Saturday, February 23, 2013
iced coffee chocolate cupcakes.
My life currently, can probably be likened to one of those bungee jumping thingamajigs. I'm strapped to the seat with nowhere to run. The machine starts and I'm flung into the air, seconds later I'm plunging downwards like my life doesn't matter. Before I know it, I'm sailing through the sky again. It's been a whirlwind of a week, with school starting and all. I'm not even close to the worst case scenario but I barely have time to breathe! Soon after I toss a task aside, it's not long before embark on yet another activity. The little pockets of time I have for blog-hopping are not just stolen, they are pilfered. Needless to say, I have hardly enough time to bake. But I will make time for it. Because above homework, my life is dictated by my love of sugar. And I will gladly submit to it.
For reasons unfathomable, my tastebuds have been clamoring for coffee. That made singling out a recipe so much easier from my endless to-bake list. Eventually, I settled on a recipe for an iced coffee chocolate layer cake and turned it into cupcakes instead.
The cupcakes turned out pretty well except for the cake portion, aesthetically and taste-wise. Okay, maybe the looks part was my fault because I kind of got over-zealous and over-filled the cupcake cases so the batter erupted and overflowed and looked like volcanoes for most. I had to pinch away the excess. And then I squirreled away the bits of cake to be savored at a later time. Baker's treat. Well I guess the appearance of the cupcakes then don't quite matter anyway since they were going to be filled and frosted. As for their flavour, I would have liked to detect a stronger coffee nuance because honestly, I couldn't tell if they were meant to be chocolaty or coffee-ish or even a mix of both. The two flavours cancelled each other out and resulted in a pretty bland cupcake.
Displeasures aside, I absolutely adore the coffee cream filling. It isn't power-packed with coffee punch but just a bit to complement the egginess and butteriness of the pastry cream. Tastes like buttery coffee toffee. Great balance of flavours. The chocolate frosting didn't do so bad itself either. Sure it was a little gritty because of the icing sugar but the chocolaty fudginess more than made up for it.
Overall, it's a pretty good recipe save for the cake part. By the way, I have two packets of solely teal/blue M&Ms and I'm stumped as to how to best show them off. Any decorating ideas?
Iced Coffee Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Baking by Flavour
For the coffee cream filling:
1/3 cup light cream + 2 tsp heavy cream
1/6 tsp instant espresso powder
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp cornstarch
22g + 1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
1/6 tsp vanilla extract
3g butter, softened
Bring the cream and instant espresso powder to a simmer in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk the egg, cornstarch, sugar and salt until combined.
Slowly stream in the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a boil, still whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Allow the mixture to bubble on a low boil for 1 minute before taking the pan off the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and softened butter. Transfer pastry cream to a bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the cream. Cool. Refrigerate the pastry cream for at least 6 hours before using. It can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
For the cake:
7/12 cup (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp) all-purpose flour
1/6 (2 tbsp + 2 tsp) cup cake flour
5/12 tsp baking powder
1/12 tsp baking soda
1/12 tsp salt
46g butter, softened
4/9 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
2/3 tsp vanilla extract
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee, cold
2 tsp milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with 6 cupcake liners.
Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a bowl.
Cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar in 2 additions, beating to incorporate after each addition. After the last addition, beat until pale and fluffy. Add the egg in 3 portions, blending until each portion is incorporated before adding the next. Stir in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate.
Alternately add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the cold coffee in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in the milk.
Divide the batter amongst the cupcake liners and bake for about 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out mostly clean, with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cupcakes cool completely before filling and frosting.
For the frosting:
33g butter, softened
1 2/3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
large pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 4/9 cups + 2 tsp unsifted icing sugar, sifted
Beat the butter, chocolate, salt and vanilla extract together. Stir in half of the icing sugar until combined, then all of the milk. Blend in the remaining icing sugar until smooth then beat until lightened. Use frosting immediately or refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes until it has thickened and firmed up slightly if it is too runny.
To assemble the cupcakes: Using a knife, core out the middle of a cupcake and fill with the coffee cream. Frost with chocolate frosting. Repeat for the remaining cupcakes.