Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mocha Cupcakes(AKA I Need a Drink After This)

This was one tough cookie- I mean cupcake. I'd been eyeing up the Martha Stewart Cupcake recipe book for sometime and I'd finally bought it. I couldn't wait to dive in - just looking at the pictures made my mouth water.  I finally decided on trying my hand at mocha cupcakes with coffee icing.  They sounded and looked divine. I have to admit I am not much of a baker, which added extra stress to this task. The cupcakes themselves, even though the mixing was a bit time consuming, came out absolutely perfect. So perfect in fact, I ate four of them before the frosting went on.  Now on to the thorn in my side: the icing.
I usually use the kind of icing that comes from a can, so again, this was new for me.My Kitchen Aid mixer is on the fritz, so I had to use a hand mixer. I made the mistake of using carton egg whites, which never peaked and my corn syrup/water/sugar mix kept sticking to the bottom of the pan no matter how much I stirred.  I dumped the first batch ended up in the garbage.On a second attempt, a used regular egg whites, which peaked better, but the sugar mix still didn't turn out right.  I went on to plan B, which was a home made frosting mix, passed down from Dori, my husband's grandmother. The frosting came out amazing. I coudln't find my piping bags or decorating tips, so I had to use a Ziploc bag, with the corner cut off. I garnishe with chocolate sprinkles and used a potato peeler to created chocolate curls and shavings from sweet chocolate squares. I will try the MS frosting recipe again - I am shaken, but not stirred. Happy Baking!

Martha Stewart's Mocha Cupcakes
2 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
3/4 cup freshly brewed espresso
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (not instant coffee)

Seven-Minute Frosting (coffee variation)
For the frosting
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tablespoons pure coffee extract

Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Line standard muffin tins with paper line

Whisk together cake flour and cocoa. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter until smooth and light. Add the brown sugar and eggs; beat until fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add the vanilla, baking soda, and salt; beat to combine thoroughly.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of sour cream, and beating until just combined after each. Mix together brewed espresso and espresso powder; add to batter, and beat until smooth.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 22 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely be¬fore removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, use a small spoon to dollop cupcakes generously with frosting and make decorative peaks. Garnish each cupcake with a coffee bean before serving.

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230°F (110°C).
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
 As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230°F (110°C), remove from the heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons coffee extract, whisking to combine. Use immediately.

Dori's Famous Mocha Frosting
3 cups Confectioner's Sugar
2 TBSP cocoa powder
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 TBSP strong brewed coffee
1/4 teasponn of vanilla
1 square of melted chocolate
Mix the dry ingredients together; mix the rest in a separate bowl. Combine all ingredients and mix with a stand mixer or hand blender until completely creamy and blended.

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