Wasabi White Chocolate Cupcakes with Plum Sake Filling40

wasabi white chocolate cupcakes with plum sake filling

I have had wasabi in a cupcake before, but with dark chocolate. When I saw the white chocolate and wasabi combination on episode 4 of Top Chef, I figured… why not?

I knew I wanted to do a fruity filling and after some pondering, plums came to mind. I thought the tartness of the plums would balance the sweetness of the white chocolate. I also liked that the plums would carry through the Japanese theme.

These cupcakes sound a bit crazier than they taste. The most dominant flavor is that of the filling. The tartness of the plums and the hit from the sake show through the most. I really liked the filling by itself. Even just pairing the filling with a simple vanilla cake would be delicious.

The cake has a nice, firm but moist texture that went well with the filling. However, its flavors were a bit lost. I wasn’t getting white chocolate and wasabi in any direct way, but there was definitely something going on there beyond a simple cake. It’s just a challenge to pinpoint it.

I topped the cupcake with a simple white chocolate frosting that is delicious and one of my new favorites. I considered putting some wasabi in the frosting, but didn’t want to overwhelm my tasters. If you are feeling adventurous, give it a try!

I had come up with the idea for the cupcake and then went away on a little mini-vacation. I was shopping at the local grocery store and strangely enough they had both wasabi and plum sesame seeds. I just had to buy them and use them to decorate the cupcakes. I really stumbled upon them and am not sure where anyone could pick them up other than the Surf Supermarket in Gualala, California.

Wasabi White Chocolate Cupcakes
~28 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

7 ounces white chocolate
3/4 cups (1-1/2 sticks) butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons wasabi paste

1. Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.
3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Note that when you add the sugar the mixture will separate and look pretty funky. This is ok.
4. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
5. Add the vanilla. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Mixture will thicken and you should no longer see butter floating on the top.
6. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each.
7. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the mixture, return to the electric mixer, and mix until blended.
8. Add wasabi paste and mix until blended.
9. Scoop into cupcake cups 2/3s full and transfer to a 350 F oven. Bake for ~22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: The tops of the cupcakes will have an odd looking texture (as reported the last time I made them). It’s ok, it will get covered with frosting…

plum sake filling
filled cupcakes

Plum Sake Filling

4 plums
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sake
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1. Pit and chop the plums to a small dice. Leave the peel on, it gives a nice color.
2. Heat water and plums over medium-high heat until boiling.
3. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring regularly until plums are soft, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the sake a tablespoon at a time tasting after each addition. You want to taste the sake, but not have the alcohol be too prominent.
6. Mix sugar and cornstarch together. Add to the plum mixture and stir to combine. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar just to the point when the mixture starts to taste sweet.
7. Transfer to a heat proof bowl. Let sit at room temperature until cool. If making in advance, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

White Chocolate Frosting

7 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) philly cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
~2 cups powdered sugar

1. In a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the white chocolate. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
2. Beat in the melted white chocolate.
3. Add the vanilla and 2 cups of powdered sugar 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. 2 cups worked for me.

filling cupcakes
filling the cupcakes

1. Fill the cupcakes with the plum filling using the cone method.
2. Garnish with sesame seeds.

40 comments for Wasabi White Chocolate Cupcakes with Plum Sake Filling »

  1. I don’t think I’ve even seen those different sesame seeds here in Japan!

    Comment by kat — April 15, 2008 @ 12:40 am

  2. I have waited for a new post for a while but it was well worth it. This looks and sounds so intriguing and up my alley… I wish I could taste it right now! You are truly an inspiration!

    Comment by Aran — April 15, 2008 @ 3:36 am

  3. These look amazing! Will try as soon as I get some sake in.

    Comment by Anna — April 15, 2008 @ 5:01 am

  4. All I can say is WOW.

    I don’t know how you do it.

    Comment by Cafe Johnsonia — April 15, 2008 @ 5:03 am

  5. I can’t believe a store actually sells wasabi and plum sesame seeds! How perfect for this cupcake!

    Comment by rachel — April 15, 2008 @ 5:20 am

  6. It does sound like a wild combination! But one thing I learned about white chocolate is that it’s an excellent vehicle for unusual flavors.

    Comment by veron — April 15, 2008 @ 5:25 am

  7. Yum, Philly-white chocolate frosting, and sake-plum filling?! Still can’t get my head around the wasabi element, but it sounds and looks delicious!

    Comment by Mari — April 15, 2008 @ 7:02 am

  8. Mmmm… looks great, sounds interesting. I’ll probably end up making these sometime since I’m so curious about the flavors.

    Comment by Sally — April 15, 2008 @ 11:19 am

  9. Wow! What an awesome combo! The look amazing!

    Comment by Hearts and Crafts — April 15, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  10. these look gorgeous, though I’m not one for white chocolate…

    Question: where/when would you put in the wasabi paste?

    Would you maybe suggest going with the powder instead?

    Comment by Jennifer — April 15, 2008 @ 1:19 pm

  11. fixed… and powder is fine, i just happened to buy paste.

    Comment by chockylit — April 15, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

  12. Totally genius use of the seeds! My first thought when I saw the photo was, “Where did she get those cool jimmies?!” Of course, you are so way beyond jimmies. :)

    Amazing, inspirational work!

    Comment by Shauna — April 15, 2008 @ 6:22 pm

  13. these look wonderful! i wanna try these out and see if i can use it for my current cuisine final (we’re doing contemporary asian) as one of the desserts. if i wanted to add more wasabi to get a stronger flavor, how would the ratios of the other ingredients need to be fixed?

    Comment by ana — April 15, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

  14. Not sure how I’d feel about a cupcake that could clear my sinuses, but it certainly looks tasty.

    Comment by Marc @ NoRecipes — April 15, 2008 @ 9:59 pm

  15. Have tried plum crumble with fresh black plums.. Will have to give the cup cakes a go. Just need to know where you get those simple cool cups.

    Comment by Rod — April 16, 2008 @ 1:29 am

  16. wow this blows me away Im off to try making them today

    Comment by ittybittycupcakes — April 16, 2008 @ 5:36 am

  17. Marry me, Chockylit! What timing, with the cherry blossoms out I was just thinking “if only there was a way to bottle up this time of year and make it into a cake”. I think this is the perfect spring cupcake, with lively flavors. A lovely and clever interpretation of the season! :-)

    Comment by Cakespy — April 16, 2008 @ 8:23 am

  18. Actually, folks, if you want the plum and wasabi sesame seeds, go here:


    Comment by Sheryl B, Finder of People and Things — April 16, 2008 @ 8:58 am

  19. I just wanted to post the fact that I split my time between Point Arena, CA, and SF, and Surf Super is my ‘local’grocery store! They actually have a lot of cool stuff for their location. Let me know if you’re going up north again- I have tips!

    Comment by Caitlin — April 16, 2008 @ 1:12 pm

  20. what a delightful cupcake!! i’m very into japanese-inspired foods recently and this sounds so beautiful..i might try that plum filling with a sakura buttercream..mm!! can’t wait. thanks for another inspiring post chockylit! x

    Comment by diva — April 16, 2008 @ 1:46 pm

  21. As soon as I saw this on Tastespotting, I thought of Top Chef! Nicely done! I would love to try them. And great addition with the plum sake filling!

    Comment by Hillary — April 16, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

  22. Well… I never would have dreamed you could put wasabi in a cupcake… The small town folk here might be offended if I replaced their chocolate and vanilla. haha :) I’ll definately try these if I can find the ingredients. Question… I’m wanting to order some of those neat cupcake liners you have but I’m not sure how many ounces are in regular cupcake liner and mini cupcake liner… you wouldn’t happen to know would you?

    Comment by Jenn Sedor — April 16, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

  23. 3.25 ounce for regular and 1.25 ounce for mini.

    Comment by chockylit — April 16, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

  24. ooh, i love the color of the filling.

    i’ve been thinking about that wasabi/white chocolate combo ever since that ep of top chef…

    Comment by michelle @ TNS — April 17, 2008 @ 10:54 am

  25. Who is your photographer? He or she does a GREAT job!!

    Comment by lisa dodd — April 17, 2008 @ 12:49 pm

  26. I do the photography, thanks! And the pictures with me in them are done with tripod and self timer (and me running around and getting in the shot)…

    Comment by chockylit — April 17, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

  27. What a wildly fabulous combination of flavors!

    Comment by Susan from Food Blogga — April 17, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

  28. I am impressed beyond words on this one. Everything about it is fabulous! Bravo!!!

    Comment by Kim — April 18, 2008 @ 6:34 am

  29. It does sound strangely good. The decoration is so perfect — what a lovely color combination.

    Comment by Linda — April 18, 2008 @ 10:29 am

  30. I have been on a mission to try to re-create the white chocolate wasabi salmon… I think I will try the cupcakes instead =)

    Comment by Yeulanda — April 22, 2008 @ 1:24 pm

  31. Oh my god, that’s just so perfect! I’ve been trying to look for a good plum cupcake recipe to use for my mother’s birthday. I think I’ll practice making that immediately.

    -Ellie, http://www.plums.com

    Comment by Ellie — April 24, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  32. Just found your site recently and have been eating it up! I love the look of these cupcakes, I’ve been trying to think of a way to combine white chocolate and wasabi ever since I saw that combo in Top Chef!

    Comment by Jenn — April 25, 2008 @ 7:32 am

  33. Oh MY YUMMY! My mouth literally started watering reading this. Can’t wait to try it!

    Comment by Monkeytoemomma — April 25, 2008 @ 11:27 am

  34. Wow! Looks unreal…Thanks for posting!

    Comment by Chocolate Covered Gifts — April 29, 2008 @ 10:29 am

  35. Your recipe sounds great… I imagine that the finished product tastes better than the White Chocolate Wasabi “Top Chef” cupcakes recently made by a bakery in Chicago… I tried them and they were kind of intense. Here’s the review!

    Comment by Third Coast Toast — May 6, 2008 @ 11:15 am

  36. Amazing! I just added you to my favorites… wished you lived next door!

    Comment by Michelle Trost — May 6, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

  37. I’m just tickled that you found them at the Surf Super. I take it you took a holiday at Sea Ranch?

    These cupcakes intrigue me greatly, and I really dislike white chocolate. But I think somthing pungent like wasabe and tart like plum should do the trick to cut through the bland sweetness of the stuff. Cheers!

    Comment by Sean — May 27, 2008 @ 5:03 pm

  38. oh my boyfriend would love these! sake & wasabi, both his fav :)

    Comment by betty — November 9, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

  39. Hello Cheryl,
    I am a visual artist who bakes, mainly cupcakes.
    A little while ago I started the project “Bake, Eat, Paint” a Sensory and color exploration to build a “Cupcake Paintings” series.
    Since I found your blog very interesting, I marked it as one of my favorites, among other ones.
    This recipe I found so exotic I had to bake it…and create a painting. To the frosting I added wasabi powder(which I love!), so it came a bit greenish. I put some dark chocolate chips for decoration, since that’s what I had at the moment. But they were mouth watering!
    I am enclosing the link for you to see all my cupcake paintings, including yours.
    Cheers and thank you for sharing!

    Comment by Cristina Del Sol — October 17, 2010 @ 9:20 am

  40. Thanks for sharing your recipes! I tried this one and they were a huge hit! It made a lot so I got to share with co-workers (they didnt complain)

    Comment by Keli — January 16, 2011 @ 11:28 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


(required but not published)