Thursday, February 26, 2009

Vanilla Creme Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Frosting

Long time no see!

I've returned from a hiatus of sorts with a newwww layout (thank you Jeff for LOTS of help with the coding!) and a ton of back up recipes. Oh, yes, and a foodbuzz featured publisher badge.

I believe the last thing I made was chocolate chip cookies. I admit I haven't been making as many savory dishes (uhh, I've made a few 'egg-and-bacon/ham-and-cheese-on-an-english-muffin sandwiches and lots of boxed macaroni and cheese or pasta). Tsk, tsk, me!

That said, for Valentine's Day I decided to make a bunch of cupcakes for my friends, and also for the studios that allow me to visit them or kidnap my boyfriend.

I think they turned out super cute. Not only that, they were super tasty! The strawberry frosting was a pain in the ass, having decided to use fresh strawberries and the liquid + the butter fat = not so good with the combining. I had to use a ton of sugar, but in the end it worked out. :) The chocolates on top are dove hearts dusted with pink lustre dust, ahhh!!!

The actual chocolate cupcake was super good!! Unfortunately we had them the day after I made them so it dried them out a bit. But that didn't stop South Park people from eating ALL BUT ONE of the mini cupcakes I sent with Jeff to work. Nor did it stop the kids at Shadow Machine from eating a bunch of the ones I brought over. :) It was a grand old time.

The little ones are following the momma cupcakes....

I obviously took a lot of photos of these.... all in all I made something like 72 mini cupcakes and 7 regular sized ones. I actually made the recipe (below) and then half to make sure I had enough....
There ended up being a bit too many. I've used the cupcake, leftover icing, and some of the leftover cheese filling stuff to make little chocolate truffles that are delicious but I accidentally coated them with too soft of a ganache so they melt like magic. But they're the most delicious thing ever and I will take pictures of them soon as well with directions.
I also have a banana cake that I made, and maybe something else... I'll have to check my camera. :) I'm very excited to start posting again.

I believe I might do more recipes that reflect my current economic standing. I'm tempted to do pigs in a blanket, Jeff makes those a lot (they're amazing, even if they are... ahem, cheap eats), but I'm not sure what yet. When I don't have income I tend to eat a lot of PBJs and cereal, haha.

Expect more updates from me soon!

Vanilla creme filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Frosting


2 and 1/8 cups cake flour
2 cups fine sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dark rum
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and cinnamon. Mix the vanilla extract, half and half, rum, and milk all together in a small bowl
Cream together the sugar and the butter until light in color and fluffy and smooth. Add the cocoa powder and allow to mix thoroughly. Once combined, add each egg, one at a time.
Add approximately half of the flour, making sure it mixes in thoroughly and adding it slowly. Once combined, mix in half the liquids mixture. Repeat with the rest of the flour and the rest of the liquid.
Measure out into cupcake pans. Using a spoon for mini cupcakes, or a small ice cream scoop for large ones works well. Bake regular sized cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, and small cupcakes 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.

Vanilla Cream Frosting

4 oz mascapone cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla paste
about 1 1/2 cups powder sugar
about 1/8 cup half and half
pinch of kosher salt

Combine all in a medium bowl and beat thoroughly. Adjust liquids and sugar as needed, the finished result should resemble a soft, fluffy cream that isn't runny and can be piped out of a piping bag. Refrigerate until use.

To fill cupcakes:

Use a melon baller (for large cupcakes) or a very tiny spoon (I have measuring spoons that say "dash, pinch, and smidgeon I believe, I used the 'dash' size" for the small cupcakes) to remove a chunk from the center of the cupcake. Reserve the ball, cutting off the bottom portion of it to just leave the crust. Using a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the tip cut off, squeeze the cream into each cupcake as desired. Top with reserved crust.

Fresh Strawberry Frosting

3/4 cup chopped strawberries
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon half-and-half
about 1 to 2 pounds of confectioners sugar, maybe more.

Cream the butter until soft and fluffy. Mix in the kosher salt, and add the strawberries. This will leave a runny gooey mess on your hands. Add the vanilla extract and mix thoroughyl. Mix in the confectioners sugar, slowly, 1/2-3/4 of a cup at a time, until the mixture is thick and pulls together. Add the half and half to smooth it out, and whip until fluffy. Refridgerate for 15 minutes.

Scoop frosting into a piping back or ziplock and cover strawberries. Top with a chocolate or a strawberry cut in half.

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