Late Summer Peach, Blueberry, and Thyme Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting37

Posted by chockylit in Berries, Cheese, Stone Fruits (Saturday August 26, 2006 at 4:20 pm)

peach, blueberry, and thyme cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Having grown up with the seasons, it’s always a bit odd to say farewell to summer when its 50 degrees out and you know there will be some balmy days ahead. If you’ve visited San Francisco in the summer, you likely know how cold it can be. It’s been just that for the past 2 weeks or so. I am eagerly awaiting fall which for us means fantastic weather.

Regardless, I am feeling ready to bake my last summer fruit cupcake and am looking forward to the days of rich, decadent cupcakes ahead.

As for the outcome, I love the flavor of these cupcakes. The thyme is a bit shocking at first (I can’t help thinking of savory foods), but the combination of the thyme and the fruit is great. These are definitely a great afternoon snack.

Roasted Peach Mush

2 medium peaches

1. Cut the peach in half, remove the pit, and roast cut side down in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
2. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
3. Scoop out peach flesh and mush with the back of a fork.

roasted peaches
roasted peaches

scooping out peach flesh
scooping out peach

Peach, Blueberry, Thyme Cupcakes
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup roasted peach mush
1/4 cup blueberries
2 teaspoons loosely packed, fresh thyme leaves

1. In an electric mixer, beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
3. Add egg beat until combined.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to the mixer along with the milk and beat to combine.
5. Chop thyme leaves.
6. Fold the peach mush, blueberries, and thyme into the batter.
7. Scoop into cupcake papers about two-thirds full.
8. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: Leave cupcakes undisturbed for the first 15 minutes of baking (always) and then rotate the pan once to ensure even baking.

cooling cupcakes
cooling cupcakes

Thick Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces Philly cream cheese
1/4 stick butter, room temperature
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat butter vigorously with an electric mixer.
2. Scrape the bowl and add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
3. Add the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.
[Optional] Sprinkle with thyme leaves.

frosting the cupcakes
frosting cupcakes

Green Tea, Lavender, and Honey Cupcake Bombe48

Posted by chockylit in Experimental Recipe, Herbs & Flowers, Step-by-Step Photos (Sunday August 13, 2006 at 1:35 pm)

green tea, lavender, and honey cupcake bombe

How would I make an ice cream cupcake??? This question had been floating around in my head for some time and finally the random thought turned into an obsession sparked by an article I read (and misplaced) about updated ice cream bombes in Berkeley. After days of reflection I came up with this recipe. I simply couldn’t wait to see the green cake layered with purple lavender ice cream and creamy honey ice cream.

Warning to you… this recipe takes days to make and requires an ice cream machine. The good news is that you can make it significantly easier on yourself by purchasing high quality ice cream and making only the cake and frosting. I highly recommend it! The batches of ice cream specified below make enough for one go in the cuisinart, but not enough to fill all 24 cupcakes. (I only had enough for 16 of them.) And because you need to chill the ice cream maker insert literally overnight for it to work, it would have taken a week to make enough ice cream for the whole lot. So aside from buying the ice cream, you would need to plan well in advance.

I haven’t tasted these yet. I am forcing myself to go to work on a Sunday to get caught up, as they say, and am saving one of these little guys as my reward. I will post an update tonight on the end result.

Update: These tasted pretty fantastic, but they were very sweet… which I like. The matcha powder I purchased (from Whole Foods for $30 an ounce, yikes) was very strong and I could definitely taste the green tea. The green tea flavor was the strongest initially, with the honey coming in right behind it. I used a stronger, darker honey and the taste was very ‘in your face’. Next time I would use something milder. Interestingly, the lavender came in at the end, not completely overwhelmed by the other strong flavors, making this a relatively complex if cloyingly sweet cupcake experience.

Lavender Ice Cream

3/4 cup half and half or light cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoons lavender flowers, dried
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon flour, all-purpose
pinch of salt 2 drops purple gel food coloring

1. Bring creams and lavender flowers to a gentle simmer for about two minutes then take of heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
2. In a bowl, whisk sugar and egg yolks until they are thickened and pale yellow. Whisk in the flour.
3. Strain the lavender leaves out of the milk then slowly pour the warm mixture into the eggs while whisking the eggs.
4. Transfer everything back into the pan and gently heat, stirring with a wooden spoon constantly until thickened. Add salt and food coloring and stir to combine.
5. Strain into a bowl and let cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
6. Make the ice cream in your ice cream machine per the manufacturer’s directions.

lavender ice cream
lavender ice cream

Honey Ice Cream

1/4 cup honey
3/4 cups half and half or light cream
3/4 cups heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon flour, all-purpose
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

1. In a bowl, whisk honey and egg yolks until they are thickened and pale yellow. Whisk in the flour.
2. Bring creams to a gentle simmer pour then slowly pour the warm mixture into the eggs while whisking the eggs.
3. Transfer everything back into the pan and gently heat, stirring with a wooden spoon constantly until thickened. Add salt and stir to combine.
4. Strain into a bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in vanilla. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
5. Make the ice cream in your ice cream machine per the manufacturer’s directions.

matcha ($30 an ounce!)
matcha powder

Green Tea or “Matcha” Cupcakes
1/2 sheet pan / 350 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons matcha

1. Prepare sheet pan by rubbing with butter, covering with parchment, rubbing with more butter, and dusting with flour.
2. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
3. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add eggs/egg yolks one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
5. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to batter and mix to combine.
6. Mix matcha in with the milk. Add to the batter and mix until combine.
7. Pour into prepared 1/2 sheet pan and smooth flat.
8. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: You can use this batter to make straight up green tea cupcakes. Simply scoop into cupcake papers and bake for about the same amount of time.

matcha cake batter
matcha cake

smoothing out batter
smoothing out batter

Matcha Buttercream Frosting

1 stick butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons half and half or light cream
1 tablespoon matcha powder
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. Mix matcha in with the light cream to make a paste.
2. Beat butter briefly, scrape bowl.
3. Add the sifted powdered sugar and matcha paste. Beat until smooth.

Assemble
1. Cut rounds of cake to fit in the cupcake paper. Put a round in each cupcake paper.
2. Place a scoop of lavender ice cream on top of each round and smooth with the back of a spoon .
3. Place cupcakes in the freezer and chill for 1 hour.
4. Place a scoop of honey ice cream on top of each round and smooth with an offset spatula dipped in hot water.
5. Place cupcakes in the freezer and chill for 1 hour.
6. Smooth a thin layer of buttercream over the cupcakes and top with a decoration. Store in the freezer.

Note: I purchased the cute, pink royal icing flowers at a local cake supply store. This was too much work as it is!

cutting matcha cake disks
cut disks

cupcake bombe layer 1 - matcha cake
place in paper

cupcake bombe layer 2 - lavender ice cream
lavender ice cream layer

honey ice cream
honey ice cream layer

cupcake bombe layer 3 - honey ice cream
freeze

green tea, lavender, and honey cupcake bombe
then frost

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