Wasabi White Chocolate Cupcakes with Plum Sake Filling40

wasabi white chocolate cupcakes with plum sake filling

I have had wasabi in a cupcake before, but with dark chocolate. When I saw the white chocolate and wasabi combination on episode 4 of Top Chef, I figured… why not?

I knew I wanted to do a fruity filling and after some pondering, plums came to mind. I thought the tartness of the plums would balance the sweetness of the white chocolate. I also liked that the plums would carry through the Japanese theme.

These cupcakes sound a bit crazier than they taste. The most dominant flavor is that of the filling. The tartness of the plums and the hit from the sake show through the most. I really liked the filling by itself. Even just pairing the filling with a simple vanilla cake would be delicious.

The cake has a nice, firm but moist texture that went well with the filling. However, its flavors were a bit lost. I wasn’t getting white chocolate and wasabi in any direct way, but there was definitely something going on there beyond a simple cake. It’s just a challenge to pinpoint it.

I topped the cupcake with a simple white chocolate frosting that is delicious and one of my new favorites. I considered putting some wasabi in the frosting, but didn’t want to overwhelm my tasters. If you are feeling adventurous, give it a try!

I had come up with the idea for the cupcake and then went away on a little mini-vacation. I was shopping at the local grocery store and strangely enough they had both wasabi and plum sesame seeds. I just had to buy them and use them to decorate the cupcakes. I really stumbled upon them and am not sure where anyone could pick them up other than the Surf Supermarket in Gualala, California.

Wasabi White Chocolate Cupcakes
~28 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

7 ounces white chocolate
3/4 cups (1-1/2 sticks) butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons wasabi paste

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. Note that when you add the sugar the mixture will separate and look pretty funky. This is ok.
4. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
5. Add the vanilla. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Mixture will thicken and you should no longer see butter floating on the top.
6. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each.
7. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the mixture, return to the electric mixer, and mix until blended.
8. Add wasabi paste and mix until blended.
9. Scoop into cupcake cups 2/3s full and transfer to a 350 F oven. Bake for ~22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: The tops of the cupcakes will have an odd looking texture (as reported the last time I made them). It’s ok, it will get covered with frosting…

plum sake filling
filled cupcakes

Plum Sake Filling

4 plums
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sake
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1. Pit and chop the plums to a small dice. Leave the peel on, it gives a nice color.
2. Heat water and plums over medium-high heat until boiling.
3. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring regularly until plums are soft, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the sake a tablespoon at a time tasting after each addition. You want to taste the sake, but not have the alcohol be too prominent.
6. Mix sugar and cornstarch together. Add to the plum mixture and stir to combine. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar just to the point when the mixture starts to taste sweet.
7. Transfer to a heat proof bowl. Let sit at room temperature until cool. If making in advance, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

White Chocolate Frosting

7 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) philly cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
~2 cups powdered sugar

1. In a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the white chocolate. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
2. Beat in the melted white chocolate.
3. Add the vanilla and 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat at low speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like. 2 cups worked for me.

filling cupcakes
filling the cupcakes

Assemble
1. Fill the cupcakes with the plum filling using the cone method.
2. Garnish with sesame seeds.

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.