I will use any excuse to try out a new recipe. A coworker of mine is leaving for a 2 month trip to Italy (rough life, Cortlyn… Side note: you should totally check out her blog because it is sure to be interesting!) So what better way to send her off than Tiramisu cupcakes?
First we assemble the cast of ingredients:
Of course, I didn’t decide to start cooking until about 8pm and it was during one of our famous Florida thunderstorms, so the fact that I manage to get these done without a power outage is pretty impressive, I think. Now on to the cupcakes.
I started by turning on the oven, then sifting together all of the dry ingredients. (full recipe below)
Next, cream together the butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla.
Eggs should be added one at a time and I alway crack them into a little bowl before adding them. You never know what you’re going to get out of that little shell, you don’t want to ruin a yummy batter with a bad egg. Trust me, just do this before you mess up a batter – learn from my mistakes! It also helps if you have a tendency to get shells in there or you have little helpers in the kitchen that want to crack the eggs.
Next the buttermilk joins the party. I always used to avoid recipes with buttermilk because I just never had it in the fridge. That is, until I tried one… I will probably never go back. I love the tang that the batter gets from buttermilk, it adds some complexity to the taste – it also helps cut the sweetness in the icing and I like a sweet icing.
The sifted dry ingredients are next and they go in a couple of installments, make sure to mix well between each addition, we don’t want a lumpy batter! (plenty of time for that in the icing…more on that later…)
Then you’ll want to divy out the batter into the cupcake pan. I like using the reynolds foil cupcake liners because they stand a little above the cupcakes and help to catch stray icing and toppers later on in the process – this is especially helpful in this recipe because of the booze that we’ll be soaking the cakes in later. I also use an ice cream scoop to portion out the servings. This certainly isn’t a ground breaking and new technique, but it will change your life if you’ve never done it before. Seriously.
Once the cupcakes have had their time in the oven (about 5 minutes over the suggested time in the recipe, depending on your oven) we get to introduce them to the booze! Since the base of this cake is just a basic vanilla cake, we have to start adding in the tiramisu flavors here. I pour about half a cup of Kahlua in a little dish and started making these cupcakes adult in persuasion. I honestly wish I had added a little Kahlua to the batter before they were baked, I think I will next time. I waffled on this decision and decided to be safe since I didn’t have time to make another batter if it went wrong. Next time around, I will also soak them in more liquid. C’est la vive.
While the cupcakes are soaking up the liqueur, we start on the icing. Since it is a tiramisu cupcake, a mascarpone icing is a given. This icing gave me a little trouble because I decided to add the butter to make it a buttercream. While the final product was delicious, but I added a few steps for myself. Cream the mascarpone, cream cheese and butter together. Next, add the vanilla and powdered sugar. The recipe itself worked out pretty well, however, if I’d had more mascarpone, I would not have used the cream cheese I substituted in, but it all worked out in the end.
Remember my extra step I added? Well… room temperature butter doesn’t mean air-conditioned-room-in-the-Florida-summer-temperature… my 69 degrees room temp was a little too cold. I ended up with chunks in the icing… I got most of them out with a strainer. It didn’t get every thing, but it fixed it enough that I wasn’t embarrassed to serve them to people. Lesson learned.
Regardless of the issues with the icing, this was a delicious cupcake! I garnished it with a dusting of cocoa powder and a few coffee beans.
It is definitely only conceptually a tiramisu cupcake, the real thing has far less cake in it.
But honestly, who cares? It was delicious and felt a little naughty at work because of the coffee liqueur. PSA: Don’t breath in while taking a bite or you will choke on cocoa powder! (you’re welcome)
Vanille Cupcake Recipe (Smitten Kitchen – Best Yellow Layer Cake)
Note: I usually cut the recipe in half, so we don’t end up with millions of cupcakes to eat. Because we would eat them. All of them.
Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.
Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.
Icing Recipe (if you cut the batter in half, cut this in half too)
8oz of mascarpone
8oz of cream cheese (or another 8oz of mascarpone cheese)
1 stick of butter at room temp
1 tsp of vanilla (I usually use more, I love vanilla)
4 cups of powdered sugar
whipping cream, if necessary for consistency
With a mixer, cream together mascarpone, cream cheese and butter. Add in vanilla. On a low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar. If the icing is too thick, add in a tsp of whipping cream.