Cherry Bomb Cupcakes with Meringue Frosting24

Posted by chockylit in General (Sunday August 29, 2010 at 9:31 am)

cherry chili chocolate cupcake

I felt the need to give these cupcakes a name – they had that much personality. I was about to add half as much chili as planned, but thought why not and dumped it all in. The result? Chili cherry chocolate cupcakes with a good kick. Funnily enough, “cherry bomb” was my ring name when I was an amateur kick boxer. I got that name from the cherry tattoos on my arms and my explosive power, I am sure… My fighting days are well passed me, but a taste explosion is well within my repertoire.

I purchased a jar of Italian wild cherries in syrup based purely on the attractive container. The jar lay ignored in a drawer while I struggled with what to do with the gluten-free chocolate cupcake recipe as a base for something I intended to bring to a party. A trip to the ferry building resulted in a 13 dollar jar of yuzu jam (for a later recipe – it better be tasty!) and I was still without ideas. The cherries called to me from their cool, dark spot and finally inspiration hit. But cherries and chocolate are pretty run of the mill. I decided on the chili so these cupcakes wouldn’t be forgettable.

I was hearing good things at the party. The cupcakes were spicy but that was appreciated. I liked the combination of the chocolate, chili, and tart but sweet cherries.

cherries and chili

Gluten-Free Chili Chocolate Cupcakes
~16 regular-sized cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3.5 ounces (100 grams) Valrhona 85% cacao (or any bittersweet chocolate)
1-1/2 sticks (172 grams) butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (223 grams) sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (40 grams) quinoa flour, gluten-free (or all purpose flour for non-gluten free)
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (if using gluten-free flour)

1. Chop the chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. Add the butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate melts and the butter is combined.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4. Measure out the flour, cocoa, chili powder, cayenne powder, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum (if using) into a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together.
5. Transfer the cooled chocolate/butter mixture to the electric mixer and beat for 3 minutes.
6. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each.
7. Add the flour mixture and mix to combine.
8. Scoop into cupcake cups only 2/3s full. Bake all the cupcakes 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.


Meringue Frosting

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar

1. Combine egg whites and sugar into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer and set over a bain marie (water bath).
2. Whisk by hand for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved or preferably until the mixture reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit. (Apparently 160 is safest. I have never tried that so can’t tell you if it will still be ok for the frosting. So if you are concerned use pasteurized eggs.)
3. Transfer bowl to electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 10 minutes.
4. Beat on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 to 10 minutes more.

cherry chili chocolate cupcakes

1. Fill the cooled cupcakes using the cone method with cherries. I used jarred cherries in syrup and included one whole one and some chopped up ones.
2. Frost.
3. Toast with a torch if you have one.

cherry chili chocolate cupcake

Watermelon-Chocolate Ice Cream Cupcakes27

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate,Watermelon (Sunday August 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm)

watermelon-chocolate ice cream cupcakes

It’s summer. And in most parts of the US when it is summer, it is warm. Maybe even *hot*. In San Francisco, it’s foggy, drizzly, and 55 degrees. Despite the fact that I have to wear a jacket and scarf when heading out in the morning, I am still thinking of summery things – like ice cream. I have been itching to make an ice cream cupcake and finally got around to it this weekend.

I have done these before – yummy concoctions consisting of layers of cake, ice cream, and frosting – but for my two previous attempts, I made my own ice cream or sorbet. This time around I was hoping to be inspired by my favorite ice cream shop – Humphry Slocombe.

humphry slocombe sorbet for the latest cupcake project

Humphry Slocombe is walking distance from my house. For a while there Naomi and I would head over just about every other Saturday for a cone. We stopped by Friday evening to pick up a couple pints for the cupcake project. (It’s a good time to go, around 6pm on a weekday, there is no line…) The color of the salted watermelon sorbet immediately caught my eye. I confirmed with the guy behind the counter that the fudgsicle sorbet would pair well – he had tasted the combination earlier in the day.

Indeed this cupcake combo is a winner. I am surprisingly pleased with how the watermelon buttercream frosting turned out and the watermelon-chocolate combination, even with a hint of salt, is wonderfully tasty. It feels like summer almost!

The recipes below will make you 12 to 14 ice cream cupcakes with some ice cream and frosting left over.

Chocolate Cake
1 sheet pan / 350 degree oven

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup high quality unsweetened cocoa powder like Valrhona brand
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2 Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined.
3. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a small sized bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Spread the batter evenly onto a sheet pan that has been covered in parchment paper and greased well with butter.
7. Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: Let the cake cool fully in the pan. After about 30 minutes, I flipped the cake on to a second sheet pan and then removed the parchment paper. This seemed to make it easier to cut the rounds, but may have been unnecessary.

smoothing out batter

Watermelon Syrup

~ 2 cups fresh watermelon meat

1. Peel and chop the fresh, seedless watermelon.
2. Using a blender or food processor puree the watermelon.
3. Separate at least 2/3 cup watermelon juice from the pulp by pressing it through a metal sieve.
4. Bring at least 2/3 cup of watermelon juice to boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and boil the juice for about 10-15 minutes or until reduced by almost half.
5. Once again separate the juice from any solids by pouring the a metal sieve. Allow to cool.

peeling fresh watermelon

Watermelon Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup watermelon syrup

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy.
3. Add watermelon syrup and beat to combine.
4. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like.
[optional] Add pink food coloring and beat to combine.

Candied Watermelon Rind Rounds

leftover watermelon rind
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

1. Using a small circle cookie cutter (about 1/2″ diameter) stamp out 14-16 watermelon rind rounds.
2. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil.
3. Add the rounds, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes.
4. Take off the heat and let sit for about 5 minutes.
5. Remove the rounds and place on a wire grate to cool.
6. After cooled, roll the rounds in sugar.

stamping out circles

Something like this setwill come in handy when making these sorts of cupcakes. As will the type of cupcake papers I use. You will also need room in your freezer to freeze the cupcakes in between steps.

1. Find the right sized cutter to get a cupcake round for the bottom and top of the cupcake. I had to use to very different sized cutters.
2. Eyeball how many cupcakes you can get out of the sheet pan before you start cutting. I eyeballed about 14 which is what I got.
3. Stamp out the bottoms and tops.
4. Fill each cupcake paper with a bottom round of cake.
5. Take your first ice cream flavor out of the freezer and transfer it into a bowl. Mix it with a wooden spoon to soften.
6. Scoop a small scoop of ice cream into each cupcake. Smooth out with the back of a spoon. Transfer the cupcakes to the freezer to chill for 20-30 minutes.
7. Now repeat with the second ice cream flavor and chill again for about 10 minutes.
8. Now top with the last cupcake round and chill again for 10 or so minutes.
9. Now top with buttercream frosting and a candied watermelon rind round.

Note: Store cupcakes in the freezer. Let them sit at room temperature for 10 or so minutes before serving. Firm ice cream works best for these projects otherwise the ice cream gets very melty…

ice cream cupcake cross section