Innovate ona cupcake. That is Julie´s, from Willow Bird Baking, challenge for this week. Isat there thinking how not up my alley this was. Just any cupcake? How do Inarrow it down? Then she added baking according to the season we´re on now.
I´m happyto be having a few incredible spring days. After a lot of shower and humiddays, we´re having clear skies, perfect weather, the kind of days you want tolast and last. Really. That´s the feeling.
I´m nocupcake baker. I´m all for bundt and layer cakes. So this was a real challenge.Lemon immediately came to mind, but then what? Fresh blueberries, that arepopping up plump and dark, with the first sweetness in them. Not a new flavorcombination idea, but the fresh berries in the frosting looks so pretty. I mean,cupcakes have to have some sort of prettiness to them.
The cakepart has some white chocolate, which really makes them moist and deepenstremendously the flavor of vanilla.
Ever sinceI closed the coffee shop, I suddenly realized that the more I bake the moreeverything will just lie around the house, taking up counter space and evenliving room space. So I´m starting a list of happy takers of baked goods. Oneof those recepients, until they get sick of eating sweet things or put on a fewpounds and start seeing me as the evil baker, is one of my weavers, you know, from my now only job. So I made half the batch the way you see them here, andthe other half filled with dulce de leche and topped with melted chocolate. Ididn´t photograph them because they are ridiculously simple, not even a ganacheinvolved. But it goes to show that this cake recipe admits endless flavor combinations.
The freshblueberries in the frosting are made by processing them and adding a tablespoonof lemon juice and water. If you have frozen blueberries, you don´t need to addliquid, the ice will melt and be perfect. And they give the cream cheesefrosting the most wonderful lilac color.
I like thisfrosting, I really do. Can´t have a carrot cake without it. But in cupcakes ittends to be too sweet. It´s all about the ratio of cake and frosting. That´swhy I don´t particularly eat cupcakes. But the lemon curd cuts nicely throughit and the extra blueberry puree spooned on top, adds another sharp and freshnote.
I thinkthey are perfect for spring. And my happy testers agreed.
WHITE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
from The Buttercup Bake Shop Cookbook, byJennifer Appel
Ingredients½ cupchopped white chocolate
½ cup water
2 ½ cupsall purpose flour
1 teaspoonbaking soda
1 cupunsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cupssugar
4 largeeggs, separated
1 cupbuttermilk or plain yogurt
1 teaspoonvanilla extract
Preheatoven to 350ºF. Line 24 muffin molds with paper cups.
Over a potwith boiling water, melt chocolate and water. Reserve.
In a largebowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Gradually add sugar andbeat until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, a mix until wellcombined. Add vanilla.
Add dryingredients in three additions, alternating with buttermilk in two additions.
In a cleanbowl with dry, clean beaters, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. With aspatula add to the cake batter in two or three additions, mixing gently untilno streaks of white remain.
Carefullyfill muffin cups to ¾ of their capacity.
Bake forabout 30 minutes, until springy and tester inserted comes out clean.
Let coolcompletely on wire rack.
from Flour, by Joanne Chang
1 cup freshlemon juice
¼ cupunsalted butter
2 Tbs cream
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
A few dropsvanilla extract
In a mediumheavy saucepan, heat lemon juice, butter and cream, just below the boiling point.
In a largebowl mix to blend eggs, yolks and sugar. Gradually add hot lemon mixture,mixing well. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and stir constantly overmedium heat until it thickens and leaves a path in the back of the spoon. Becareful not to burn the bottom.
Remove fromheat, add salt and vanilla and let cool. Cover and refrigerate. It keeps for 5days refrigerated.
BLUEBERRY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Note: if using frozen blueberries omit thewater
1 cup freshor frozen blueberries
1 Tbs water
1 Tbs lemonjuice
1 cupbutter, at room tº
2 cupscream cheese, at room tº
3 to 4 cupsconfectioners´ sugar
Processblueberries with water and lemon juice. It will take a few minutes.
In a largebowl mix butter and cream cheese. Beat until very smooth. Add 10 Tbs of theblueberry purée.
Add 1 cupsugar and beat well. Keep adding confectioners´ sugar, ½ cup at a time untilthe frosting is thick enough to spread. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
To assemble cupcakes:
With asmall spoon or melon ball scoop, take out a piece of cake the size of a smallwalnut. Discard. Pipe or spoon some of the cold lemon curd, filling the holecompletely.
Using apiping bag with a wide, plain tip, pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes.
To serve,spoon some extra blueberry purée on top of the frosting.