Sweet Corn, Maple, and Bacon Cupcakes21

Posted by in Advanced Techniques, Experimental Recipe (Sunday September 23, 2007 at 8:29 pm)

sweet corn cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

I didn’t have high hopes for these cupcakes. In fact after the four failed attempts at maple candy this weekend and tasting the delicious Whiskie Bits cupcakes, I started to get a little depressed. I tasted the baked cake on its own and while it tasted fine, I wasn’t very excited it about it. Well in the end, I ended up loving the cupcake – it ended up being more than the sum of its parts.

The cake is light, almost angel food texture, with juicy, chewy corn kernels scattered throughout. The frosting is very creamy with a nice tartness. Taken together with some maple candy and bacon…. Yum! I was pleasantly surprised with this combination, now to see how they go over at work tomorrow.

Update: The cupcakes went fast and seemed to go over quite well. I shouldn’t have underestimated the appeal of bacon!

Homemade Maple Sugar Candy

I got the recipe from the Ohio State University website, fact sheet F-46-02. I tried the “Crunchy” Hard Maple Sugar Candy and the Molded Soft Sugar Candy. The hard, crunchy stuff tasted a lot like the maple sugar candy I used to get in Vermont, but I couldn’t mold it or make it into anything very good looking. The molded, soft stuff didn’t quite pan out I like I had hoped, but I did manage to get it into small disks. Attempt at your own risk.

cooked maple sugar
stirring the maple sugar

Sweet Corn Cupcakes
20 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1-1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup grape seed oil (or any tasteless vegetable oil)
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
5 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 cup corn kernels, fresh, cut off the cob

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 maple syrup. Stir to combine.
3. On a low setting, start to beat the dry mixture and slowly add the wet. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until ingredients are 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 a cupful of the stiff egg whites into the batter and stir to combine. This will lighten up the batter.
7. Transfer the batter to the egg whites and gently fold until there are no more streaks of egg white.
8. Gently fold in the corn kernels.
9. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

corn

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

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 3 cups of the powdered sugar and maple syrup. Beat until combined.
5. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Assemble
1. Frost cooled cupcakes.
2. Top with a piece of homemade maple sugar candy or crispy bacon.

sweet corn cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

Cupcakes by Whiskie Bits9

Posted by in General (Sunday September 23, 2007 at 3:53 pm)

I wanted to share some photos of cupcakes made by a friend of mine, the owner of Whiskie Bits. She and I met through the blog a while back and we have since become good friends. I have had the opportunity to taste about ten different flavors of her cupcakes over the past few weeks and all I can say is that every one of them has been fabulous.

I rarely eat cupcakes out because I bake them so often. But I have tried many of the local purveyors and have yet to be impressed. To be honest, I prefer my own. But these cupcakes, well, these cupcakes are like ten times better than mine (ok, maybe I exaggerate). So good, that I had to post about them. I want to warn you… Whiskie Bits is currently a one woman show and the owner is very busy. But if you are in the bay area, you should at least try to get her to cater your next event. You won’t be disappointed. Her cupcakes are truly phenomenal.

Here are some pictures I took of a few different flavors. By the way, I will be posting my next recipe here very soon.

chocolate espresso cupcake with salted caramel frosting
chocolate espresso cupcake
with salted caramel frosting

saffron cardamom cupcake with almonds and cashews
saffron cardamom cupcake
with almonds and cashews

orange rosemary cupcake with pine nuts
orange rosemary cupcake
with pine nuts

lavender honey cupcake with white chocolate
lavender honey cupcake
with white chocolate

Doughnuts and Coffee Cupcakes44

Posted by in Advanced Techniques, Coffee & Liqueurs, Drink-Inspired, Step-by-Step Photos (Friday September 7, 2007 at 3:17 pm)

Doughnuts and Coffee Cupcakes

Topping a baked good with fried one is indeed excessive. But I needed an excuse to make doughnuts, so here goes.

Firstly, I must take a moment to appreciate the doughnut. Doughnuts should be an occasional treat. They have little redeeming value other than tasting great and are fried! But boy do freshly fried doughnuts taste so very, very good. I have vowed that if I am to eat a doughnut it will only be one a fried by my own hands.

I used the recipe from Richard Bertinet’s Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread.He has a unique kneading method which he demonstrates clearly in the included DVD. I am providing the mixer version of the instructions as my words will be inadequate to describe his method. I made one slight change from his recipe (the frying temperature) and recommend that you plan on eating them all – with friends – the day, the moment even, they are fried.

homemade mini doughnuts

Now for the cupcakes – they tasted like a latte – sweet and moist with a milky coffee flavor. I enjoyed the end result like it was two desserts. I dipped the doughnut in some of the whipped cream and ate that, then had the cupcake separately. Both were tasty, but I must admit that the doughnut did out shine the cupcake. Maybe it was the novelty.

Coffee Cupcakes
19 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark roast coffee grounds
1/2 cup strong brewed, dark roast coffee
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk

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, beating until incorporated.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and coffee grounds 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. Scoop into cupcake papers about two-thirds to three-quarters full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes. Note that these cupcakes will shrink slightly when they cool).
10. 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.

Whipped Cream

3/4 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.

Doughnuts

9 ounces whole milk
1/4 ounce envelope active dry yeast
17-1/2 ounces white bread flour (not all-purpose)
3 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 ounces superfine sugar
2 teaspoons fine-grain salt
2 large eggs
2 cups peanut oil
superfine sugar for dusting

1. Warm milk over low heat until it is ay body temperature. It should feel neither warm nor cold when you touch it.
2. Measure the flour into your mixer’s bowl. Rub in the yeast with your fingertips until it disappears in the flour.
3. Rub in the butter until its a sandy texture. Rub in the sugar and salt.
4. Using the dough hook attachment, turn the mixer onto the lowest speed. Add the eggs and milk. Mix for 2 minutes.
5. Turn up to medium speed and mix for 6-7 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
6. Gently remove the dough from the bowl with the help of a plastic bowl scraperonto a lightly floured surface. Form into a ball. Place into a lightly floured bowl and cover with a lint-free towel and set in draft-free spot to rise for 1 hour.
7. Gently remove the dough from the bowl with the help of a plastic bowl scraper onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into two equal portions with your scraper. Gently roll out to about 1/2 inch thick, turning and using flour only as needed.
8. Cut out doughnuts and their holes using a circular cutter and a large pastry tip, respectively.
9. Set on a lightly oiled and floured baking pan with sufficient space between each. Cover with a lint-free towel and set in draft-free spot to double in size or for 45 minutes.
10. Heat the peanut oil in a high-sided, 8″ diameter pan to 350 degrees. Using a slotted spoon gently add about 5 doughnuts to the oil. Allow them to fry on one side until golden, about 45 seconds. Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove doughnuts onto a sheet pan covered in paper towels to drain. Continue in the same fashion with remaining doughnuts.
11. Roll drained doughnuts in the sugar. Eat.

Note: I got about 24 mini doughnuts and doughnut holes plus a small loaf of bread out of this recipe. I took the scraps from cutting, quickly kneaded them together and shaped into a loaf. I baked the loaf at 425 degrees for 11 minutes until golden on top. Tasty!

weighing out ingredients
weighing out ingredients

cutting out doughnut holes
cutting out doughnut holes

doughnuts and doughnut holes ready to rise
ready to rise

Assembly
1. Top cooled cupcakes with a dollop of whipped cream.
2. Top frosted cupcake with a doughnut.