Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Though things still aren't quite settled yet (this place needs some serious sprucing up) I'm ready for my first real post here at my new online home. We're also almost at the advent of a new month. I'm looking forward to August this year. I'll have some extra free time to sort things (both online and off) before the autumn semester starts up.

Each month the Princess Portal offers a princess challenge. I've been meaning to enter since April, but this month's challenge struck a chord with me. The goal was to create something in the kitchen that you love to eat, but have never made yourself. I love to work in the kitchen so I knew I had to do something and it struck me immediately that I should do some form of tiramisu. It's my absolute favorite dessert, but I've never actually made it myself. With so many forms of tiramisu available I decided to take an untraditional route and make cupcakes. These were just what I was craving. The cake was moist and the coffee taste was just subtle enough to not over power the delicate cake base. The topping was so creamy. I'll definitely be making these again (and next time I'll find a way to incorporate them into a party setting since no one in my family enjoys coffee besides me).

Vanilla Cake:
6 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self-rising flour
3 Tbs 2% milk

Mascarpone Topping:
8oz mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbs espresso (see below)

Espresso Mix:
1 1/2 Tbs instant espresso grounds
1/3 cup boiling water

handful chocolate chips, grated

» Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12-hole standard muffin tin with desired liners.
» In a stand mixer cream together the butter, vanilla, and sugar until evenly mixed. Add the eggs, flour, and milk and combine at a low speed until just combined. Turn up the speed and mix until the batter is a light yellow (a shade or two lighter than the initial mix).
» Evenly scoop the mixture into the awaiting pan. To make the cakes even I suggest using something like a mini ice cream scoop. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
» While this is happening make the coffee mixture and set in the refrigerator to chill.
» In a separate bowl combine the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and espresso (once it's chilled). Stir in the whipped cream until all ingredients are evenly combined. At this point be sure to taste the topping. More sugar or espresso can be added to taste if you desire. Put mixture in the refrigerator to chill.
» Before the cupcakes have a chance to cool use a toothpick to poke holes in the top of each cake. Using a brush or spoon liberally soak the cakes with the espresso mixture. Set the cakes aside to finish cooling.
» Spoon the topping on top of the cakes (once chilled it should resemble soft cheesecake). Use a knife to pat the topping down evenly over the cakes (spreading tends to break up the cake so I would recommend against it).
» Using a food processor grind up the chocolate until it resembles fine granules. Gently sprinkle over the tops of the cakes for decoration.
» Be sure to chill any cake that does not get eaten in the initial moment. Cakes should keep for up to a week in an airtight container.

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