macapuno, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk milk

1. Peel and slice the yams into inch thick slices. Transfer into a medium pan, rinse, then cover with cool water. Bring to boil and simmer until tender. Mash with a fork
2. Crack eggs into a large bowl. Beat with a whisk until yellows and whites are combined.
3. Gradually add sugar and whisk until combined.
4. Add oil and whisk until combined. Add chopped macapuno and vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
5. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.
6. Add about a third of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix to combine.
7. Add about one half of the buttermilk and mix to combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and buttermilk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to two-thirds full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes. Note that these cupcakes will don’t shrink. Two-thirds full will result in domed cupcakes.)
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

fresh ube (aka purple yam)
cooked ube

ube cupcake batter
ube cupcake batter

baked ube cupcake
baked ube cupcake

Bubble Buttercream

3 cups water
1/4 cup tapioca balls
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
5-6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Boil the water in a medium saucepan (I used the water from the yams).
2. Add the balls to the boiling water and boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Turn off heat and let the balls steep in the water for another 30 minutes.
4. Transfer balls to a sieve and rinse with cool water to remove starch. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cold water until ready to use.
5. Beat butter in an electric mixer until soft.
6. Add 3 cups of the sifted sugar and beat until combined.
7. Drain tapioca balls and measure out 1/2 cup. Fold into the frosting.
8. Add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, stirring until combined.

Note: This frosting was very soft and almost looked a little curdled. It definitely has a not so pretty texture, but it tasted fine. The tapioca balls are a novelty and perhaps not necessary. There is the added interest of the chewy texture, but I am not sure it’s worth the sacrifice in the visual appeal. If you are looking for something picture perfect, definitely skip this recipe. It needs work.

tapioca balls
tapioca balls

Assemble
1. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
2. Crush about a 1/3 cup of unsalted peanuts with about a teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle over cupcakes.

Pistachio Cupcakes with Rose Petal Buttercream31

Posted by chockylit in Advanced Techniques, Herbs & Flowers, Indian-Inspired, Nuts (Saturday May 13, 2006 at 9:35 am)

I made an impromptu decision on a Thursday afternoon to make cupcakes for a party on Friday afternoon. I knew I wanted to make pistachio cupcakes, my homage to Indian sweets. I didn’t have a lot of time or options, so I ran out at lunch to the Ferry Building, conveniently located across the street from work. I managed to find some pistachio cream (at $19.99 for 8 ounces! Ouch!) at the Village Market and rose petal jelly and small, edible rose buds at Boulettes Larder.

I decided on a chiffon style cake this time around. I want to make an important point outright. This is a far trickier method than the creaming method that I use for most of the recipes in the blog. Many things can always go wrong in baking; this is even truer with this style of cake. It shouldn’t stop you from trying, but if there is one thing I learned from the professionals that I took classes with, the key is being able to work with whatever the outcome is.

In this case, I made quite a bit of batter. As such, my oven was packed with cupcakes and they were baking unevenly. Did I risk opening the oven to shift them around? Opening an oven too early in the process can cause a draft and result in fallen cupcakes. Or did I leave them be and deal with some cupcakes being over done? In the end, I waited until about halfway through the baking time, then opened the oven and shifted the cupcakes around. In the end, I would say about 8 of the 36 cupcakes fell. I used the good ones for the party and covered the others with a bit of frosting and saved them for the family.

The pistachio cake was an experiment. I was happy with the outcome. Despite the baking issues I had, the cake was tasty, and in my opinion very pistachio-y. It was light and airy, just like chiffon should be. I went light on the frosting so it wouldn’t overpower the cake. I didn’t get much of a rose flavor from the jelly, but the color was nice and I could definitely smell roses (most likely from the buds). If I had planned ahead, I would have order some rose water or syrup to help liven the frosting some.

Pistachio Cupcakes
36 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

2-3/4 cups cake flour
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup grape seed oil (or vegetable oil)
8 egg yolks (approximately 6 ounces)
1/2 cup water
4 ounces pistachio cream (approximately 1/3 cup)
10 egg whites (approximately 10 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter

1. Sift flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. In a medium bowl, combine oil, egg yolks, water, and pistachio cream. Stir to combine.
3. On a low setting, start to beat the dry mixture and slowly add the wet. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until pistachio cream is incorporated.
4. Transfer mixture to another bowl. Wash and dry mixer bowl.
5. Whip egg whites with whip attachment on medium-high speed until foamy. With the mixer on medium speed, add cream of tarter and slowly add sugar. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
6. Scoop a cupful of the stiff egg whites into the batter and stir to combine. This should lighten up the batter.
7. Transfer the egg whites to the batter and gently fold until there are no more streaks of egg white.
8. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Tip: Cake flour is a must for chiffon. All-purpose won’t give you the same delicate texture.


pistachio cream

Rose Petal Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup rose petal jelly

1. Beat butter until creamy, scrape bowl.
2. Add 3-4 cups of sifted powdered sugar and jelly, beat until combined.
3. Add more powdered sugar as needed to get to whatever consistency/sweetness you wish to acheive.


rose petal jelly

Assemble
1. Frost cooled cupcakes lightly with buttercream.
2. For pistachio garnish, grind up pistachios in a small food processor. take up some of the ground nuts into your hand and press the edges of the frosted cupcake into the mixture.
3. Otherwise top with edible rose bud or edible rose petal.

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