pear & vanilla bean filled chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream35

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate, Pear, Vanilla (Sunday March 30, 2008 at 10:18 am)

pear & vanilla bean filled chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream

I made these here cupcakes for the first ever bay area cupcake meetup that happened this weekend. A lovely group of people showed up at Dolores Park in San Francisco with creative and tasty cupcakes to share. We talked shop and caused a bit of a scene. Apparently the idea of a group of people meeting up in a park to eat cupcakes is unusual. Go figure! If you are in the bay area sign-up for the meetup we plan to meet seasonally. The next gathering will be sometime this summer.

Back to the cupcakes… I often think of fall when I think of pears (much like apples), but I hadn’t worked with pears in a cupcake and was eager to do so. I decided to “spring them up” a bit and paired the pear with vanilla bean. I enjoyed the combination and all in all consider the cupcake a success.

UPDATE: Slight adjustment to remove baking soda which should help with this recipe.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcakes
~30 regular cupcakes / 375 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temp
2-1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temp
1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
4. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a small sized bowl and whisk to combine.
5. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine
6. 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.
7. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 1/2’s full. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: As mentioned previously with this recipe, if you overfill the cupcakes, they will overflow and then sink. To be on the safe side I am now recommending that you fill the cupcakes 1/2 full. With a big batch you may still have some problems with one or two of them, but the majority should work out just fine. Your oven must be for sure hot enough, so it doesn’t hurt to get an oven thermometer and make sure it’s at the correct temperature. These cupcakes are temperamental, but the resulting cake is worth it.

chocolate cupcake
chocolate cupcake

Pear Filling

1 good sized pear, pealed, pitted, and chopped into small dice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 vanilla bean

1. Add pear and water to a medium sized pan. Cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat.
2. Stir together sugar and cornstarch then stir into the pears.
3. Split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the pears.
4. Cook until thick, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Note: The filling can be made a day in advance and stored covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator.

pear filling
pear filling

Soft Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons milk

1. Beat butter at medium-high speed until creamy.
2. Sift powdered sugar into the mixer bowl (right on top of the beaten butter). Beat to combine.
3. Split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the frosting.
4. Add the vanilla and the milk. Beat until combined.

Pear Chips

1 good sized pear

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice thin cross-sections of pear.
3. Place on a baking sheet making sure that the slices do not touch.
4. Let them dry in a 200 degree oven for about 1 hour (depends on how thin the slices are) flipping 2 or 3 times until they are dried out and no longer soggy.

pear chip
pear chips

Assemble
1. Fill the cupcakes with the pear filling using the cone method. This post has step by step photos of the method.
2. Frost with frosting and top with a pear chip.

cupcake meetup cupcakes
cupcakes from the meetup

35 comments for pear & vanilla bean filled chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream »

  1. Hi Cheryl, these cupcakes look delicious!! I would definitely try them out! Do you use all purpose flour, or cake flour when you make cupcakes?

    Comment by Amisha — March 30, 2008 @ 11:04 am

  2. I know pears are a fall fruit, but I can’t help but love them in spring and summer. Their shape and fruit flavor are best during sunny weather, don’t you think? Even though I live up in Northern California, I hope to make it to SF for the next cupcake meetup :)

    Comment by amanda — March 30, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

  3. you.are.amazing. so inspiring. i’ve never even made cupcakes before. but you do it, dripping with such passion. makes me feel like i live off of them.

    Comment by wrecklessgirl — March 30, 2008 @ 1:58 pm

  4. Wonderful as always. I have actually been trying to figure out how to leave a comment for your posts for a while. For some reason I couldn’t find the link to it but I just did and I’m so happy! I can’t tell you how much I ADORE your blog. This is the first patry blog that I ever read and you never disappoint me. I know you are busy and you wish you could post more often. Your posts to me are like that special magazine I await for every week or month. I can never get enough!
    And I was also browsing through your Flickr photos and let me tell you, you guys are a cute bunch! I hope I’m not coming across as a stalker. I really did want to share with you how inspiring your cupcakes are.
    Thank you!
    Aran

    Comment by Aran — March 30, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  5. Amisha, flour is all-purpose unless stated otherwise.

    Comment by chockylit — March 30, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

  6. Thank you for organizing the event and posting the recipe and picture of the Meetups cupcakes. Sorry I could not make it yesterday. Glad it was a success.

    Comment by Cathleen — March 30, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

  7. Oh my goodness, those look and sound wonderful- as as for the cupcake meetup? I’d take that over a cookie exchange anyday (and I’m a big time cookie fan!)! Thank you for sharing, happy spring!

    Comment by Michaele — March 30, 2008 @ 3:18 pm

  8. These look delicious! This is definitely on my “To Bake” list.

    Comment by Tanya — March 30, 2008 @ 3:43 pm

  9. Wow..these sound wonderful. They really make me wanna go out and get some vanilla beans… I can only imagine the smell!! If only Bath and Body made some of your cupcake creations into smells.. *_*
    If I get the chance to make these, I shall recomment :D
    These do sound really, REALLY nice though :D
    Wait..so why the reason for 1/2 filled only? Do they rise that much?
    Oooh you can probably use this recipe with apples or something of the sort. Hmm..apples and chocolate..
    OR EVEN PEACHES?

    Comment by Angela — March 31, 2008 @ 12:40 am

  10. Oh my gosh! Will wonders never cease? This is so inspiring! I am having guests this Wednesday and was thinking of a chocolaty yet fruity dessert and this is just perfect.

    By the way, I am in the Honolulu area and since you are in S.F., any chance you’ll be in our area for a vacation or business? If so, I’ll even pick you up at the airport just for a chance to see how you come up with these wonderful, creative ideas. Hawai’i is home state to exotic fruits, maybe you can come up with even more flavorful combinations. That would be so awesome and if anyone can pull it off, you certainly can!

    Comment by Pris — March 31, 2008 @ 3:51 am

  11. Fantastic–pears look wonderful in my market right now, so what a perfect way to make them even better (put ‘em in cupcakes!). Love the texture and taste addition of the pear chips as well.

    Comment by Cakespy — March 31, 2008 @ 8:05 am

  12. These look incredible! I definitely never would have thought of that combination!
    Also, I am very jealous of the meet up! I am keeping my fingers crossed for more cupcake enthusiasts to pop up in Jacksonville! They may be crossed for a while!

    Comment by Hearts and Crafts — March 31, 2008 @ 8:05 am

  13. I wish I lived in the San Fran area so I could’ve been at the meeting…too much fun!

    Comment by My Sweet & Saucy — March 31, 2008 @ 10:12 am

  14. Cheryl..I wanted to make the meetup this wkd but I had too much going on. I love the picture of all the cupcakes, too cute!! I just signed up for Meetup as well so hopefully I can make the next one (any chance of having one on the Peninsula maybe, as I bet there are South Bay lovers who’d love to join too!!).

    Anyway, these look FAB…!!! Like another poster I also just figured out how to leave comments, slow learner.

    Comment by Mara — March 31, 2008 @ 12:26 pm

  15. I’ve been keeping up with your blog for awhile now and I’m a huge fan; too bad I can taste the food via my computer screen!

    Your cupcake recipes are truly one-of-a-kind and I’d love for you the share them on Key Ingredient so that I can feature them on our blog! Please check out our site and let me know if you’re interested! Thanks :)

    Sophie
    Blogger In Chief
    Key Ingredient

    Comment by Sophie A. — March 31, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  16. Ohhhhh you are so good. I will definately try this soon. Thank you once again for your genius.

    Carrie

    Comment by Carrie Fields — March 31, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

  17. i just wanted to say these sound perfectly delicious! i stumbled upon your blog a few months back while searching for cupcakes in a cone, and have been addicted ever since. i have tried a few of your recipes and they are always fun to make and even more fun to eat. thanks so much for sharing your treats and expertise with everyone!

    Comment by lisa — March 31, 2008 @ 10:25 pm

  18. Pear recipes seem to be flying at me from all directions lately, but this one looks amazing! And so do all those other gorgeous cupcakes :)

    Comment by Lisa — March 31, 2008 @ 10:44 pm

  19. hey, i’m big fan of chockylit and i live all the way in Asia. the cupcakes look divine!Was just wondering if i were to covert to ounces, with regards to the cupcakes, how much would the sugar and flour measure out in grams/ounces? thanks a bunch.

    Comment by M.G — April 1, 2008 @ 4:16 am

  20. Hi Cheryl,
    I’ve been a secret fan for the longest time; the drool marks on my computer prove it. I tried your coffee cupcakes last weekend (they were fab!) and I’m definitely going to give these a go.

    Comment by dee — April 1, 2008 @ 6:08 am

  21. As always your cupcakes look just divine! The flavors are interesting and the size looks perfect!!! Where do you get the wrappers that you use to bake them in?

    Comment by Kim — April 1, 2008 @ 7:05 am

  22. Hi there,
    Long time reader, first time poster. Wonderful recipe. I made these as mini cupcakes – divided the recipe by 4 as I’ve only got on pan so didn’t want to spend all day filling up the patty cases, but make the whole recipe of filling. Less than 24 hours later they’re almost all gone despite only two people eating them. Wonderful!
    BTW, I love that you so often post photos of the process, not just the end product.
    Thanks!

    Comment by Ann — April 1, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

  23. Hi Chockylit!
    I just love your blog, you inspired me to finally try making cupcakes! Mine had a few issues (due to altitude and inexperience, I think!) but they tasted fabulous. I’m definitely going to try again. I made a little post about it on my blog if you are interested: http://sentaplyer.blogspot.com/2008/04/adventures-in-baking.html

    Thanks for so kindly sharing your wonderful recipes and photos! This is one of my favorite blogs ever.

    Comment by senta — April 2, 2008 @ 10:34 pm

  24. i love the idea of a pear filling and pear chips. love how you always manage to come up with so creative, pretty and i bet wonderfully delicious cupcakes. all the flavours i’d say are matches made in heaven. x

    Comment by diva — April 3, 2008 @ 3:46 am

  25. WOW. I can just imagine how those cupcakes taste. What great flavor combos. I love how creative you are, Cheryl.

    Comment by Cafe Johnsonia — April 3, 2008 @ 5:45 am

  26. I am sure you know Martha Stewart is having cupcake week. I have liked all the people that have been on her show so far. I don’t want to under estimate anybody but I so wish you would have been there. I feel like you have been one of the first cupcake bloggers who make beautiful cupcakes. Not just cute but actually fine dining-like. I just would have loved to see you get the recognition you deserve.

    Comment by Aran — April 3, 2008 @ 9:43 am

  27. Thanks, Aran. Of course it would be like a dream come true to be on Martha Stewart, but alas I didn’t make it on their radar.

    To those having trouble with sinking cupcakes, please read the Basics & Troubleshooting section for some helpful hints.

    Comment by chockylit — April 3, 2008 @ 10:20 am

  28. Hi Chokylit,
    for tonight (a birthday party) I’ve prepared these beautifully looking cupcakes and they are amazing. The cupcake batter was great to prepare according to your instruction, baked it is really light and tastes delicious, the measurements work really fine; I took 220 grammes of butter instead of 2 sticks. ;-)
    The butter cream is a killer – as usual – but looks a perfect dream… However, I’m not too happy with the pear filling which sort of perished by the dominance of chocolate and vanilla… I thought of adding more sugar and a little lime juice next time, do you think this would work?
    À propos work: your blog is wonderfully colourful!
    Thanks for your reply!

    Comment by Ilivarra — April 5, 2008 @ 4:13 am

  29. These look delicious…I love the idea of pear and chocolate together. I also second the idea that you should have been on Martha Stewart’s cupcake week…you make the most beautiful cupcakes!

    Comment by DoughGirl — April 5, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

  30. God, your cupcakes are just perfect ! Besides you’re as talented to bake than than to take wonderful pictures of them ! I’m french and you’re my “cupcake reference”, I love the way you detail the whole process of making cupcakes ! Thank you and again, you do a wonderful job !

    Comment by Maybe — April 12, 2008 @ 2:03 am

  31. This recipe looks delish!
    I love the way these cupcake papers look in your photos, but I tried them recently and found they were difficult for unwrapping, so I have returned to the traditional cupcake papers.

    Comment by Barb — April 13, 2008 @ 9:36 pm

  32. Th simplicity of the flavors together is perfect!

    Comment by Tartelette — April 13, 2008 @ 10:21 pm

  33. Fantastic cupcakes, simple yet elegant. You have great sense of style.

    Comment by Foodala — May 8, 2008 @ 12:06 am

  34. can i use this recipe for a big cake??

    Comment by Samantha — December 28, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

  35. My filling turned out super thick and gelatinous after a night in the fridge. When I made it, it thickened instantly when I added the cornstarch; I had to add extra water to keep it from burning. What am I doing wrong?

    Comment by Calica — January 5, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

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