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

Lemongrass Cupcakes with Lemongrass-Coconut Buttercream Frosting24

Posted by chockylit in Coconut, Experimental Recipe, Herbs & Flowers, Vietnamese-Inspired (Sunday August 6, 2006 at 7:06 pm)

lemongrass cupcakes with lemongrass-coconut buttercream frosting
Having worked with lemongrass before, in Thai curries and soups, I knew I would have to coax the flavor out of these tough, little stalks. The key, I found, was to search out the freshest specimens possible and peel away the tough outer skin. The next step was to chop a whole stalk and steep in the liquid intended for the cupcakes.

The end result was deliciously sweet and moist with a subtle lemongrass flavor that paired well with the very coconuty frosting. But I have to be frank… when I tasted the batter it was really bringing back taste memories that I struggled to recall. When it finally hit me, I was almost disappointed. How could something as exotic as lemongrass remind me of the milk at the end of the bowl of fruity pebbles!

The baked cake lost its fruity pebble flavor, thankfully, and I was quite pleased with the cupcake overall.

Lemongrass Milk

1-1/2 cups milk, whole
1 stalk lemongrass

1. Bring milk and lemongrass to a gentle simmer for about three minutes.
2. Turn off heat and let cool until warm.
3. Transfer about half of the milk and most of the lemongrass solids into a blender and pulse for about 30 seconds.
4. Transfer everything back into the pan and let cool fully.

chopped lemongrass
chopped lemongrass

lemongrass milk
simmering lemongrass milk

Lemongrass Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup lemongrass milk (see recipe above)
1 teaspoon lemongrass, tender part only, chopped finely
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

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. Add chopped lemongrass to the lemongrass milk.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the lemongrass milk and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and lemongrass milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full.
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

cooling cupcakes
cooling cupcakes

Lemongrass-Coconut Buttercream Frosting

1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/4 cup lemongrass milk (see recipe above)
1-1/2 cups grated fresh coconut
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. Beat butter briefly, scrape bowl.
2. Add the sifted powdered sugar and lemongrass milk. Beat until smooth.
3. Add coconut and mix until combined.

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.
[Optional] Chop unsalted peanuts with some kosher salt until fine. Sprinkle over cupcakes.

lemongrass

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!