Archive | May, 2015

Strawberry Cupcakes with Buttercream Flowers

26 May

May 26th, 2015 

I’m really excited to share these cupcakes because of how happy I am with them. I used fresh strawberries, which I picked up from the weekend farmer’s market, to flavor the cupcakes and buttercream. We usually get strawberries from our favorite stand, Rodriguez Farms, and I knew they would be a great addition to the cupcakes.

It was my first time in awhile to pipe flowers using buttercream, which I was a little nervous about. With the help of a few YouTube tutorials I went to work. After piping a few initial flowers, it became second nature. The overall process can be a bit time-consuming, but after assembling everything, it was very well worth it.

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Strawberry Cupcakes

16 oz sugar (I reduced to 14 oz)
½ C oil
2 eggs
1 C heavy cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
7 ⅓ oz AP flour
7 ⅓ oz cake flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 C buttermilk
1 – 1 ½ C strawberries

Y = 34 cupcakes

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse strawberries. Strain strawberries over a clean bowl. Reserve the juice to flavor the buttercream. Set aside strawberry pulp.
  2. Combine oil and sugar together in a mixer bowl. Use the paddle attachment to mix to combine.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add heavy cream and vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Alternate adding the dries and buttermilk, mixing in between. Scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary.
  7. Add strawberry pulp to the batter and mix to combine.
  8. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
  9. Divide batter evenly into cupcake pan, filling a little over halfway.
  10. Bake at 350F for 15-7 minutes.

Strawberry Buttercream
3/4 C egg whites
9 oz sugar
1 lb softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ C strawberry juice

Directions

  1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of simmering hot water.
  3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
  4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
  5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
  6. Once the butter is all in, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape down sides if necessary.
  7. Add strawberry juice to taste. (The juice will add a hint of color. I reserved about half of the buttercream before adding the juice as I wanted to use white as the base for the cupcakes.)

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To Assemble

  1. Divide buttercream and add food coloring if you are planning on having different color flowers.
  2. Pipe buttercream roses. I found this YouTube video and this quite helpful.
  3. Place flowers in the refrigerator and allow them to harden, about 30 minutes.
  4. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on top of the frosted cupcakes.
  5. Carefully place flowers on top of cupcakes.
  6. Allow cupcakes to come to room temperature before serving.

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S’mores Macarons

20 May

May 20th 2015 

Who doesn’t love S’mores? The combination of graham crackers, toasted marshmallow and chocolate in one bite is to die for. Growing up I never went camping, so I can’t say S’mores remind me of camping trips; however, they do remind of bonfires during my college days.

These are by far one of my favorite macaron flavors. What are your favorite flavors?

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Graham Macaron

120 g almond flour
22 g graham cracker crumbs
281 g powdered sugar
116 g egg whites
33 g sugar

Y= sixty-eight 2-inch cookies (makes 34 sandwiched macarons)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse together almond flour, graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar for about 30 seconds.
  2. Sift the mixture into a clean bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place egg whites in a mixer bowl. Whisk until slightly foamy on medium speed.
  4. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and whisk to incorporate.
  5. In a steady stream, add sugar. Once all the sugar is added, increase speed to high.
  6. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks have formed. Peaks should be shiny and smooth.
  7. Transfer the egg whites to a clean bowl.
  8. Sift a third of the dries into the egg white mixture. Carefully using a spatula fold the dries into the egg whites. The dries do not have to be fully incorporated at this point.
  9. Sift the next third of the dries into the mixture. Continue to fold.
  10. Lastly, sift the remaining of the dries and fold.
  11. Continue to fold until the dries are incorporated with the egg whites. Be careful not to over-fold, otherwise the batter will be too runny.
  12. Line sheet pans with Silpat (or parchment paper).
  13. Using a piping bag fitted with an Ateco 304 tip, pipe 1-1.5 inch circles. Once the sheet pan is full, tap the bottom of the sheet pan against the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
  14. Allow macarons to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  15. Bake at 300F for 10 minutes. Rotate and bake for another 8 minutes.
  16. All to cool completely.

Marshmallow Meringue
60 g egg whites
½ C sugar

Directions

  1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of simmering hot water.
  3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
  4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled.
  5. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes stiff and meringue-like.

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To Assemble

  1. Once the macarons shells have cooled, pipe meringue in the center and slightly torch the meringue.
  2. Sprinkle some graham cracker crumbs and drizzle melted chocolate (I used a chocolate sauce I purchased from Oliver Napa Valley).
  3. Filled macarons can be kept in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for a few days.

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Raspberry Curd Tartlets

13 May

May 13th, 2015

I made a very similar flavor tart a few posts back using a raspberry-lemon curd; however, this time I used only raspberries. The tartlet crust is also the same shortbread crust recipe, except I made these bite-sized — 2 inches in diameter. I found the tartlet molds at a local baking supply store and I couldn’t resist. My collection of baking supplies is forever growing, but that just means more reasons to bake!

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Shortbread Crust (AKA Pate Sablee), recipe from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts book

90 g sugar
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
255 g cake flour

Y= twenty-four 2-inch mini tart shells

Directions:

  1. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar and salt together, until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg yolks. Mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Add the flour at once. Mix until dough comes together.
  4. If dough is dry and crumbly, add 1-3 tsp of cold water. Add 1 tsp at a time.
  5. Wrap and rest dough in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
  6. Once the dough has rested in the refrigerator, roll out the dough and press into the tartlet  molds.
  7. If dough feels a bit soft, refrigerate the lined molds for about 10 minutes before baking.
  8. Using a fork, slightly dock the dough.
  9. Bake at 340F for 14-16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before unmolding and filling.

Raspberry Curd

⅔ C raspberry juice (See my previous post for instructions on how to prepare raspberry juice)
4 oz sugar
4 egg yolks
3 oz softened butter

Y = enough to fill 15 mini tartlets (recipe can be doubled to have enough to fill all twenty-four tartlet shells)

Directions

  1. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan heat the raspberry juice to a boil. Remove from heat.
  3. Temper the yolk-sugar mixture by adding half of the heated raspberry juice to the yolks, while whisking to prevent the yolks from curdling.
  4. Add the tempered yolks back to the saucepan and heat on medium.
  5. Continue to heat until the mixture thickens, while whisking to prevent the bottom from burning.
  6. Once the mixture thickens, strain into a clean bowl over the butter.
  7. Whisk to combine.
  8. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to cool.

Meringue
60 g egg whites
½ C sugar

Directions

  1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of simmering hot water.
  3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
  4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled.
  5. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.

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To Assemble

  1. Pipe or spoon the raspberry curd filling into the tartlet shells.
  2. Pipe a dollop of meringue in the center of the curd.
  3. Carefully torch the meringue.
  4. Refrigerate tartlets until ready to serve.

Individual Tiramisu Cakes

10 May

May 10th, 2015 

Hope everyone is have a great Mother’s Day weekend! We celebrated with our moms yesterday and today I am making up for a late post on these wonderful individual tiramisu cakes I made about two weeks ago. Tiramisu has been on my to-bake list for some time now and I’m glad I got around to them. I don’t order tiramisu for dessert at restaurants or buy them often, but when I do have the opportunity to eat them, I am reminded of how much I actually enjoy them. The combination of the rum-coffee soaked ladyfingers and the light Mascarpone filling makes it a delectable treat. I’m a big fan of coffee flavored desserts, so it also explains why I like tiramisu.

I didn’t look too hard to find lady fingers in the stores. I only checked Trader Joe’s and was told ladyfingers are a seasonal item, around Thanksgiving and Christmas. People did tell me that Whole Foods might have them, but I didn’t bother checking and decided to make them instead. The recipe I used yielded softer ladyfingers, almost like a sponge cake. I found a Mascarpone filling recipe from Pretty.Simple.Sweet blog, which called for cooked egg yolks. Most recipes use raw egg yolks, but I preferred to use a recipe with cooked egg yolks.

Ladyfingers, recipe from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts book
3 egg whites
75 g powdered sugar
3 egg yolks
¼ tsp vanilla extract
75 g cake flour

Y= Twenty-nine 4-inch ladyfingers; this is enough for four 4-inch round individual tiramisu cakes.

Directions:

  1. In a mixer bowl with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites until slightly foamy.
  2. Add powdered sugar and continue to whisk until meringue reaches stiff peaks.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and vanilla. Carefully fold the egg yolk mixture into the meringue using a spatula.
  4. Add the flour into the mixture in 3 additions, folding after each addition.
  5. Line sheet pans with parchment paper. Lightly coat parchment paper with non-stick spray.
  6. Using a round Ateco 805 tip, pipe 4 inch ladyfingers so that each ladyfinger touches the adjacent ladyfinger. Make 2 strips of batter along the length of the sheet pan.
  7. Optional: lightly dust piped batter with powdered sugar.
  8. Bake at 350F 10-13 minutes, or until ladyfingers spring back from touch.

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Tiramisu Recipe, adapted from Pretty.Simple.Sweet blog

Coffee Rum Syrup
1 C hot water
2 T instant coffee
2 T sugar
2 T dark rum

Y= this is more than enough to soak the ladyfingers. You can reduce the recipe in half.

Directions

  1. Combine the hot water with the instant coffee, sugar and dark rum.
  2. Stir to combine and allow the mixture to cool.

Mascarpone Filling
3 egg yolks
70 g sugar
2 T dark rum
¾ C heavy cream
8 oz Mascarpone cheese, room temperature

Y= enough filling to make four 4-inch round individual tiramisu cakes

Directions

  1. Combine egg yolks, sugar and dark rum in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of water, simmering on low heat. Cook the mixture while constantly whisking until it becomes thick and foamy.
  3. Remove from heat and allow the egg mixture to cool.
  4. In a mixer bowl, whisk the heavy cream until stiff peaks.
  5. Add the room temperature Mascarpone cheese to the cooled yolk mixture. Gently whisk to combine.
  6. Fold the whipped cream into the yolk-Mascarpone mixture. Continue to fold until mixture is smooth in consistency.

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To Assemble

    1. Line cake rings with acetate strips.
    2. Line the bottom of the cake ring with lady fingers. You will need to trim off any excess to fit the round bottom of the rings.
    3. Since the ladyfingers are soft, I used a pastry brush to soak them with the coffee-rum syrup.
    4. Pipe some of the Mascarpone filling over the ladyfingers. (I prefer to pipe the filling to avoid major air bubbles; otherwise you can spoon the filling in).
    5. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers, coffee syrup and filling. Smooth out the top layer of the Mascarpone filling.
    6. Allow the tiramisu to set in the refrigerator overnight before unmolding.
    7. Carefully unmold on the next day. Dust with cocoa powder and serve cold.

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