Doughnuts and Coffee Cupcakes44

Doughnuts and Coffee Cupcakes

Topping a baked good with fried one is indeed excessive. But I needed an excuse to make doughnuts, so here goes.

Firstly, I must take a moment to appreciate the doughnut. Doughnuts should be an occasional treat. They have little redeeming value other than tasting great and are fried! But boy do freshly fried doughnuts taste so very, very good. I have vowed that if I am to eat a doughnut it will only be one a fried by my own hands.

I used the recipe from Richard Bertinet’s Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread.He has a unique kneading method which he demonstrates clearly in the included DVD. I am providing the mixer version of the instructions as my words will be inadequate to describe his method. I made one slight change from his recipe (the frying temperature) and recommend that you plan on eating them all – with friends – the day, the moment even, they are fried.

homemade mini doughnuts

Now for the cupcakes – they tasted like a latte – sweet and moist with a milky coffee flavor. I enjoyed the end result like it was two desserts. I dipped the doughnut in some of the whipped cream and ate that, then had the cupcake separately. Both were tasty, but I must admit that the doughnut did out shine the cupcake. Maybe it was the novelty.

Coffee Cupcakes
19 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark roast coffee grounds
1/2 cup strong brewed, dark roast coffee
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk

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, beating until incorporated.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and coffee grounds in a bowl.
5. Measure out coffee and milk together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the coffee/milk mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and coffee and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about two-thirds to three-quarters full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes. Note that these cupcakes will shrink slightly when they cool).
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Tip: Be careful when adding the coffee/milk mixture to the batter. If you add it too quickly the mixture will look curdled. Add small amounts and beat well to incorporate.

Whipped Cream

3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Whisk cream on high speed until soft peaks form.
2. Add sugar (more or less depending on your taste) and whip until thick.

Doughnuts

9 ounces whole milk
1/4 ounce envelope active dry yeast
17-1/2 ounces white bread flour (not all-purpose)
3 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 ounces superfine sugar
2 teaspoons fine-grain salt
2 large eggs
2 cups peanut oil
superfine sugar for dusting

1. Warm milk over low heat until it is ay body temperature. It should feel neither warm nor cold when you touch it.
2. Measure the flour into your mixer’s bowl. Rub in the yeast with your fingertips until it disappears in the flour.
3. Rub in the butter until its a sandy texture. Rub in the sugar and salt.
4. Using the dough hook attachment, turn the mixer onto the lowest speed. Add the eggs and milk. Mix for 2 minutes.
5. Turn up to medium speed and mix for 6-7 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
6. Gently remove the dough from the bowl with the help of a plastic bowl scraperonto a lightly floured surface. Form into a ball. Place into a lightly floured bowl and cover with a lint-free towel and set in draft-free spot to rise for 1 hour.
7. Gently remove the dough from the bowl with the help of a plastic bowl scraper onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into two equal portions with your scraper. Gently roll out to about 1/2 inch thick, turning and using flour only as needed.
8. Cut out doughnuts and their holes using a circular cutter and a large pastry tip, respectively.
9. Set on a lightly oiled and floured baking pan with sufficient space between each. Cover with a lint-free towel and set in draft-free spot to double in size or for 45 minutes.
10. Heat the peanut oil in a high-sided, 8″ diameter pan to 350 degrees. Using a slotted spoon gently add about 5 doughnuts to the oil. Allow them to fry on one side until golden, about 45 seconds. Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove doughnuts onto a sheet pan covered in paper towels to drain. Continue in the same fashion with remaining doughnuts.
11. Roll drained doughnuts in the sugar. Eat.

Note: I got about 24 mini doughnuts and doughnut holes plus a small loaf of bread out of this recipe. I took the scraps from cutting, quickly kneaded them together and shaped into a loaf. I baked the loaf at 425 degrees for 11 minutes until golden on top. Tasty!

weighing out ingredients
weighing out ingredients

cutting out doughnut holes
cutting out doughnut holes

doughnuts and doughnut holes ready to rise
ready to rise

Assembly
1. Top cooled cupcakes with a dollop of whipped cream.
2. Top frosted cupcake with a doughnut.

Dark Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes18

dark chocolate truffle cupcakes

There are a couple of reasons why I made these truffle inspired cupcakes. Firstly, I wanted to spring clean the lazy Susan that is my baking pantry. It got out of control months and months ago like most of my cabinets and closets tend to get. My plan was, while cleaning the pantry, to inspect all my potential ingredients to come up with six different truffle flavor combinations.

Secondly, I bought myself a new toy, just arrived, that I was eager to use – a chocolate tempering machine. My plan was to make a topper for each cupcake that identified the ingredients inside.

Other than providing an excuse to clean out my pantry and an opportunity for low risk experimenting, I also think these cupcakes could make a nice gift. Get a nice box, provide one or two cupcakes per flavor, a legend, tie a nice ribbon around box and you have a pretty nice homemade gift.

Mise en Place
Assemble the ingredients for your six different truffle flavors. I wanted the flavors to be fairly intense so I started with 1 teaspoon of dry ingredients and 2 teaspoons of liquid ingredients. I was generally pleased with the results.

matcha-black sesame: 1 teaspoon each of matcha powder and black sesame seeds

chili-espresso: 1 teaspoon each of ancho chili powder and instant espresso plus a sprinkle of chili flakes

lavender-rosemary: 1 teaspoon each of lavender flowers and chopped rosemary, fresh or dried

mint-raspberry: 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh mint and 2 teaspoons Chambord raspberry liquor

rose-pistachio: 1 teaspoon each of chopped rose petals and chopped pistachios

sour cherry: 1 teaspoon crushed mahlab, a spice made from the pit of a sour cherry and 2 teaspoons Ginja, a Portuguese liquor made from morello cherries

I was most pleased with the first four combinations. All were noticeable and enjoyable, even the rosemary-lavender. The rose-pistachio flavor wasn’t distinguishable and the sour cherry was too intense. I would cut back on the Ginja next time.

truffle ingredients
mise en place

Cupcakes
25 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

7 ounces (200 grams) Valrhona 85% cacao (or any bittersweet chocolate)
3 sticks (343 grams) butter
2-1/4 cups (445 grams) sugar
8 eggs
1-1/4 cups (180 grams) flour
1/4 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper and laying out cupcake cups. Using a pencil draw a line to segregate 4 cupcake cups for each flavor and write out the ingredients so you can identify the cupcakes after they are baked. See image above. I did the same with 6 mini cupcake papers so I could taste each combination without having 6 whole cupcakes.
2. Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
3. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.
4. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
5. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
6. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each
7. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the mixture, return to the electric mixer, and mix until blended.
8. Separate into 6 separate, but equal batches. I eyeballed it and came pretty close. Mix truffle ingredients into each batch. I got four regular cupcakes and 1 mini per flavor.
9. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: If the oven is not hot enough than these cupcakes may over-flow. One way to be safe is to either fill 2/3’s full or another trick I use is to preheat to 375, then drop the heat to 350 once I put the cupcakes in. I also rotate the pans after 15 minutes of baking. It is safe to gently move them at that point and I find the lower back of my oven to be a bit cooler.

Simple Chocolate Ganache

6 ounces (170 grams) Valrhona 85% cacao (or any bittersweet chocolate)
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

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 salt. Stir until combined.
5. Let cool until at spreading consistency.

Note: If the ganache gets too thick, like you forget it on the counter or in the fridge, soften over a pan of simmering water just enough to get it back to spreading consistency.

frosting cupcakes
spreading frosting

[optional] Chocolate Decorations

truffle mise en place
4 ounces (113 grams) white chocolate

1. Sprinkle some of each of the truffle ingredients on a silpat or parchment covered baking sheet.
2. Temper white chocolate per machine instructions.
3. Pour chocolate over the truffle ingredients and gently spread with an offset spatula.
4. Let chocolate set.
5. Break into irregular shapes.

ready for the chocolate
truffle ingredients

pouring chocolate
pouring chocolate

spreading chocolate
spreading chocolate

Assembly
1. Frost cooled cupcakes with a small amount of ganache.
2. Top with an identifying chunk of white chocolate.

Vietnamese Coffee Cupcakes41

Posted by chockylit in Coffee & Liqueurs,Drink-Inspired,Step-by-Step Photos,Vietnamese-Inspired (Saturday May 6, 2006 at 11:38 pm)

I have been thinking about making a Vietnamese coffee cupcake for a while – really since way back, when I worked on the Thai iced tea cupcake.

When it comes to coffee flavored cakes, what one typically finds are mocha type concoctions (coffee and chocolate) or tiramisu type desserts (sponge or lady fingers doused in coffee). I haven’t found many examples of coffee-flavored cake batter outside of these two options. In lieu of an existing recipe, my approach would be simple – substitute strong brewed coffee for the liquid in a basic cake batter.

And that got me wondering… what cake batter? If you’ve ever taken any baking classes or read any professional baking books, you know that there are basic methods of preparing cakes including the sponge method, creaming method, two-stage method and a bunch of others. My favorite method is the creaming method which is used for many American-style baked goods. You cream the butter and sugar, add eggs, then alternate dry and wet ingredients. The result is a heavy mixture and relatively dense cake. The two stage method involves separating the eggs, following the same basic steps as with the creaming (with the exception that only egg yolks are added), then whipping egg whites to soft peaks and folding in to the batter. The result is something somewhat lighter. The classic sponge method requires heating and mixing the eggs and sugar over a water bath until it is light and fluffy. Then folding in dry ingredients and sometimes melted butter. Which of these (or any of the other) methods will translate to the dense, rich, moist, coffee flavored cake base I was looking for? I decided that the basic creaming method would result in a batter that had the bones to support the rich coffee flavor.

The resulting cake was great – great texture and moistness, but even better, a super intense, coffee flavor – exactly what I was looking for. I made a sweetened condensed milk pudding to fill the cupcakes and decided to top them with lightly sweetened whipped cream. I haven’t tasted the end product (just all the components), so I will need to report on that tomorrow.

VN Coffee Cupcakes
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
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup strong brewed Vietnamese coffee
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon coffee grounds

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. Measure out coffee and milk together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the coffee/milk mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and coffee and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Fold in the teaspoon of coffee grounds.
10. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes. Note that these cupcakes will shrink slightly when they cool).
11. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Tip: Be careful when adding the coffee/milk mixture to the batter. If you add it too quickly the mixture will look curdled. Add small amounts and beat well to incorporate.


cupcake ready for baking


baked cupcake

Sweetened Condensed Milk Pudding

2 teaspoons gelatin
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

1. Sprinkle the gelatin over a 1/4 cup of water and let sit for 5 minutes.
2. In a small pan over medium heat, heat the sweetened condensed milk until warm.
3. Add the gelatin and stir over heat until the gelatin melts.
4. Transfer mixture to a bowl set over a pan of ice water. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens. It will get very thick and might clump if you stop stirring.


stirring over ice bath

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Whisk cream on high speed until soft peaks form.
2. Add sugar (more or less depending on your taste) and whip until thick.


cupcakes ready for filling

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 or so of sweetened condensed milk pudding.
3. Replace top.
4. Top with swirls or dollops of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
5. Dust with finely ground coffee.


assembly

Making Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is made with special grounds that contain coffee and chicory and using a special filter. It is brewed resting on a glass filled with an inch or so of sweetened condensed milk. The result is strong, rich, creamy, and sweet. I prefer mine iced. The melting ice lightens up the drink a bit.


get your filter ready


add grounds


replace filter


screw on tight for strong coffee


fill with water and wait!

Coffee Buttercream Filled Almond Cupcake with Valrhona Ganache13

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate,Coffee & Liqueurs,Nuts (Monday January 2, 2006 at 11:27 am)

I saw an opera cake recipe on the epicurious homepage a couple of weeks ago that inspired the latest cupcake recipe. I took the recipe from the site and made some changes. Overall the cupcake was fine, due to two of the three components being extremely tasty. I was not happy with the almond cupcake recipe though, which I found to be too eggy tasting. I recommend substituting the almond-based recipe with just about any recipe that goes well with coffee and chocolate that you like.

I was visiting my parents in the east coast for the holidays. It’s always tricky working in an unfamiliar kitchen, but they have a great setup so it all went well. Taking pictures proved difficult though as it was an overcast, rainy and dreary day – perfect for cupcake baking but not for available light photography.

Cupcakes
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

2 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1. Beat 2 eggs for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add almond meal and flour. Sift in powdered sugar and flour.
3. Beat until combined.
4. In another bowl, beat egg whites with the whisk attachment until foamy.
5. Add cream of tarter and salt and whisk until soft peaks form.
6. Gradually add sugar and whisk on high until stiff peaks form.
7. Stir in one third of the egg whites into the batter mixture.
8. Fold the batter mixture gently into the egg whites. Then fold in butter.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half full (we don’t want the cupcakes to come out over the top as we want to pour ganache into them).
10. Bake for 12-15 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.


ready for baking

Coffee Buttercream from Epicurious

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (available at whole foods)
1/4 cup plus one tablespoon water
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and softened

1. Stir together espresso powder and 1 tablespoon water until powder is dissolved.
2. Bring sugar and remaining 1/4 cup water to a boil in a very small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
3. Boil, without stirring, washing down any sugar crystals on side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until syrup registers 238°F on thermometer (soft-ball stage)
4. While syrup boils, beat yolks in a large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium speed 1 minute.
5. Add hot syrup to yolks in a slow stream (try to avoid beaters and side of bowl), beating, then add coffee mixture and beat until completely cool, 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Beat in butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until thickened and smooth.


coffee buttercream

Valrhona Ganache

6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 3.5 ounce packages of 71% cacao valrhona chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Melt the chocolate and half the butter over a double boiler.
2. Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter and vanilla.
3. Allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Watch it though, as the ganache will start to thicken and you want to pour it before that point.

Assemble
1. Fill cooled cupcakes with coffee buttercream.
2. Pour ganache over the cupcake to the top of the paper. If you are using regular cupcake papers, put the cupcakes back in their pans before pouring in the ganache.
3. Decorate as you wish. I had planned to top the cupcakes with a marizpan star (rolled out marzipan cut with star shaped cutter) dusted with silver dust. But I left those things behind in San Francisco.

Eggnog Cupcake with Bourbon Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting30

Posted by chockylit in Cheese,Coffee & Liqueurs,Drink-Inspired,Spices,Step-by-Step Photos (Sunday December 11, 2005 at 6:51 pm)

Being someone who grew up in the northeast, but who is now living in California, it’s hard for me to feel very festive about Christmas without the snow and proximity to family. I usually ignore the existence of the holiday then panic for my lack of presents when I arrive at Logan airport. So, here I am trying to force the festivities upon myself with an eggnog based recipe!

To be honest, I had my doubts about this recipe. I wasn’t sure how eggnog would translate and I understand that eggnog isn’t for everyone. But all in all, the cupcakes were good. They were definitely eggnogy, mostly due to the eggnog pastry cream, and pretty tasty. I like the frosting quite a bit, very buttery and not too sweet. So, if you are into eggnog, they should be worth a try. Warning: The frosting recipe makes just enough to lightly cover the cupcakes, which is what I wanted. So, if you want a lot double up on the recipe.

Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temp
3 eggs, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup eggnog
1/4 cup bourbon/dark rum (all of one or a mix)
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon each baking powder and soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in eggs until blended.
3. Mix together eggnog, bourbon, and vanilla.
4. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.
5. Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients into egg mixture mixing until combined.
6. Scoop into lined cupcake tins and bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes.

Eggnog Pastry Cream

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup eggnog
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Place flour in a heavy sauce pan, gradually whisk in eggnog until blended and smooth.
2. Add egg yolks, one at a time, whisking until just combined after each addition.
3. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, removing from the heat occasionally to avoid lumps, until thickened. If necessary strain through a metal sieve to remove lumps.
4. Remove from heat, stir in butter, rum and vanilla.
5. Transfer pastry cream to a bowl. Cover surface with plastic wrap, chill.

Bourbon Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoons butter
pinch salt
2 tablespoons bourbon
1-1/2 packages phili cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup butter, room temp
4 cups confectioner’s sugar

1. Heat brown sugar, cream, butter, salt over medium high heat whisking until sugar is dissolved. Cook for another minute.
2. Pour in bourbon and stir to combine. Take off heat and let cool.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until soft.
4. Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat to combine.
5. Add three tablespoons of the bourbon caramel (you might have some left over) and beat to combine.

Assemble
1. Fill cooled cupcakes with pastry cream.
2. Top with frosting.
3. Decorate as you wish or drizzle some leftover bourbon caramel sauce.


scooping out holes for the filling


filling holes with pastry cream


prepping the pastry bag


piping the frosting


smoothing out the frosting