Pink Salt & Pink Pepper Cupcakes15

Posted by chockylit in General (Sunday April 11, 2010 at 10:05 am)

salt & pepper cupcake

These cupcakes sound more challenging to the palate then they are. I think it’s all the chocolate… The foundation of this cupcake includes two basic recipes – chocolate cupcakes and chocolate ganache. I decided to use the low-flour chocolate cupcake recipe I like and to sub out the wheat flour for quinoa flour and make them gluten-free. No one noticed a difference. If you are looking to make gluten-free, this is a great recipe to use. Your gluten-free friends will be very happy.

I really thought this recipe would end up being all concept with no real flavor excitement, but I was wrong. The pink peppercorn cream paired extremely well with the salted toffee. Those two things with the chocolate were just great. A couple of people weren’t into the pepper flavor and just scooped out the filling and ate the rest, but for the most part everyone enjoyed the cupcake. So, I guess whether or not this combination is a challenge to the palate depends on who you are. So far only the wasabi, white chocolate cupcakes I made in 2008 were too much for me…

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
~28 regular-sized 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) quinoa flour, gluten-free (or all purpose flour for non-gluten free)
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 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, 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.

Chocolate Ganache

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate like Valrhona 61% cocao
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of your standing mixer.
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 butter. Stir until butter is melted. Let cool to room temperature.
5. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl and mix until fluffy.

salt & pepper cupcake
filled cupcake

Pink Peppercorn Cream

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
pink peppercorn

1. Whisk cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and whisk until combined.
2. Add grindings of the pepper tasting occasionally until you are happy with it. I made it fairly strong as its a small component to the cupcake and will otherwise get overpowered by the chocolate.

toffee in the making
toffee in the making

Salted Toffee

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon water
1 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons large grained salt

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring everything to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
2. The mixture will start to boil with vigor. Do not stir. Let the mixture boil over medium-low heat until the mixture turns a deep nutty brown, about 20 minutes
3. Pour on to a prepared baking sheet (either covered in a silpat or oiled parchment paper). After a minute or so, sprinkle with salt. I used pink, Hawaiian salt.
4. Leave it to cool.
5. After the toffee has cooled, break it into small chunks.

Note: I like my toffee very dark – almost burnt. Getting the toffee just right for your taste can be a challenge. I think a nutty brown is a good place to start. One additional warning, if you cook it very long you could nearly ruin your pan or at a minimum create bunch of cleanup work for yourself. Don’t use your favorite pot or pan!

pink salt(ed) toffee
salted toffee

1. Fill the cooled cupcakes using the cone method.
2. Frost.
3. Top off with the toffee chunks, a little more salt (if desired), and a decoration (if you want).

salt & pepper cupcake

15 comments for Pink Salt & Pink Pepper Cupcakes »

  1. Interesting…you used 100% quinoa flour for this, I’ve never had any luck doing that, I’ev always had to mix them, particularly because of quinoa’s strong flavour. The secret must be the addition of the chocolate. Can’t wait to try these out!

    Comment by The Curious Baker — April 11, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

  2. I am SO intrigued by pepper in a dessert item! Definitely going to have to try this out – and what a bonus it’s gluten free! I just found out someone I know is intolerant. Thanks for sharing this :)

    Comment by Jayme — April 11, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

  3. I love the salt with chocolate and caramel combo, so I am sure I will love these. I will have to experiment (I wonder if it would work with rice flour).

    Comment by Seanna Lea — April 12, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  4. I made them this weekend! like the cream but don’t think I added enough pink pepper and the salted toffee was awful, I used fleur de sel and although I read your warnings, ended up burning it! I’ll keep a closer eye on it next time and maybe use sea salt. The chocolate cupcake was delicious with AND without the extras! Thanks for sharing :~)

    Comment by The Curious Baker — April 18, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

  5. I just want to say, I love your website, and I am so glad you are blogging again. Your recipes rock, and your cream cheese-salted caramel frosting changed my life.

    Comment by leena! — April 20, 2010 @ 10:45 am

  6. just HuMMMmmmmm…..
    and what a lovely website , your recipes are so great

    Comment by annick — April 26, 2010 @ 4:51 am

  7. You are such an accomplished baker! Your cupcakes always look so beautiful … they make mine look amateur by comparison! Great blog!

    Comment by Vickii — April 27, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

  8. This looks delicious!!

    Comment by Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) — April 29, 2010 @ 9:14 am

  9. I have yet to try baking gluten-free. This is my first visit to your blog. Must say, your cupcakes look superbly yummy. I am thinking I will have to try making a filled cupcake sometime! Great work!

    Comment by Daily Kitchen — May 1, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

  10. I just want to say that these cupcakes look absolutely divine! I’ve make your old fashioned chocolate cupcakes, and your pumpkin cupcakes (both with different frosting’s) but I just want to say they were AMAZING! They both were so light, fluffy and extremely moist! Thank you thank you thank you! :)

    Comment by Leah — May 4, 2010 @ 5:42 am

  11. I wouldn’t have thought about using pepper in a desert, but the recipe sounds delicious.

    Comment by Window On The Prairie — May 21, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

  12. Hello! I am in love with your website – found it the other day. I love coming up with different cupcake combinations but honestly never have the time to try anything out. Here are two things I’d love to see you do – fortune cookie cupcake (inspired by the graham cracker cupcake from the s’more cupcake) and something using the acai berry, which is considered the new ‘superfood.’ Best of luck & success!

    Comment by Gloria — June 16, 2010 @ 5:46 am

  13. Yay for a gluten free post. It’s nice to have had someone else do the substitutions for me!

    Comment by InTolerantChef — June 22, 2010 @ 2:58 am

  14. I love your site… really good works..

    Comment by mia — October 7, 2010 @ 11:46 am

  15. looks like a great recipe, I will try it this week

    Comment by Carol — March 8, 2011 @ 10:18 am

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