Sunday, August 31, 2014

Marble Cupcakes + Whipped Cream + Whipped Ganache

My father, recently, approached me with the wish for a type of frosting lighter then buttercream. He didn't like the amount of butter required when one makes buttercream to top cupcakes. Originally, I believed it couldn't be done. However, after a few short minutes on Google, I found a whipped cream recipe and one for ganache. I decided they were to perfect substitutes to try and top the cupcakes with.

Also by request of my father, I made marble cupcakes to pair with the frosting. Marble used to be my favorite type of cupcake, before I discovered red velvet, and I had never thought to make it in cupcake form. Granted, I failed abysmally at taking photos throughout the process, so this will mainly be description.

I combined two different recipes to make the marble cupcakes. One was a recipe I had used previously to make chocolate chip cupcakes, and another provided me with the proper way to use the batter to make the chocolate portion.

First, you have to preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then, in a separate bowl, measure out 1 1/2 cups of plain flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoons of salt. Then, in a larger bowl, cream a softened stick of unsalted butter and 1 cup of sugar until it is light and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes). The original recipe asked for you to use a paddle attachment in a stand mixer, but our stand mixer is quite heavy. As such, I just used a hand mixer and creamed the two together for about a minute longer then recommended, since I had to stop and scrape down the bowl occasionally (it was a bit too wide to do something like this).

Next, you have to beat in two eggs, one at a time. Then comes in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and beat everything until it's lovely and smooth.

Now comes the flour mixture and 2/3 cups of milk. Beat in about half of the flour, and half of the milk. Then the other half of both groups. Now you need to add aspects of another recipe. The only bit of that recipe that I used was how much cocoa powder to add. Until the point where you add the cocoa powder, you have simply made vanilla cupcake batter. You can separate that into 12 cupcake tins and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating halfway through.

However, if you want to be fancy, you can attempt marble cupcakes. Take out between 1/3 and 1/2 of the vanilla batter and put it in a separate bowl. Then, beat in (I just stirred) 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder until combined. Add a splash of milk if you think the batter is a pit too thick. I had a few small clumps of cocoa powder when I was finished, but they were fine once the cupcakes had baked.

What I would recommend doing here is putting a little vanilla batter, then a little chocolate, and then another layer of the two (switching sides for the second one) in order to ensure the two batters can be equally marbled. Take a butter knife and swirl until it looks pretty, and then you're done. What I did was just place a lump of vanilla and then chocolate on top, meaning it didn't have the marbled effect I was looking for. If I were to do it again, I would definitely change the method I marbled the batter.

Now, just bake them for 18-20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Take them out when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Hopefully, you now have marbled cupcakes. Let them cool for 5 minutes before moving the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

After those have cooled, it's on to the frosting. Start by making a simple ganache. I used 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped finely and placed in a ramekin. Microwave 1/2 cup of heavy cream (I used heavy whipping cream) until simmering (that amount took about 1 minute). Be certain to not let the cream boil over, so use quite a large container.

Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let that sit for 2 minutes. Use that time to marvel at the cupcakes you previously made. Once those 2 minutes have passed, stir the cream and chocolate until smooth. It will look as though it's never going to come together, and that's expected. Don't worry; it will and you'll be left with a beautifully rich chocolate ganache.

What I did then was core 6 of the cupcakes, saving both the crumbs and the top. Next, I filled the hole I'd made with the still liquid ganache and covered the exposed chocolate with the top from each respective cupcake. Save the rest of the crumbs, as they'll be used for decoration later.

Now you have to let that sit for 2 hours so that it can come to room temperature. Once you've done that, you can move onto the whipped cream.

Before you even start the whipped cream, be certain to place the metal bowl and metal whisk in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes (15-20). Then, take them out, and measure out 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Put both the sugar and the cream into the bowl. Now you just have to whisk the entire thing until the cream has stiff peaks. It doesn't take long, just a few minutes, and then you'll have whipped cream.

Now it's time to decorate the cupcakes. If you want, you can cover some with the now room temperature ganache, but be certain to leave some. If you have the original amount of ganache, take a little less then half of the whipped cream and fold it in, creating a mousse. You can always add more whipped cream, so start with a little and add to your liking.

Take the whipped cream and mousse, and decorate the cupcakes as you will. I took large spoonfuls of each and placed them in the center of the cupcakes, taking care to cover up the evidence of how you'd cored some of the cupcakes. The ones that you did core, sprinkle some of the crumbs you had saved from earlier in order to identify them out of all of the others.

And, tada! You've made marble cupcakes topped with whipped cream and chocolate mouse, with some having a hidden ganache surprise. I'll add pictures soon, once I've gotten them off the camera.

Here's a link to the original vanilla cupcake, and the link for the marble cupcake one I stole aspects from.

Here's a link to the whipped cream recipe, and one for the chocolate ganache.

Sprinkles of Sugar from,
Your Friendly Teenage Baker

Marble Cupcake ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cups milk + splashes of milk as needed
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Ganache ingredients:
  • 4 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) heavy whipping cream
Whipped Cream ingredients:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes + Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

As a companion to the previously made s'mores cupcakes, for the family members who are picky about their cupcake flavors, I made our family favorite of Hersey chocolate cupcakes. For frosting, I decided to try a recipe for vanilla buttercream.

As the s'mores cupcakes were baking, I turned my attention to the chocolate ones. The original recipe created 24 cupcakes, but I didn't need nearly that many, so I halfed the recipe, meaning the ingredient amounts in the pictures will be half to what they actually would be in the original recipe. Just as with the s'mores cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups of sugar, 1 3/4 cups of flour, 3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Unmixed dry ingredients
All nicely mixed and glorious
After that, you need to add 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup vegetable (I used canola) oil and 2 teaspoons of vanilla to your dry ingredients. Beat that with a mixer (sadly, I had to use a hand-held mixer this time) for 2 minutes.
I'm not certain if this photo is just the previous step or the next one, but just use it for both just in case
The last step of creating the batter is to mix in 1 cup of boiling water. The batter will be quite thin afterwards, don't worry.
Finished thin batter; how fun!
Separate the batter, hopefully cleanly, into the 12 prepared muffin tins. If it wasn't clean, I would recommend that you just clean up the tin with a tissue to ensure that you don't have any little burned cupcake bits.
I am quite a messy person 
So clean, so beautiful
Nicely divided cupcake batter
Next, put the cupcakes into the oven for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the largest one comes out clean. Then, just take them out of the oven and cool inside the tin for 10 minutes. Take them out from the tin after that and let them cool on wire racks.
Lovely baked cupcakes
Such a nice close up shot of the cupcakes
After the cupcakes were completed, now it was time to make the vanilla buttercream. I used a recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen, which I found using some googling. Previously, when I've made vanilla buttercream, I hadn't whipped it enough which meant that, while it still tasted good, the sugar and the butter seperated after being put and removed from the fridge.
To start this recipe, which I actually succeeded in making, you will need to beat 1 stick of room temperature butter using a whisk attachment for 1 minute. I would recommend chipping your butter into smaller pieces before you start, as I did after that first picture.
Failing with my first attempt to whisk butter
Look at that beautiful successfully whipped butter
Then, you need to mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with the butter to combine. Be careful, as powdered sugar is known to burst up in a cloud when you try to mix it. That's why I was thankful for such a large bowl!
Mid whisking of the powdered sugar and butter
Add 1 tablespoon of milk and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat that on a higher speed for 4-5 minutes, or until the frosting is "impossibly light and fluffy". Be certain to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Finished tasty frosting
Look at those nice peaks
Once I had finished the frosting, I decided to try piping little swirls on top of the cupcakes. There wasn't enough frosting for the classic cupcake swirls, but I was able to do adorable little swirls using a sandwich bag with a tip cut off the end. It was my first time piping on cupcakes, but it was quite a lot of fun and I liked the finished picture.
Notice the lovely rainbow nailpolish?
Finally, I added a piece of Hershey's chocolate to the top of each of the cupcakes to add even more chocolate to them. Two of the swirls didn't succeed, so I just spread them flat. And the cupcakes were finished!
What a lovely little swirl
What a lovely collection of cupcakes
The cupcakes were lovely and moist (I only had half of one). There were many compliments on them, as well as on the frosting. We had to refrigerate some of the frosting for a later use, and it defrosted nicely. The cupcakes themselves freeze and defrost beautifully, so they're fine to save for over a week before you actually want to use them. I would recommend making the frosting on the day you're going to eat them, as it was safer to do that rather then trying to let it sit out or microwave.
Here's the link to the recipe for the chocolate cupcakes, but I'll include the ingredient list below.
And here's the link to the frosting recipe. The link includes a lot of other recipes for different types of buttercream, so I recommend you check it out. But the ingredients for the vanilla will be below.

Spoonful of Sugar from,
Your Friendly Teenage Baker

Hershey's chocolate cake ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable (I used canola) oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
Vanilla buttercream ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla