Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cupcake of the Week: Life is Like a Box of Cupcakes (part 1) || Week 13

In discussing possible cupcake ideas with my #2 taste tester seanbrogan, (obviously behind mr. zucca, and tied with mr. portman. you can battle it out.) we struck inspirational, sugary, gold.  It started out innocently enough, how about a surprise cupcake I wondered.  A prosciutto wrapped, goat cheese stuffed date hidden in the middle of a seemingly innocuous little vanilla treat.  What if... what if there were a whole tray of them?  Yet each one was slightly different?   Like a box of chocolates?  You never know which one you're going to get...

And thus the "Life is Like a Box of Cupcakes" was born.

I realize that this is all going to take a bit of time, a little elbow grease and several batches of cupcakes before I present the final array... but in the meantime for your blog reading pleasure, here is the first test batch I whipped up!

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes (in which to hide greatness)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  in a bowl mix together all of the ingredients.  line your mini cupcake tray and fill each cupcake 2/3 of the way full.  bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  this recipe will yield 2 dozen minis!

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
in a mixing bowl, whip the butter until it is nice and fluffy.  slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, milk & vanilla extract until you have a nice fluffy white frosting.

Filling #1 || Spiced Chocolate
  • 1 bag of melting chocolate 
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
in a double boiler melt your chocolate.  once it is completely melted, remove it from the heat and very slowly mix in your spices and cream to make a nice and delicious ganache.  set aside.

Filling #2 || Tabasco Candied Nuts
  • 1 cup of mixed nuts
  • 1 pat of butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp tabasco hot sauce
in a heated skillet, melt your butter.  throw in the mixed nuts and mix until coated.  lightly toast them until they start to brown.  add in the brown sugar and coat.  once your nuts are nicely toasted and candied, empty them onto a tinfoil covered baking sheet and spread out.  drizzle your tabasco sauce on top and set aside to cool.

Filling #3 || Prosciutto Wrapped & Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates
  • 1 box of dates (the fruit, sadly)
  • 1 log of goat cheese
  • 1 package of prosciutto
line a baking sheet with tinfoil.  take each date, dig into the center from one end and pull out the seed.  in its place stuff in a marble sized ball of goat cheese.  then take your prosciutto, slice each piece in half lengthwise and wrap it around the date.  place it on your baking sheet.  repeat.  turn on your oven to broil.  broil your dates for about 4-7 minutes or until the prosciutto starts to crisp up and the goat cheese just starts to melt.  pull out of the oven and set aside.

Assembling the Cupcakes
take each mini cupcake, and using a small knife, cut a hole in the middle of the top. scoop out your cupcakes (you can save the scooped out insides to make cake pops) and set aside.  in 1/3 of your cupcakes, fill them with the ganache.  in 1/3 of the cupcakes, fill them with the spiced nuts (if they're too big, chop them up a little).  in the last 1/3 take a goat cheese stuffed date and cut them in half.  place half of the date in each cupcake.

then cover them all in white vanilla frosting and garnish with a toasted almond so they all look the same!

*One thing to remember, in making these cupcakes you have to take into consideration allergies and religious edibles.  First, make sure that your guests aren't allergic to nuts.  This could end very badly if they are.  Second... if anyone trying your cupcakes keeps kosher, you could either try skipping the prosciutto, or (and we know this from experience) they'll have to cut each cupcake in half to figure out which ones have pork!

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