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.

Walnut Cupcakes Topped with Rose White Chocolate Mousse and Baklava25

*** Where is chockylit? ***

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

Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes8

Posted by in Berries, Cheese, White Chocolate (Monday December 3, 2007 at 4:49 pm)

Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe is for Leslie, a reader who asked for a recipe for cranberry white chocolate cupcakes to serve at Christmas. I jumped on the combo as I had been wanting to try converting the rich chocolate cupcake I do so often into a white chocolate version. I tweaked the recipe to adjust for the sweetness of the white chocolate, but otherwise stuck to the original. The recipe needs work in the looks department, but taste-wise its great! I’ve heard only positive feedback from the tasters and my husband, who is very picky when it comes to cupcakes, devoured a number of them before I even had time to make the frosting.

As far as looks go, the top of the cupcake has a funny texture (see photo below) and the cupcakes rose some and fell back slightly. This was less obvious the day of, but more prominent the second day. By day two they had shrunk quite a bit. As for the funny texture on top, I am not fazed as it gets covered with frosting anyway. The shrinking aspect might bother the perfectionist in some of us, but if they are served the same day, it will be less obvious. If I have time to work on the recipe before the holidays I will be sure to post an update.

In the taste department, the cupcakes were quite nice. I could taste the white chocolate, but it wasn’t too sweet, something that I expected. The tartness of the cranberries definitely helps. The frosting is yummy as usual, nothing to worry about there. When is frosting not good?

Speaking of frosting, I am still working on my frosting post. I have had to divide it into two posts as its getting way too long. The first will be about the recipes themselves and the second about tips for flavoring frosting as well as piping technique. I hope to get the first post out shortly.

Cupcakes
regular cupcakes / 375 degree oven

7 ounces white chocolate
2 sticks butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries

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. Roughly chip the cranberries. Stir into the batter.
9. Scoop into cupcake cups 2/3s full and transfer to a 375 F oven.
10. Set your timer for 5 minutes. When the 5 minutes is up turn the oven down to 350 F.
11. Set your timer for 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes is up rotate the pans. (Move the bottom to the top rack and turn front to back.
12. Set your timer for 7 minutes more. When the 7 minutes is up test one of the top-center cupcakes with a toothpick and remove the cupcakes once it comes out clean.

Note: The batter is pretty liquidy and the cranberries very heavy, so they will fall to the bottom. I was pleased with the layering effect, but if you aren’t into that idea I recommend two options. Either dust the cranberries in flour before mixing into the batter or drop some into each individual filled cupcake before baking.

cranberry white chocolate cupcake
baked cupcake

Cranberry, Clove, White Chocolate Buttercream

8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) philly cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
[optional] 1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1. In a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the white chocolate. Allow to cool for 2 minutes or so.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Beat in the melted white chocolate.
3. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, vanilla, and clove 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.

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with the frosting.
2. Top with a decoration, chopped cranberries, or chopped walnuts.

white chocolate
white chocolate