Monday, April 23, 2007

Almond Cupcakes with Brandy and Vanilla Buttercream


1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, chopped
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon Mexican Vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 Tablespoon of Brandy
tiny pinch of cardamon

Preheat oven to 325° With an electric mixer with a paddle attachment,combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix on low speed until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl down with a spatula as it mixes. Add butter pieces, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a small bowl mix together the liquids, eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extract. Whisk together eggs, Set your mixer down to medium and add wet ingredients in 4 equal parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated.  But do NOT overbeat!.

Divide batter evenly among two cupcake pans, using the little paper liners if you like.  Fill each about 2/3 full,. Bake, rotating pan halfway 17-21 minutes, inserting a toothpick into one in the center at about 19 minutes.  If it comes out clean, it's done 

Unless you have a really big oven, you'll have to cook one pan at a time to do the turning, but it does make them cook nice and evenly.

Frosting

1 cup salted butter, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

In a bowl  with a mixer, combine butter and sugar. If you don't have salted butter add a couple of pinches of salt (just shy of 1/8 tsp).  Beat on high for an additional minute, then add whipping cream and continue beating for 4 minutes (you want 5 minutes total whipping time).  Add another 1/2 Tablespoon whipped cream if necessary to get the consistency you want to pipe or spread. (I use a Wilton 1M pipe tip).

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramal Buttercream Cupcake


Cupcake Ingredients: 
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar
 1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus two teaspoons dark chocolate cocoa powder (I like a half and half mixture of Hershey's Special Dark and Scharfeenberger unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup  strong coffee,cooled to room temperature

Have your eggs and butter out room temperature before using.

Mix milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) in a small bowl and set aside. 

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after you add each. Stir in vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Mix the 1/2 cup coffee into the sour milk mixture..  Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture in small amounts, alternating with the milk/coffee mixture, beating well after adding each.

Full paper lined cupcake tins 2/3 full and bake at 375 for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 before removing, but don't let them cool in pans or the bottoms will be soggy.  Cool completely before frosting.


Vanilla Buttercram Frosting

1 cup salted butter, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

In a bowl  with a mixer, combine butter and sugar. If you don't have salted butter add a couple of pinches of salt (just shy of 1/8 tsp).  Beat on high for an additional minute, then add whipping cream and continue beating for 4 minutes (you want 5 minutes total whipping time).  Add another 1/2 Tablespoon whipped cream if necessary to get the consistency you want to pipe or spread. (if you want super  big mounds of frosting on your cupcake, double the recipe).

Spread the frosting with a knife or put the frosting in an incing bag (or make your own with a gallon ziplock type back with a little hole down in one corner you can put the frosting tip down into, I use a Wilton Extra  Large Round tip to make big mounds o'frosting.

Salted Caramel  - there are all kinds of recipes on the net to make this, I don't have one that is my own.  Honestly though, I usually just use the jarred kind from Williams Sonoma, as I get a gift certificate for them for Christmas from a family member yearly.  Just drizzle a little over the frosting with a small spoon before serving. You could also use inexpensive jarred caramel ice cream topping and add sea salt to taste.