28 March 2012

A Cupcake Adventure

 It all started when I had a cream filled cupcake at Walton's. I'm not a huge chocolate cake fan, but I couldn't resist the Hostess knock off. I knew it would be a million times better. After we tried them, I spent the next 24 hours obsessing over them. I bought two more and had CJ (official chocolate lover/snob) try one and she agreed. They were amazing. I set out to make my own. I asked the shop girl what ingredients in their cupcakes were "different." She came back and said that the chef said vegetable oil, buttermilk, and coffee.

I did some online research and decided to try Barefoot Contessa's chocolate cupcake. I knew the ganache would work, but her cake wasn't right. It was too light in color and not chocolatey enough. I loved them, but they didn't fit. Next I combined some ideas from Smitten Kitchen and my own concoction. I used a devil's food cake mix and subbed the water for buttermilk. I also added vanilla extract and some instant coffee powder. The cake wasn't as good as Walton's, but it was close enough.
I looked up a recipe for Pastry Cream (which is what Walton's uses) and made some. It was really easy and tastes like what donut shops put in eclairs (yum). I carved out holes in the cakes and waited for the cream to firm up in the fridge. I put an ice pack around it to help it along. I spooned in the filling and then put the cap back on the cupcake. I had some trouble with my ganache though. The first time around it was awesome. This time I used dark chocolate and maybe let it cook too long, but I was unable to dip them and get that smooth glossy look. So I just smeared it on and went for that homemade artsy look. I used a ziploc bag and piped some store bought vanilla icing for the squiggle! I think they look pretty good!

I brought my cupcakes to my Photography class Baked Goods Review Board. They loved them. They even filled out some responses for me. 

One of my favorite descriptions was from Aida, one of my coworkers. She should be in advertising! 
Aida says: A moist, rich cake amuses the senses as a sublime chocolate frosting enlivens the palette. As the right cream center sends the senses dancing, one recalls tea parties from childhood that would have delighted in such an airy, light dessert. A piece to enjoy with company or in the silence of one's daily zen.

Thanks for reading!


starnes family said...

I want to be Ina Garten's neighbor. And, live in an identical house to hers. I LOVE her.

abby! said...

This is so great! What a fun baking adventure... I'm impressed that you kept looking for perfection after not getting it totally right the first time.