August 19, 2013

Italian Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

I've been on the search for a chocolate cupcake that actually rises and has a nice dome after it cools. I found it! I think this might end up being my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe. The espresso wasn't too strong of a flavor. In fact, if I make this recipe again, I'd probably increase the amount of espresso in the cake. For normal chocolate cupcakes I'll halve the espresso.

Italian Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes:
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Whipped Ganache
Mascarpone Buttercream

~Dark Chocolate Cupcakes~
1 c butter, unsalted
1/2 c unsweetened dark cocoa powder
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 c sugar
4 large eggs
1 3/4 c all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 c sour cream

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, chocolate and espresso powder. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Let cool for 20 minutes.

Separate egg whites from egg yolks. In a large bowl, beat sugar and egg yolks at medium-high speed with a mixer until light yellow and fluffy. In another medium bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating until combined. Add chocolate mixture, stirring until smooth. Stir in sour cream. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add 1/3 of egg whites to batter to lighten up your mixture. Fold the remaining 2/3 of your egg whites until batter is homogenous and airy.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, and bake for 12-14 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.

I used my cupcake corer to take out the center. You can use a paring knife and use the cone method to take the center out.

~Whipped Ganache~
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate (or semi-sweet if you don't like a strong flavor)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp espresso
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all ingredients in a double boiler. Stir until melted. Take bowl and allow mixture to cool for at least 1 hour in the fridge. With an electric beater, whip ganache until it is between soft and stiff peaks. Don't over do it with the whipping otherwise it will set up too hard. Once it is whipped, allow the mixture to set for about 5 minutes before you pipe.

Pipe the ganache into your cupcakes.

~Mascarpone Buttercream~
8 oz Mascarpone Cheese, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, mix mascarpone and powdered sugar together. Add 2/3 cup of heavy cream to mascarpone/sugar mixture and then fold in remaining heavy cream. Allow it to set up in the fridge for about 5-10 minutes. Pipe onto your cupcakes.

Store your cupcakes in the fridge but if you are going to eat them then I would suggest letting them sit at room temperature for a little while. Hope you enjoy them!

August 14, 2013

Tiramisu Cupcakes

These cupcakes were truly Ah-maz-ing!! They were a lot of work but completely worth it.

Tiramisu Cupcakes
Recipe courtesy of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Tiramisu Cupcakes
white cupcakes (recipe follows)
espresso chocolate mousse (recipe follows)
1/4 cup coffee or espresso
mascarpone frosting (recipe follows)
cocoa powder for dusting

White Cupcakes
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour (you can use all-purpose if you need)
1 TBSP. baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
5 egg whites
Sift together flours, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
In a mixing bowl (if using a stand mixer use the paddle attachment), cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
In a liquid measuring cup, combing vegetable oil and milk.
Add flour mixture and milk/oil mixture alternatively to the mixing bowl. Beating on low speed after each addition.
Pour mixture into a large bowl. Scrape down to make sure you get all of the batter.
Clean out bowl and switch to whisk attachment.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter, to “lighten” the batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
Grease and lightly flour muffin pans. Fill each cup half full.
Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until done.
Cool on a wire rack.

Espresso Chocolate Mousse
2 cups chilled heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
4 TBSP sugar
2 tsp espresso powder
8 oz fine-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Heat ¾ cup cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot.
Whisk together yolks, sugar, espresso powder, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined.
Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler, stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool.
Beat remaining 1 ¼ cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.

Mousse recipe adapted from Gourmet December 2002
Mascarpone Frosting
2 cups heavy whipping cream
8 ounces Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
Using and electric mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
In a mixing bowl, fold 2/3 cups of the whipped cream into the Mascarpone cheese, along with the powdered sugar.
Add remaining cream. Blend until cream is fully incorporated.
Place in refrigerator until ready to frost.

Using the cone method, fill cupcakes with Espresso Chocolate Mousse filling. Place top back on top of cupcakes. Brush top of cupcake with coffee or espresso. Go light on this as they are fresh cupcakes, and not hard like most ladyfingers. You don’t want to soak them.
Frost top with Mascarpone Frosting.
Sprinkle cocoa powder on top of cupcakes.

Just take note that you will have a lot of leftovers of the mousse and the frosting. To be honest, I didn't mind at all. Both were delicious to eat by themselves. I put the leftover mousse in ramekins and then I'd top them with the frosting. MMMMMMM! Yum! If you don't want so much leftover then halve the mousse recipe. As for the frosting, be generous when putting it on your cupcakes and then eat the rest :)

August 1, 2013

Cannoli Cupcakes

Cannoli Cupcakes


~Vanilla Cupcakes~
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

~Chocolate Chip Cannoli Cream~
16 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese (strained in a cheesecloth overnight)
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

~Fresh Whipped Cream~***
2 cups heavy cream
1 package white chocolate or dark chocolate pudding mix

***Note: This is what I used but not what I recommend. Once it was mixed it had a consistency of a thick mousse and it was so incredibly hard to pipe. I would never use this portion of the recipe again.

Mini semisweet chocolate chips

What To Do:

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
Add the oil and vanilla; mix batter.
Add sour cream; mix batter.
Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well blended.

Preheat your oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with 24 liners.
Fill each well until 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes.
Cool completely.

Next, make your cannoli cream filling: Beat ricotta, confectioners sugar and vanilla in a bowl on medium until light and fluffy. Stir in chocolate chips.

To make the whipped cream mix the heavy cream and pudding mix until cream is whipped. Again, take note that I did not like this portion of the recipe. It tasted ok, but it was a pain to get it onto my cupcakes. When I do this recipe again, I would try to find a white chocolate or dark chocolate whipped frosting recipe.

To assemble your cupcakes: Use a small knife or a cupcake corer to remove a small cylinder from the center of the cupcake. Fill with cannoli cream. From your cylinder cut the top-most portion off and use that to top off the cannoli cream center.

Pipe your whipped cream (or whichever frosting you choose). Top with chocolate chips.

Even though I didn't like the frosting, I did like these cupcakes. They tasted incredibly rich and I was told by geniune Italians that they tasted like Cannoli's. They were easy to make, too, so give them a shot. Enjoy!