Fact: every dessert is better in cupcake form.
Heck, lets just broaden that statement to say that anything is better in cupcake form.
This past Friday was my roommate Lindsay’s birthday.
Since we haven’t been living together for very long, and because we are both lovers of good dessert, I wanted to make her something special for her birthday. She requested either ice cream cake or tiramisu. I settled on the latter, having already conquered the frozen fates when I made my homemade ice cream cake back in February.
Obviously I couldn’t just make any old tiramisu. Silly you for thinking so.
Martha Stewart’s website has a bounty of creative cupcake ideas, albeit ones that are fairly complicated (to the point that the recipes come accompanied by a tutorial video – yikes!). It was here that I discovered the recipe for these.
I have never used so many kitchen do-dads to make one batch of cupcakes. I was boiling, brewing, sifting, melting and brushing… It all worked out though. What can I say? #justcallmemartha
Having just moved into a new house with many left behind/forgotten baking utensils, I had to get creative with my methods. For example, I used a cheese grater from IKEA as a sieve and a salad-bowl-in-a-pot as a double boiler. I try to be resourceful, I really do.
The outcome of much kitchen labour was a batch of 15 pretty awesome cupcakes. The cake was spongey and light (although a tad burnt on the bottom, woops). The chocolate-marsala sauce that was brushed over the top tasted delicious (although, as Matt pointed out, it tasted a little like some sort of sushi sauce, but he is just crazy). Finally, the pièce de résistance was the mascarpone cheese icing that was so light but so rich.
ONE more thing: I splurged and bought vanilla beans for these cupcakes! A real life vanilla bean (actually, two). It cost me an arm and a leg (AKA $7), but it was totally worth it.
PS (I lied with the one more thing): can you tell that I’ve been making a conscious effort to create the “setting” for my food photos? I’ve noticed that most food blogs feature a bunch of random background items (emphasized by their sweet cameras and actual ability to achieve some sort of bokeh), so I thought I’d try doing the same thing. These shots featured Lindsay’s container of cocoa and a silk scarf I bought at a garage sale.
Recipe: Tiramisu cupcakes
From Martha Stewart [dot] com
-1 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
– 3/4 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/4 cup milk
– 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
– 4 tbsps (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
– 3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
– 2 tbsp marsala wine
– 1/4 cup sugar
Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
– 1 cup whipping cream
– 8 ounces (about a 225 grams) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
– 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.
Alright, ready for the longest list of cake-making instructions ever/the instructions on how to put your cupcakes together? It was a lot of work, but totally worth it!
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve (cheese grater, in my case) into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.
Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake and dance, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used (they will look kind of soggy, don’t worry). Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.
Makes 14-ish cupcakes.