Mooncake Cupcakes (Bean Paste Filled Cupcakes with Date-Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting)57

Posted by chockylit in Asian-Inspired,Beans,Cheese,Experimental Recipe,Other Fruits,Step-by-Step Photos (Sunday September 24, 2006 at 12:12 pm)

mooncake cupcakes

I had my first mooncake this week – a dough covered, red bean paste filled sweet, purchased and exchanged during the mid-autumn moon festival which is being celebrated this weekend in San Francisco.

I have been prodded in the past to try something with red bean paste and have enjoyed other desserts made with the filling. So, it seemed like a perfect time to try it out. Red bean paste is sweet and earthy with a distinct “beanie” flavor, a good match for cupcakes.

I researched bean paste recipes and they all basically involved soaking, boiling, pureeing, and cooking the paste with sugar and oil. I cut back significantly on the amount of sugar and oil and liked the end result although it was less sweet and less thick than the commercial products I have tasted.

I stuck to a basic cupcake base, filled each with paste, baked them, topped them with a yummy date-pineapple cream cheese frosting and dipped each in lightly salted sesame seeds. The end result was delicious. Sweet, but a touch salty and the bean and sesame flavors shown through.

I also wanted to point out the addition of a new page on the right, baking basics & troubleshooting. Folks new to baking should definitely give it a read. And if any of you experienced folks have anything to add, please do!

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 3/4″ balls. I used a small ice cream scooper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap so they won’t dry out.

adzuki beans
red “adzuki” beans

pressing bean paste through a sieve
pressing paste through sieve

22-24 regular cupcakes / 375-350 degree oven

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 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanillas

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. Add to mixer bowl. Add the milk and vanilla. Mix to combine.
5. Fill each cupcake paper about 1/4 full. Smooth with the back of a spoon. Press in a bean paste ball. Top with more batter until about 3/4 full. Smooth with the back of a spoon.

Note: Baking these is a little tricky as they end up a bit full. I pre-heated the oven to 375 then turned it down to 350 once I put the cupcakes in. This worked out well; I lost only one to overflow… and it wasn’t quite lost… I did eat it after all.

smoothing out first layer of batter
smoothing out first layer

bean paste ball on top of first layer of batter
bean paste ball

scooping on top layer of batter
scooping on top layer

Date & Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup dried dates, chopped
1/2 cup dried pineapple, chopped

1. Bring the butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
2. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy
3. Sift powdered sugar into the bowl, add vanilla, then beat until combined.
4. Add chopped dates and pineapple and stir until combined

NOTE: You can add more or less sugar to get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

1. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.
2. Dip into lightly salted sesame seeds.

scooping frosting onto cupcakes
scooping out frosting

smoothing out frosting
smoothing out frosting

dipping into sesame seeds
dipping into sesame seeds

mooncake cupcake
inside of the cupcake

Caramel Apple Cupcakes68

Posted by chockylit in Advanced Techniques,Apples,Experimental Recipe,Step-by-Step Photos (Friday September 1, 2006 at 12:44 pm)

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

These luscious cupcakes are a childhood treat reinvented for the kid in all of us. Welcome fall with a few friends by baking up a batch of these challenging, yet satisfying goodies. The soft, tart apple shines through the spiced, not-so-sweet cake and the cream cheese filling lends a sweet smoothness. All this is topped with a robe of chewy, sweet, and slightly salty caramel.

Be sure to bake, cool, and stuff the cupcakes before starting the caramel. You want the cupcakes ready and waiting as soon as the caramel comes off the stove. Please note that you will need a candy thermometer for this recipe!

Apple Cupcakes
9 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

2-3 apples, granny smith
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Rinse and core the apples. Place them on an ovenproof pan or baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft.
2. Remove the apples from the oven, let cool slightly, then remove peel and mush the apple with the back of a fork. Measure out 1 cup of apple mush and set aside to cool.
3. Combine flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Crack the eggs into a separate, medium sized bowl and beat with a form to break up. Add the oil, apple juice, vanilla, and cooled apple mush and mix to combine.
5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until all ingredients come together.
6. Scoop into cupcake papers about 3/4 full so cupcakes will have a significant dome. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes, rotating the pan after 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Filling

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

1. Be sure to bring the butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours. Then beat the butter vigorously with an electric mixer.
2. Scrape the bowl and add the cream cheese and beat until combine.
3. Add the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Fill Cupcakes
1. Cut out a cone from each cupcake. Flip the cone and cut off the excess. Set the top aside.
2. Fill each cavity with the cream cheese filling.
3. Replace each top.

scooping in filling
cupcake ready for filling

scoop of filling
filling the cupcake

squishing on the tops
replacing the top

Thick Caramel

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
6 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Bring the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk to a boil over medium-high heat stirring to combine.
2. With a wooden spoon, stir all ingredients together and then slowly add the heavy cream.
3. Continue to stir for about 20 minutes until the caramel reached 248 degrees. It is important to continuously stir the mixture and to allow it to reach temperature.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Transfer to a bowl and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes allowing the caramel to cool slightly.

Final Assembly
1. Using a small offset spatula, frost each cupcake with the caramel.
2. If desired sprinkle warm caramel with any number of toppings, like coconut or crushed nuts.
3. Transfer the cupcake into the freezer to allow the caramel to set without dripping over the edge of the cupcake paper.
4. Continue frosting and topping the cupcakes and try to work fast. As the caramel cools, it becomes less spreadable. If possible work in pairs and let your helper top the cupcakes and transfer them to the freezer. By the time you reach the last few cupcakes, you will not longer need to freeze them and you can take all the cupcakes out and transfer them to the counter.
5. Top off each cupcake with a popsicle or craft stick to finish off the look.

Caramel Apple Cupcake
finished product