I have been making cupcakes. My husband thinks I’m a little bit crazy because I’ve made six batches in the last three weeks. That is about 144 cupcakes for a family of four (one, of which, is an infant). I did a little research on a cupcake place in dear friends’ hometown of Maplewood, NJ. The Cupcake Corral looks like they are doing beautiful cupcakes, as well as hearty pastry items. San Francisco has great cupcake shops:
That Takes The Cake
These are some that I have tasted. All outstanding.
The question I have for these cupcake restaurants is can you get away with holding cupcakes for service the following day and enhance the cupcake eating experience. I was inspired to bake batches of cupcakes to answer this question and to perfect a buttercream frosting that would hold overnight without melting or seperating.
Traditionally, buttercream is made with a heated simple syrup (water and sugar) to cook the egg yolks and to create a light fluffy emulsion. Emulsified mixtures are usually thick and satiny in texture. Examples of other emulsions are mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce. In classical restaurant kitchens, corn syrup is an ingredient sometimes used to replace simple syrup and achieve an outstanding fluffy product. Corn syrup fosters a lasting quality and stands up for two days plus. Buttercream is ideal for layer cakes, as it acts as a preserving quality to the texture of the cake.
In recent years, the popularity in Micheal Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma has offered question to the over use of corn based food products in food systems. I’ve tried to cut out all use of corn syrup in my cooking. I, however, have found that it can not but substituted in the classic American Pecan Pie recipe. I am still testing this principal in other recipes.
There are a few other agave buttercream recipes on the web. The following recipe substitutes agave nectar for corn syrup. It offers a fabulous texture and lasts overnight. I did think the quality deteriorated after more than a day. Sometimes in the home kitchen you need to prepare things ahead of time to keep a schedule. We took them to a baby friend’s birthday party yesterday and folks commented on the light and fluffy mouthfeel. I made varying flavors: strawberry, mango, and vanilla bean.
I tried two sets of mango cake recipes. These turned out to be a bit muffin-like. The vanilla cake dried out overnight. However, the chocolate cake is actually better in texture the following day. So this is a winner for a cupcake recipe that holds overnight. Give them a whirl!
Chocolate Cake that gets better with age
Yields: 24 cupcakes
1 cup unsalted butter, soft
1 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
pinch sea salt
2 tsp vanilla
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 cup Flour
1/3 cup Rice flour
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- Into a food processor, cream butter, sugar, salt.
- Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla now.
- Blend in melted chocolate.
- Add remaining dry ingredients. Scrape sides. Blend.
- Slowly add boiling water. Scrape sides. Blend. Batter will be watery.
- From pitcher, pour into cupcake liners. Fill 3/4 full to achieve dome appearance.
Agave Buttercream frosting
6 egg yolks
3/4 granulated sugar
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 pound unsalted sweet butter
- Into a Kitchenaid mixer, beat egg yolks until light and fluffy. While mixing, heat sugar, sea salt and agave syrup until sides are bubbling.
- Whisk agave mixture until sugar is dissovled.
- While eggs are beating, drizzle in heated agave mixture. Pour slowly over 2 minutes to achieve full use of ingredients and for lightest property.
- Add any flavoring now. Fruit purees, 1/2 cup only. Alcohol, around 1-2 tsp.
- Prepare a large storage container to hold the baked cupcakes.
- Use a piping bag for frosting.
- Wash hands often when working with food to be served to others.
- Rice flour produces a soft crumb to cakes. You may also use other flours and substitute equally.