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"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure.

In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude."

~ Julia Child

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fancy Pupcakes!

Ah the quest for the perfect cupcake, or pupcake as my 3 year old niece Allyson calls them. Is there more that a Betty Crocker cake mix? Could it be that a little cake nested in a fun fluted paper cup could have the sophistication of a fine cake found in those boutique bakeries? Okay come on now 5 bucks for a flippin cupcake that tastes like a dust ball? There has to be more. I had no idea that I would become obsessed with the quest for the perfect cupcake until I read the May/June 2010 Cook's Illustrated . Those folks at America's Test Kitchen seem to know what they are talking about. They have come up with this amazing little ball of chocolate joy they like to call:

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling


    Ganache Filling:
    2 oz bittersweet chocolate (Callebaut Intense Dark chocolate L-60-40NV or Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar) Personally I used the 70% Trader Joe's Chocolate and It was amazing!
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    1 tbs confectioners' sugar

    Chocolate Cupcake:

      3 oz bittersweet chocolate (Callebaut Intense Dark chocolate L-60-40NV or Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar)
      1/3 cup (1oz) Dutch-processed cocoa
      3/4 cup hot coffee
      3/4 cup (4 1/8oz) bread flour
      3/4 cup (5 1/4oz) granulated sugar
      1/2 tsp table salt
      1/2 tsp baking soda
      6 tbs vegetable oil
      2 large eggs
      2 tsp white vinegar
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      Creamy Chocolate Frosting:
      1/3 cup (2 1/3oz) granulated sugar
      2 large egg whites
      Pinch table salt
      12 tbs (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1 tbs pieces
      6 oz bittersweet chocolate (Callebaut Intense Dark chocolate L-60-40NV or Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar), melted and cooled. Cool chocolate to between 85 to 100 degrees before adding to frosting.
      1/2 tsp vanilla extract

      1. Ganache Filling:
      2. Place chocolate, cream, and confectioners' sugar in medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave until mixture is warm to touch., 20-30 seconds. Whisk until smooth; transfer bowl to refrigerator and let stand until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.
      3. Cupcakes:
      4. adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan (cups have 1/2 cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.
      5. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
      6. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
      7. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
      8. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each cupcake.
      9. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17-19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
      Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.

      Frost and serve.

      Now for the Frosting.

      This was the biggest pain in the ass part of making these amazing cupcakes. It takes forever to make the perfect meringue buttercream. You Can Do It!

      1/2 cup granulated sugar
      2 large egg whites
      1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
      1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

      Combine sugar, egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, place bowl in a pan of simmering water and get ready to whisk gently for what will seem like forever until it is slightly thickened, foamy and reaches 150 on an instant read thermometer.

      Place bowl in stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat mixture on medium speed until it reaches the consistency of shaving cream. Again this will take a while be prepared to stand there for a bit. Or walk away it is a stand mixer after all.

      Add butter one piece at a time. Once all the butter is added add the vanilla. Mix until light and fluffy. This will seem like forever too! You can do it! :)

      Now this is where my obsession with cupcakes began! Here are some photos of my latest creations! Enjoy!!!

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