7.9.08

Craze?

I was reading an article in the NY Times about the current cupcake craze and how it is mirroring the sudden rise of Krispy Kremes.

What really got my notice about the article was not that cupcakes were being marketed as the next "donut," but rather one of the responses to the article by a reader. A person by the moniker cake eater stated,

"It is ridiculously easy to make good cupcakes yourself."

And with that in mind, I went ahead and decided to make some myself.

Personally, I am not a cupcake fan. The fact that the surface-to-interior ratio is larger than a cake, they tend to dry out quicker and then all you have is a dry piece of cake with lots of sugary frosting on top.

So I decided to make chocolate cupcakes, and fill them with some whipped cream à la Hostess Cupcakes style and then top with the remaining whipped cream.

And voilà, some pretty kick-ass cupcakes, if I may say so myself! I think the key is to use a fat-heavy frosting and filling to keep the cake moist. If you load it with sugar, you're not really helping the cupcake.

I found through this exercise, that cupcakes are ridiculously easy to make. You can make a lot in a short amount of time. And what you can't finish eating after a mini-binge, you can easily store in an airtight container. Since these cupcakes were frosted and filled with a heavy cream, err, cream - I kept the left-overs in the fridge. If you decide to forgo the homemade filling/frosting and use good ol' boxed, you can keep the cupcakes out of the fridge.

So here's my modified recipe for Chocolate Cream-Filled Cupcakes - try 'em, you might just save yourself a trip to the overpriced bakery in your neighborhood. ;)

Cake

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup Ghiradelli baking cocoa powder
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Frosting/Filling

1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar


Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit.

In a bowl mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar (white sugar, not confectioner's) until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well. Alternately add the dry ingredient mixture and the milk to the butter/sugar/egg/vanilla mixture. Make sure that there are minimal lumps in the batter once everything is incorporated.

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Set cupcakes aside and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, simply beat the heavy whipping cream, vanilla and confectioner's sugar until very stiff. Refrigerate until ready for use. Tip: This is something every cookbook will tell you and yes you should listen to them - chill your bowl and whisk/beater attachments before beating your whipping cream. It makes for a stiffer product.

Assembly

When the cupcakes are completely cooled, you fill them! How? Take a round frosting tip and insert into your frosting bag. Fill bag with the now whipped cream and secure.

Poke the tip into the top of the cupcake and squeeze the filling in for about 5-7 seconds. If the cake ruptures, well...you know you've squeezed too much in.

After filling the cupcakes, use the remaining whipped cream to top them. I simply swirled the top, but you can add the "frosting" any way you like.

Enjoy!
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