Dark Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes18

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate, Coffee & Liqueurs, Experimental Recipe, Herbs & Flowers, Spices, Step-by-Step Photos (Monday August 27, 2007 at 1:25 pm)

dark chocolate truffle cupcakes

There are a couple of reasons why I made these truffle inspired cupcakes. Firstly, I wanted to spring clean the lazy Susan that is my baking pantry. It got out of control months and months ago like most of my cabinets and closets tend to get. My plan was, while cleaning the pantry, to inspect all my potential ingredients to come up with six different truffle flavor combinations.

Secondly, I bought myself a new toy, just arrived, that I was eager to use – a chocolate tempering machine. My plan was to make a topper for each cupcake that identified the ingredients inside.

Other than providing an excuse to clean out my pantry and an opportunity for low risk experimenting, I also think these cupcakes could make a nice gift. Get a nice box, provide one or two cupcakes per flavor, a legend, tie a nice ribbon around box and you have a pretty nice homemade gift.

Mise en Place
Assemble the ingredients for your six different truffle flavors. I wanted the flavors to be fairly intense so I started with 1 teaspoon of dry ingredients and 2 teaspoons of liquid ingredients. I was generally pleased with the results.

matcha-black sesame: 1 teaspoon each of matcha powder and black sesame seeds

chili-espresso: 1 teaspoon each of ancho chili powder and instant espresso plus a sprinkle of chili flakes

lavender-rosemary: 1 teaspoon each of lavender flowers and chopped rosemary, fresh or dried

mint-raspberry: 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh mint and 2 teaspoons Chambord raspberry liquor

rose-pistachio: 1 teaspoon each of chopped rose petals and chopped pistachios

sour cherry: 1 teaspoon crushed mahlab, a spice made from the pit of a sour cherry and 2 teaspoons Ginja, a Portuguese liquor made from morello cherries

I was most pleased with the first four combinations. All were noticeable and enjoyable, even the rosemary-lavender. The rose-pistachio flavor wasn’t distinguishable and the sour cherry was too intense. I would cut back on the Ginja next time.

truffle ingredients
mise en place

Cupcakes
25 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

7 ounces (200 grams) Valrhona 85% cacao (or any bittersweet chocolate)
3 sticks (343 grams) butter
2-1/4 cups (445 grams) sugar
8 eggs
1-1/4 cups (180 grams) flour
1/4 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper and laying out cupcake cups. Using a pencil draw a line to segregate 4 cupcake cups for each flavor and write out the ingredients so you can identify the cupcakes after they are baked. See image above. I did the same with 6 mini cupcake papers so I could taste each combination without having 6 whole cupcakes.
2. Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
3. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.
4. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
5. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
6. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each
7. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the mixture, return to the electric mixer, and mix until blended.
8. Separate into 6 separate, but equal batches. I eyeballed it and came pretty close. Mix truffle ingredients into each batch. I got four regular cupcakes and 1 mini per flavor.
9. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: If the oven is not hot enough than these cupcakes may over-flow. One way to be safe is to either fill 2/3’s full or another trick I use is to preheat to 375, then drop the heat to 350 once I put the cupcakes in. I also rotate the pans after 15 minutes of baking. It is safe to gently move them at that point and I find the lower back of my oven to be a bit cooler.

Simple Chocolate Ganache

6 ounces (170 grams) Valrhona 85% cacao (or any bittersweet chocolate)
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

1. Chop chocolate and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
2. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.
3. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
4. Add vanilla and salt. Stir until combined.
5. Let cool until at spreading consistency.

Note: If the ganache gets too thick, like you forget it on the counter or in the fridge, soften over a pan of simmering water just enough to get it back to spreading consistency.

frosting cupcakes
spreading frosting

[optional] Chocolate Decorations

truffle mise en place
4 ounces (113 grams) white chocolate

1. Sprinkle some of each of the truffle ingredients on a silpat or parchment covered baking sheet.
2. Temper white chocolate per machine instructions.
3. Pour chocolate over the truffle ingredients and gently spread with an offset spatula.
4. Let chocolate set.
5. Break into irregular shapes.

ready for the chocolate
truffle ingredients

pouring chocolate
pouring chocolate

spreading chocolate
spreading chocolate

Assembly
1. Frost cooled cupcakes with a small amount of ganache.
2. Top with an identifying chunk of white chocolate.

Cantaloupe and Honeydew Cupcakes topped with White Chocolate-Cardamom Butter Cream and Chiffonade of Mint19

Posted by chockylit in Experimental Recipe, Other Fruits (Wednesday August 15, 2007 at 9:11 pm)

Cantaloupe and Honeydew Cupcakes topped with White Chocolate-Cardamom Butter Cream and Chiffonade of Mint

A reader emailed me requesting a recipe for honeydew cupcakes. I took a shot at it and sent her what I “would” do. I haven’t heard back if she tried it or how it worked out, but I did them myself with some minor adjustments. I decided to do both cantaloupe and honeydew. I thought the color combination would look nice.

I knew when I was first asked about honeydew cupcakes that this recipe would be a challenge. Melon flavors are pretty mild and not what you think of when you think of baked goods. I knew straight off that I would need a fruit filling as the cupcake alone wouldn’t be melony enough. The fruit fillings worked great, especially the cantaloupe. The cupcakes were very moist and dense. I expected that with the all the chopped fruit and the fruit puree and that was a price I was willing to pay to get the flavor I was aiming for. I felt using a standard butter-based recipe would have been too over powering. The frosting was sweet so I only used a little of it, smoothing it on as opposed to piping it on.

Considering what I was up against, I consider the cupcakes a success. I am especially satisfied with the cantaloupe cupcakes. I could really taste the cantaloupe and the overall experience was nice.

This was also Naomi’s first baking lesson. She was being fussy so I held her in one arm while I cracked eggs and mixed cupcakes with the other. She is doing great though — getting really big, smiling, sleeping better (most nights). It truly is amazing how quickly they change.

Lastly, I posted a table of contents to help you find recipes from the archives and enabled two new features that can be found at the bottom of each post – print this post and email this post. I also plan to do a thorough index. It will take a while, but it would be cool and helpful – no doubt.

Cupcakes
20 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces honeydew, pureed
3/4 cup honeydew, diced
4 ounces cantaloupe, pureed
3/4 cup cantaloupe, diced

1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a large sized bowl. Add sugar and mix to combine.
2. In a separate small bowl, beat eggs to break up.
3. Add the oil and vanilla to the eggs and mix to combine.
4. Add the wet to the dry ingredients, mix to combine.
5. Separate the batter into two, about equal sized batches.
6. Add the honeydew to one batch and the cantaloupe to the other. Mix to combine.
7. Scoop into cupcake papers with an ice cream scooper about 3/4 full.
8. Bake at 350 degree oven for ~30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: These cupcakes are moist. Be sure that they are fully baked before removing them from the oven. The cake tester (or toothpick) must come out clean.

Honeydew and Cantaloupe Cupcakes
baked cupcakes

Cantaloupe Filling

1 cup fresh cantaloupe, diced
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. Add the cantaloupe and water to a pot. Cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat.
2. Stir together sugar and cornstarch then stir into the cantaloupe.
3. Cook until thick, about 5-7 minutes.

Honeydew Filling

1 cup fresh honeydew, diced
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. Add the honeydew and water to a pot. Cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat.
2. Stir together sugar and cornstarch then stir into the honeydew.
3. Cook until thick, about 5-7 minutes.

Cantaloupe Cupcake with Cantaloupe Filling
cantaloupe filling

White Chocolate, Cardamom Buttercream

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1-2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

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 1 cup of powdered sugar, vanilla, and cardamom 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.

Assembly

1. Fill each cupcake with filling.
2. Smooth on frosting.
3. Chop some chiffonade of fresh mint and top cupcakes with a bit.

Lemony Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes with Lavender and Rose Frosting28

Posted by chockylit in Citrus, Experimental Recipe, Herbs & Flowers (Wednesday August 1, 2007 at 6:45 pm)

Lemony Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes with Lavender and Rose Frosting

The last time I did ice cream cone cupcakes I took a traditional chocolate and vanilla approach. These cupcakes were tailored for a garden brunch hence the lavender and rose frostings. I used a simple syrup to flavor the frosting. This technique can be used with any herb, spice, or edible flower and you can use any leftover simple syrup to make cocktails… a very handy technique with a great upside.

Just how far to fill the cone is very dependent on the recipe. The last time I made them I had some overflow. So, this time I was conservative and ended up with some extra room. So fill at your own risk. I recommend just over the ridge for the recipe below.

My take on ice cream cone cupcakes is this. They are very cute, no doubt, but not practical when it comes to eating. It is near impossible to get frosting and cake in the same bite without ending up with a bunch of frosting on your nose. The cone also ends up on the chewy side. So while they make a great presentation, I will stick to regular cupcakes when taste matters.

Lemon Cupcakes
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Measure out milk and vanilla.
5. Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
6. Mix in lemon juice.
7. Fill the ice cream cones about 1/2 inch from the top (just over the lower ridge). Tap the cones to ensure the batter fills the bottom. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: The batter makes 12 regular cupcakes or 12 ice cream cone cupcakes plus about 4 regular cupcakes. (I had one package of 12 cones with some batter left over for regular cupcakes.)

ice cream cones supported by cupcake papers
I used the sturdy cupcake papers as holders for the ice cream cones. While they stand on their own, it is a bit easier to transfer into the oven with the cupcake papers. Simple flip the papers and cut an X into the bottom. Stick the cone into the X.

Lavender Simple Syrup

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lavender flowers

1. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan set over medium high heat.
2. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
3. Stir in lavender and let the mixture sit over the heat, undisturbed for 3 minutes or until thick and syrupy.

Rose Simple Syrup

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon crushed rose petals

1. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan set over medium high heat.
2. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
3. Stir in rose petals and let the mixture sit over the heat, undisturbed for 3 minutes or until thick and syrupy.

Lavender and Rose Meringue Frosting

1 cup sugar
4 egg whites
lavender and rose simple syrups

1. Whisk the egg whites and sugar over a water bath in the standing mixer bowl until it reaches a temperature of 110 degrees fahrenheit. This only takes only a couple of minutes.
2. Transfer to standing mixer and whisk using whisk attachment at high speed until soft peaks form.
3. Remove half of the mixture and set aside.
4. With the mixer on medium speed, drizzle lavender syrup into the mixer. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Add food coloring, if desired. Remove from the mixer bowl and set aside.
5. Return the other half of the mixture. With the mixer on medium speed, drizzle rose syrup into the mixer. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Add food coloring, if desired.

Assembly
1. Frost cooled cupcakes with a large star tip.
2. Top with sprinkles.

pink sprinkles