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

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

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