Monday, January 10, 2011

Filled Chocolate Cupcakes - The recipes - revised January 2011

This is an update to this recipe which was put up in September. I was making them again recently (January '11), and realized that there was an error in the ingredient section (probably, because as you can tell from the following text and photo, I had trouble reading my soiled recipe copy).  The gram weight of flour was correct, but the corresponding cup measurements were not.  If you have printed out this recipe, please check the updated ingredients. 

In addition to this, if you read the prior post, you might have noticed that I wasn't happy with how tender the cupcakes were.  This time around, I did some more experimenting and found that using bread flour instead of all-purpose made for a sturdier cupcake, and, I added another egg.  This made the cupcakes firmer, also helped them rise higher and allowed me to get the cupcakes out of the liners more easily.

The following is the original post, with the appropriate corrections made to the ingredients.
I've been trying to get this post done since the summer, but I had to grab a few minutes late at night to write up my recipes, because the days were filled with BCC Rally auction stuff.  Now that the auction is over, I finally have time to post.  But when I go back to see what I've done, I can hardly read the recipe because it's covered in chocolate! 

That's why you need a CD-rom cookbook (mine, of course).  Because instead of having a cookbook that's covered in chocolate, you can have a few recipe pages that you've printed off, and when you're done, you toss the messy things out!  But now, on to the recipe!

The Cake

The first time I made the cupcakes with Veronica and Jasmine (see Filled Chocolate Cupcakes, Part 1, I used a light version of my Chocolate Layer Cake.  They were delicious, but a bit too tender.  I think they were so tender because we used the maximum amount of milk (3/4 cup) and because we mixed them by hand.  When I made them again, I used just a bit more than the minimum, and they came out much better - a little denser, which held up better for a pick-up type cake.

Makes 42 mini-cupcakes or 12 regular cupcakes

2-1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon oil

1 cup minus 1-1/2 TB (122 grams) bread flour, measured by fluffing, scooping and levelling*
2 tablespoons  unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and at room temperature
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature

1/3 cup cup milk (skim or regular), room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line muffin pans with liners.
You can see that they sort of pop up and don't stay down in the cups.  Just give them a good shove from above, and let the sides pleat.  When you add the batter, they will stay down.
Place the chopped chocolate and the oil in a microwave-safe container. Micro-cook on medium (#5) for 1 minute. Stir and then reheat in 15-second increments on medium power until the chocolate is melted.

In a small bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set it aside.

In a mixer bowl, combine the butter and both sugars. Beat on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is uniformly smooth and creamy, and well aerated. Beat in vanilla. Add the eggs, beating for 1 minute after the addition of each egg, and scraping down the bowl a few times.

On low, beat in the sour cream and chocolate. On low, in 4 additions, beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. (This is actually easier to do by hand, because the batter doesn't tend to separate when you do it by hand, but it does make the cake more tender when done by hand).

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, using one spoon to scoop up the batter and the other to push the batter into the pans. Fill the cups 1/2 to 3/4 full.

Bake for 8-11 minutes for the minis, or 15-20 minutes for the full-size cupcakes, until a tester comes out clean. Set the tins on a wire rack until the cupcakes are cool, and then remove them from the pans.

The Filling
I used whipped cream to fill the cherry-topped cupcakes, and Simple Vanilla Buttercream for the ones that look like Hostess cupcakes.  The cream was easier to make, but the buttercream tasted far better. I've been making my buttercream a little thicker and sweeter lately, by adding a little powdered sugar to my basic recipe, but for this I wanted a filling that was very creamy - again so that it would be reminiscent of Hostess cupcakes. To do this, I used less than half of the powdered sugar as usual.

It’s ultra important that the butter be at the right temperature for this recipe to work, AND THE ROOM!  If the room is too hot, the buttercream will never form.  The room should be no warmer than 74 degrees - and colder is even better.

To get the butter the right temperature, cut it into tablespoons and let it stand on a cutting board until barely soft. Using your thumb, push down on each pat to flatten it into the board (it will still be very firm, and will split when you press down on it). In 3-5 minutes the butter should be ready. If you press down on it with your thumb, it should yield readily, but should not be soft and melty. If the butter is a little firm, it can always be beaten a little bit more, but if too soft, you’ll have to refrigerate it, and start over. I always aim for a little bit harder, rather than too soft.

2-1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 pound jar Marshmallow Fluff (this is a natural product containing only eggs, corn syrup and flavoring - so don't use another brand unless you check the ingredients)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons corn syrup, to taste
2-3 tablespoons milk to soften the buttercream, optional

Now that the butter is at the proper temperature, scrape the butter into a mixing bowl and beat it until creamy (1 or 2 minutes.) Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the powdered sugar until fluffy. Add half of the Fluff, and beat on medium high until blended. Add the remaining Fluff, and continue to beat, on medium-high, for 2-5 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy and light and no longer marshmallowy.
This is what it should look like.

If the buttercream, does not form after beating for 5 minutes, place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, and then try and beat it again. After the buttercream forms, beat in the vanilla, corn syrup and milk, to taste.

If you put a coupler in the pastry bag before filling it, you'll be able to try tips to find the one that works best with the size cupcake you are making.  The piece on the left goes into the pastry bag, and then the tip gets put on, and the nut, in the center, keeps the pastry tip tight.

Choose the tip that fits the size of the cupcake  (I used Magic Tip #8 for filling, and Wilton #21 star for filling)
Stick the tip into the bottom or top of the cupcake, depending on how you finish them (if you plan to add chocolate icing instead of having the frosting come out of the top, fill from the bottom, otherwise you will see the dimple where the frosting went in.  It's easier to fill them from the top.  For one thing, you don't have to take them out of the wrappers, which give some support to the cupcake so it doesn't split as you fill it.  You can also feel when the cupcake is filled with the buttercream, and can stop before the cupcake starts to split.

You can see they look great with nothing more than some frosting coming out the top.  But they're also fantastic, and  look like mini Hostess cupcakes if you frost them with chocolate icing and vanilla icing decoration.
Chocolate Icing
My notes didn't say if the following recipe is  the right amount to frost all of the cupcakes (sorry - I either post it now, or you have  to wait another year until I make them again!)

3/4 cup whipping cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons hot water

Heat the cream in a small microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir in the chocolate.  Let it stand for a minute and then stir.  If the chocolate isn't completely melted, heat in 10-second increments on power 5, stirring between each, until the chocolate melts completely and the mixture can be stirred into a smooth glaze.

Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Stir the chocolate into the powdered sugar. Stir in half of the hot water.  The mixture should be thin enough to fall off of the spoon in a steady stream.  If it isn't, add the remaining hot water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

Dip the cupcakes into the glaze.  Turn the cupcakes right side up and let the glaze firm up a little.

 In the photo below you can see that I filled the cupcakes from the top, and I wasn't able to get the top level, so that the chocolate dips down  in the center.  You can add a decorative design, as I have here, to cover the dip, or you can add the vanilla glaze

Vanilla Glaze
1 cup  powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons whipping cream

Sift the powdered sugar into a mixer bowl.  Whisk in the vanilla and the cream.  The glaze should be thick enough to pipe.  Add a little more sugar or cream, if necessary to get the proper texture.

For this amount of glaze, you'll need a very small piping bag.  You can make one out of a plastic storage or zip-top bag.  Cut the bag in half, horizontally.

Put the bag into a small glass, and then fill the bag

Hold the bag closed at the top, with the filled part resting in your palm, and your thumb and index finger holding the top (you can put a rubber band around the top if it is easier).  Gently squeeze the filling toward the tip.  Make a very tiny cut in the tip with scissors.  Pipe on the decoration, and then refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.  



Mary said...

These are incredibly tempting and you made it possible for everyone to have success with your recipes. Your instructions are great. I'm new to your blog and have just been browsing through some of your earlier entries. I really love the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Penny Wantuck Eisenberg said...

Thanks, Mary. More to come on the topic of cupcakes- See Baby Shower Desserts - coming soon!

Nicole Luciana-Epperson said...

So excited to try these delicious cupcakes! Thanks for posting!