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

Jackfruit, Banana, and Peanut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting24

cupcakes topped with chopped peanuts and salt

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

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

Cupcakes
20 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

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

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

jackfruit and banana
jackfruit & banana

Cream Cheese Frosting

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

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

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

jackfruit, banana, and peanut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Chocolate Chai Spice Cupcake67

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate, Indian-Inspired, Simple Recipe, Spices (Monday May 29, 2006 at 2:47 pm)

chocolate chai spice cupcake

I must admit… I almost felt like I was cheating with this recipe. I used my current favorite chocolate recipe and added a few teaspoons of ground up spices – that was it!

But while the approach was straight forward, the result was great. The spices shown through the flavor of the chocolate just enough to add complexity and interest to the experience. The moist chocolatey goodness of the cake can live on its own, but ultimately, the frosting is what makes it a cupcake and the simple chai spice buttercream was a great addition. Not too overwhelming, but enhancing the flavor all the more. (I added a bit extra minced fresh ginger which was a nice touch.)

Just goes to show you… with a great base recipe and a rummage through the spice rack or pantry, anyone can come up with an interesting and tasty concoction. Days later, my husband is still talking about them and they seemed to be a hit at the art opening I made them for.

Chai Spice Mix

2 teaspoons fennel, whole
2 teaspoons cloves, whole
1 tablespoon cardamom, ground
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
2 teaspoons ginger, ground

1. With a small food processor, grind up the whole fennel and cloves.
2. Transfer to a small bowl and add remaining spices. Mix to combine.

chai spice mix
chai spice mix

Chocolate Chai Spice 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
3 teaspoons chai spice mix
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, chai spice mix, 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.

chocolate chai spice cupcake
cooling cupcake

Chai Spice Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons chai spice mix
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1. Beat butter until creamy, scrape bowl.
2. Add 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, milk, spice mix, and ginger. Beat until combined.
3. Add more powdered sugar as needed to get piping consistency.

Note: Everyone’s personal preferences differ. With frosting, the flavor is up to you. If you are unsure of how much of a chai flavor you want, start light on the spices and add a teaspoon at a time until you get to a flavor you like. Same goes for the sugar. It’s a matter of taste and what consistency you want to work with. Experiment until you get at what works for you.

Assemble
1. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

frosted chocolate chai spice cupcakes
assembled 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.