Adzuki Bean Paste Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Matcha Green Tea Frosting34

Posted by in Beans, Chocolate, Herbs & Flowers, Japanese-Inspired (Tuesday November 13, 2007 at 5:20 pm)

Adzuki Bean Paste Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Matcha Green Tea Frosting

This combination was swiped right off of the menu of a restaurant I ate at last week. The dessert was green tea ice cream with warm chocolate sauce, adzuki bean, and mochi. Interestingly, I had used all the components (minus the mochi) in various cupcakes so it was just a matter of “cut and paste” with some tweaks. I really liked the combination in the ice cream dessert and it totally works as a cupcake, too. All around tasty treat for sure. I doubled up on the matcha in the frosting this time around. I wanted to really taste it… Hence the very deep green color.

And just a heads up, I have been itching to do a post about frostings. Why I have a handful of different chocolate ganache frostings and why I use a certain recipe at a certain time… Why I have a couple different cream cheese based frostings… Etc. A few people have asked me about this and I think it’s an interesting topic anyway. I am hoping to have ample time to explore various recipes over the Thanksgiving holiday. I doubt I will post next weekend as its my birthday and I do not plan on baking my own cake this year…

Red Bean Paste

1-1/4 cups red adzuki beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar

1. Cover beans in cold water and soak uncovered, overnight.
2. Drain, transfer back to the pot and cover in 5 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
3. Drain and puree with a hand blender or in a food processor.
4. Press through a metal sieve. Note: This is time consuming work. The pureed beans become a thick paste and it takes some time to press through the sieve, clean off the underside, continue pressing until most of the bean puree passes through and the skins are left behind.
5. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pureed beans and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to cool.
6. After the paste has cooled, scoop out 1/2″ balls. Cover loosely with plastic wrap so they won’t dry out.

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 soda
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 2/3’s full. Plop a ball of bean paste in each. Push down slightly and cover with batter using the back of a spoon.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: Because you will be stuffing these cupcakes with bean paste, do not overfill. Stay close to 2/3s full or below. Also I like to preheat my oven to 375 then turn it down to 350 once I put the cupcakes in to make sure there are no cool spots which tend to result in cupcake overflow.

Adzuki Bean Paste Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Matcha Green Tea Frosting

Matcha Green Tea Frosting

2 sticks butter
8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
~2 tablespoons matcha powder

1. Bring butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
3. Sift 3 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of matcha powder into the butter/cream cheese mixture and beat to combine.
4. Taste. Add more matcha if desired (I find some matcha powder is stronger then others) and more powdered sugar if its not thick enough. 3 cups worked for me.

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with the frosting.
2. Top with a mochi disk and a dusting of matcha.

Note: Never having made mochi before I did a quick google search and ended up with this quick method. After nuking the flour and water, I stirred it some and transfered onto a sheet of plastic wrap and formed it into a log. I left the log to cool then sliced into it with a knife and cut out circles with the end of a pastry tip. From there I dusted lightly in corn starch to prevent sticking. Note that you should keep the disks wrapped in plastic wrap until you serve the cupcakes as they go crunchy when left out in the air. The wrapped mochi held up well overnight.

Gluten-Free and Gluten-Full Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting39

Posted by in Chocolate (Sunday October 7, 2007 at 11:07 am)

chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel frosting

I was baking for two birthday boys this weekend, one with a gluten intolerance. I started with my favorite chocolate cake recipe which has much less flour than the typical recipe – I wanted there to be no discernible difference between the gluten-free and gluten-full versions. From there I decided on a salted caramel frosting – firstly because I have been dreaming of it since I tasted Trilly’s a few weeks ago – secondly given salted caramel is all the rage in San Francisco since B-Rite opened their creamery, it would surely be a crowd-pleaser and thirdly since I would end up with a masculine colored, latte-brown frosting, it would be perfect for a man’s birthday celebration.

As for the cake, I didn’t want to just do the gluten-free version. I did both side by side so I could compare the two. The gluten-free version did shrink a bit more and pulled from the sides of the paper. The biggest difference was this and the way they looked, but a side by side tasting showed very little difference between the two.

I deconstructed the frosting in my mind and thought I had a pretty good idea what the recipe was, but I called Trilly just to make sure I was on the right track. I was on the right track and got a couple of tips along the way. I went ahead and crafted a recipe. I can’t say if it came out exactly the same, but it did come out freaking tasty. Yum. I highly recommend the frosting. The caramel is very noticeable and the cream cheese adds just a bit of tang to balance the sweetness. The salt lies low flavor-wise and simply intensifies the richness of the caramel.

The cupcakes went over quite well. I recommend them if you are looking to satisfy a room full of adults.

Cupcakes
26 regular-sized 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
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (90 grams) flour, all purpose
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (90 grams) flour, gluten-free
2 tablespoons (30 grams) + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
3/4 teaspoon + 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1. Chop the chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. Add the butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate melts and the butter is combined.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4. Measure out the regular flour, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt into a small bowl.
5. Measure out the gluten-free flour, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and the xanthan gum into a different small bowl. Keep track of the gluten-free bowl and be extra sure to not get any regular flour in the mixture.
6. Transfer the cooled chocolate/butter mixture to the electric mixer and beat for 3 minutes.
7. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each.
8. Scrape the bowl and separate into 2 batches by measuring out 2-3/4 cups of batter into a second bowl.
9. Sift the gluten-free flour into one bowl and mix to combine. Keep track of the gluten-free batch!
10. Sift the regular flour into the second bowl and mix to combine.
11. Scoop into cupcake cups only 2/3s full. I put parchment under the gluten-free cupcakes so I wouldn’t lose track of them. Bake all the cupcakes at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you are using cupcake papers, use a different color for the gluten-free.

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.

gluten-free baking
gluten-free baking

Salted Caramel

4 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, kosher or sea

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, and salt. Stir until combined.
9. Measure 1 cup into a Pyrex measuring cup. Stirring occasionally, allow to cool until thick like molasses and warm to the touch, about 20 minutes.

Note: There was a small bit of extra caramel that I poured onto a small plate that I covered in aluminum foil and greased with vegetable oil. I transferred the plate to the freezer for about 30 minutes. I chopped the caramel quickly into squares (its starts to get soft) and topped each cupcake with a square.

Salted Caramel Frosting

2 sticks butter
8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
5 to 6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup salted caramel

1. Bring butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
3. Sift 3 cups of powdered sugar into the butter/cream cheese mixture and beat to combine.
4. Add 1 cup of the salted caramel and beat to combine.
5. Sift 2-3 cups of powder sugar, in 1 cup increments and beating between each, until you arrive at the thickness and sweetness you desire. I used 6 cups. The frosting wasn’t super thick, but it was starting to get pretty sweet.

Assembly
1. Frost cooled cupcakes with a generous amount of frosting.
2. Sprinkle each cupcake with sea or kosher salt. I ground some rock sea salt onto each.
3. Top with a caramel candy, homemade or otherwise.

chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel frosting

Dark Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes18

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate, Coffee & Liqueurs, Experimental Recipe, Herbs & Flowers, Spices, Step-by-Step Photos (Monday August 27, 2007 at 1:25 pm)

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.

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.

S’mores Cupcakes40

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate, Experimental Recipe, Step-by-Step Photos (Sunday April 22, 2007 at 8:18 pm)

s'mores cupcakes

For some reason being pregnant has made it nearly impossible for me to come up with cupcake ideas. I find this very troubling and hope it will pass. (Probably just in time for me to have no time to make cupcakes, haha.) So, now I have resorted to quizzing my husband and friends for ideas, most of which I shut down. “Nah, that doesn’t sound good,” is my typical response. However, at dinner last night my friend Margaret suggested s’mores cupcakes. Immediate appeal. And someone (Margaret? Chris? Me?) came up with the idea of topping the cupcakes with homemade marshmallows that I would then toast with the culinary torch. Toasted marshmallows! Yum!

The end result was delicious, as I hoped. The cake had some issues (see note below), but tasted nice and graham crackery, especially with the graham cracker bottom. The cake wasn’t too sweet, which is good considering the very sweet marshmallow filling. All on all, I found it a successful representation of s’mores in cupcake form.

I just did a quick search for S’mores Cupcakes and found this take, posted just a few days ago. They look pretty darn tasty.

Note: I just posted a new page, linked to on the right, that includes a list of basic equipment one might need to make cupcakes.

Graham Cracker Cupcakes
15 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup graham cracker crumbs, from 6 whole graham crackers
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
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
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs, from 2-1/2 whole graham crackers
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

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

Note: This recipe takes great, but needs a bit of work. The cupcakes didn’t rise much (which is fine) but also shrunk quite a bit on cooling… my only real complaint. I suspect that there is too much butter and next time I try the recipe, I will cut the butter to 1/2 cup.

graham cracker crumbs
scooping crumbs

making the graham cracker bottoms
pressing crumbs

baked cupcake
baked cupcake

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.

Marshmallows from MarthaStewart.com

Vegetable oil, for brushing
2 packets unflavored gelatin
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1. Line a 9-by-9-inch baking dish with foil. Brush foil with oil. Set aside.
2. Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer. Sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften for at least 5 minutes.
4. Attach bowl with gelatin to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With mixer on low speed, beat hot syrup into gelatin mixture. Gradually raise speed to high. Beat until mixture is very stiff, about 7-9 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with oiled fingers.
5. Set aside, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.
6. Sift 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar onto a work surface. Unmold marshmallow onto confectioners’ sugar; remove parchment. Lightly brush a sharp knife with oil, then cut marshmallow into 1/2-inch squares. Roll each marshmallow in the sugar to coat.
7. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days. And they are great in hot chocolate.

homemade marshmallow
transferring marshmallow

cutting up marshmallows
cutting squares

Assemble

marshmallow fluff

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 fluff.
3. Replace the top of the cone.
4. Scoop a tablespoon of ganache on top of each cupcake. Smooth with a small offset spatula. (I dip the spatula in hot water, wipe off, then smooth.)
5. Top with a marshmallow and toast with a culinary torch.

marshmallow filling
filling cupcakes

toasting marshmallows
toasting marshmallows

Banana Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes45

Posted by chockylit in Bananas, Chocolate, Experimental Recipe (Sunday February 11, 2007 at 12:52 pm)

banana boston cream cupcakes topped with a caramelized banana chips

First off, picking one of the 60 plus cupcake recipes to try from the round-up was difficult. Ultimately I was somewhat overwhelmed and just decided to go with what I was craving at the time – Boston Cream Cupcakes. I was also in the mood for bananas and added some fresh, chopped up banana to the pastry cream. As expected, the cupcakes were immensely satisfying. But then again, I am in the throes of pregnancy, so my opinion is a little bit suspect.

I also took this opportunity to experiment with vanilla cupcake recipes. If you recall from a couple posts ago, I have been comparing a bunch of vanilla cupcake recipes and I was eager to get started with testing.

Martha Versus Amy

martha versus amy martha versus amy

The Results

Martha’s cupcakes were extremely dense, but not dry. They were so dense; it was almost like biting into meat (ok, I exaggerate slightly). Flavor-wise, they weren’t terribly interesting. Ultimately this was ok in this recipe, as the banana pastry cream and chocolate ganache definitely made up for the flavorless cake. The recipe was very accurate and the cake very cooperative. As advertised, I got exactly 12 cupcakes out of the batch and she was specific as to how full I should fill the papers. They rose perfectly to a dome (preferred by some) and I had no trouble with them as far as mixing, baking, filling, and frosting go. The end result looked the best and I ended up taking these to the dinner party and not Amy’s.

Final word: I could see where this would be the best recipe when you want that perfectly round and flat cake (for example for a wedding cake) and don’t mind compromising on flavor and texture.

martha's cupcakes
martha’s perfect domes

Amy’s cupcakes were less dense, had a tastier, more vanilla flavor and were also not dry. The crumb was more delicate and the experience was more like biting into actual cake than Martha’s. However, the recipe was inaccurate and the cake less cooperative. The recipe also specified 12 cupcakes and did not suggest how full to fill the papers. I got far more than 12 cupcakes out of the batch and ended filling them too full (slightly over 3/4s full) attempting to follow the recipe without adjusting for experience. A lot of the cupcakes overflowed and a few sank a bit. These were a lot harder to fill and frost, because of the unevenness of the end result. I am certain, however, that with proper filling (I would recommend between 2/3s and 3/4s full), they would come out fine and would be a far tastier alternative.

Final word: Overall a much more enjoyable eating experience. For cupcakes or any situation where something can be imperfect, these would be my preferred choice.

amy's cupcakes
oops…

As you know, I use the Magnolia recipe quite a bit. Magnolia’s texture is somewhere in the middle… denser than Amy’s but not as dense as Martha’s. They can also be uncooperative, but I find the flavor very buttery and delicious. Someone left a comment on a prior post of mine that uses the Magnolia recipe and the person said that “These are like wedding cake–dense and bland.” and I couldn’t disagree more. I think Martha’s recipe could be described as that, but I can also see why and when the recipe would come in handy.

The Recipes

Vanilla Cupcakes from Martha Stewart
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; scrape down bowl, and beat in vanilla.
3. Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
4. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners, about three-quarters full each. Bake until golden and tops spring back to touch, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer pans to wire rack; cool completely.

Vanilla Cupcakes from Amy Sedaris
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1½ sticks unsalted butter
1¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
2½ teaspoons baking powder
2½ cups flour
1¼ cups milk

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
2. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
3. Beat in eggs, vanilla, salt and baking powder.
4. Add flour in 3 batches, alternating with milk.
5. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth and satiny.
6. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean.
7. Cool on wire rack for 45 minutes or until at room temperature.

Note: This recipe makes more than 12 cupcakes (maybe around 16). Be careful to fill only 2/3s to 3/4s full so they don’t overflow.

Banana Pastry Cream

2 cups Whole milk
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg yolks
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
2 bananas, medium sized

1. Heat milk, ¼ cup of the sugar, the vanilla, and salt in a pan over medium until it reaches a simmer,
2. Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a medium sized bowl until combined.
3. Slowly add ½ cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking continuously.
4. Add remaining milk mixture slowly while whisking.
5. Transfer back into the pan and heat over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until it thickens. It will thicken all of a sudden, give it a good whisk then take it off the heat.
6. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer, add the butter, and with a paddle attachment beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
7. Transfer to a bowl, cover will plastic wrap touching the cream, and refrigerate until cool, hour or so. This can be made a day in advance.
8. Chop two fresh bananas into small chunks and fold into the pastry cream before using.

Chocolate Ganache

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Chop chocolates 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 butter and vanilla and stir until all chocolate is melted and combined. If the chocolate won’t completely melt, place bowl over a water bath to finish the job.
5. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and let cool for 10 minutes.
6. Sift powdered sugar into the mixture and beat until combined.
7. Continue to beat with an electric mixer until lighter in color and creamy.
8. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Note: I had plenty of pastry cream and chocolate ganache for all the cupcakes with a little bit left over.

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 the banana pastry cream.
3. Replace the top of the cone.
4. Scoop a tablespoon of ganache on top of each cupcake.
5. The ganache will be very thick. I dip a small palette knife in very hot water, dry with a cloth, and then smooth down ganache.
6. I topped these cupcakes with caramelized banana disks.

hot water and a small palette knife does the trick

Himalayan Goji Berry Chocolate Cupcakes topped with Chocolate Ganache and Himalayan Pink Salt35

Posted by chockylit in Asian-Inspired, Berries, Chocolate, General (Monday January 15, 2007 at 9:11 am)

Himalayan Goji Berry Chocolate Cupcakes topped with Chocolate Ganache and Himalayan Pink Salt

I found these berries during one of my frequent trolls through the Village Market in the Ferry Building. While extremely expensive, the Village Market is sure to have something new and exotic that I can make into a cupcake. And frankly, I can’t help myself.

I purchased these some time ago and am finally getting around to making a cupcake out of them (and some pricy Himalayan Pink Salt also purchased at said market). I had never had goji berries before and was pleasantly surprised. Both their smell and taste remind me of figs, which I love, but the goji berry is definitely unique and really unlike any dried fruit I tasted. Apparently they are quite good for you as well. What a plus.

I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe which never fails me and topped them off with a small dollop of ganache. All in all a rich and slightly tangy cupcake that went down pretty easy.

Cupcakes
30 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

200 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cacao (or any bittersweet chocolate)
3 sticks (343 grams) butter
2-1/4 cups (445 grams) sugar
8 eggs
1-1/4 cup (180 grams) flour
1/4 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
3/4 cup (82 grams) goji berries, chopped

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 salt into the mixture, return to the electric mixer, and mix until blended.
7. Stir in the goji berries. 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 then at that point and I find the lower back of my oven to be a bit cooler.

mise en place
mise en place

goji berries going into chocolate cupcake batter
goji berries going into batter

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

5 ounces (145 grams) bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces (54 grams) unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 stick (57 grams) butter, room temperature
1 cup (100 grams) powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) Himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Chop chocolates 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 butter to the chocolate (make sure its soft and at room temp) and stir until everything is melted and combined.
5. Whisk together sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla in another bowl until combined.
6. Pour the sugar mixture onto the chocolate mixture and stir until combined and smooth.
7. Let sit at room temperature until thickened, stirring occasionally
8. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Note: If your chocolate, cream, and butter mixture won’t quite melt on its own, place over a pan of simmering water and stir until fully melted.

goji berries
goji berry package

Assemble
1. Frost cooled cupcakes.
2. Top with Himalayan pink salt.

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