thegingerchef

Recipes from My Kitchen

Boston Cream Cupcakes

A friend of mine was having a homemade pizza party at his house, and I can’t resist an opportunity to bake something new ūüôā ¬†Since this friend also got me the “Best-Ever Recipes, Special Collector’s Edition” from America’s Test Kitchen, I decided to make something from that book.
There are a ton of variations on Boston Cream Cupcakes out there on the internet Рyou can easily google one.  But this recipe is now tried-and-true! So feel free to swipe it.

Pastry Cream
1-1/3 C heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
1/3 C sugar
pinch of salt
4 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold butter, cut into 2 chunks
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cupcakes
1-3/4 C flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 C sugar
12 Tbsp (1-1/2 sticks) butter, room temp, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
3/4 C milk
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze
3/4 C heavy cream
1/4 C light corn syrup
8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

For the pastry cream. ¬†Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. ¬†Meanwhile, whisk the yolks, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. ¬†Add the cornstarch and whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and thick (~<1 min). ¬† When the cream reaches a full simmer, slowly whisk it into the yolk mixture. ¬†Return the mix to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy. ¬†(It should start to look like pudding – cause that’s about what it is!)¬†Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. ¬†Transfer the pastry cream to a small bowl and refrigerate, with plastic wrap, until cold and set (at least 2 hours).

For the cupcakes.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray, or coat with crisco and shake with flour.  (I made one 12-tin of large cupcakes and almost 2 full tins of mini muffins Рthe mini muffins were much easier to eat and went much faster Рjust a thought!)  With a mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar on low in a large bowl.  Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until combined.  Add the milk and vanilla, increase the speed to medium, and mix until light and fluffy with no lumps.

Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full.  Bake until the center is done (toothpick test!), about 20 minutes.  Cool in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze.  Cook the cream, corn syrup, chocolate, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth.  Set aside to cool, about 30 minutes.  Note: This made a TON of saucy glaze, you might want to cut this down quite a bit, depending on your preference for chocolate.

Assembly. ¬†Insert the tip of a small knife at a 45-degree angle about 1/8″ from the edge and cut all the way around, removing a cone of cake. ¬†Cut away all but the top 1/4 inch of the cone, leaving only a small disk of cake. ¬†Fill each cupcake with ~2 Tbsp of the pastry cream and top with the disk of cake. ¬†Set them on a wire rack over parchment (I just glazed them on the dish I was using, less mess…sort of). ¬†Spoon ~2 Tbsp of glaze over each cupcake, allowing it to drip down the sides. ¬†Refrigerate until set (~10 min…or not) and serve!!

 

These went over so well – the mini muffins were definitely better-received than the larger ones, they were just easier to eat (very bite-sized). ¬†This is a super easy recipe that will impress a crowd, just plan enough time to get it all done – maybe 2 hours or so? ¬†But it’s well worth it!!

 

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Dinner Party!

I love having people over for dinner – it gives me a chance to try new recipes (especially desserts!) and share my love of cooking. Every time I do this, I am reminded of how much I can’t wait till I get my double-oven – because cooking with one oven is just insanity. ¬†Yet I continue…

This time it was dinner for some of the Mr.’s friends, i.e. guys. ¬†And what do guys love? ¬†Meat and Potatoes! ¬†So tonight’s menus is: (appetizer) artichoke dip with french bread, (meat) French Onion Salisbury Steak, (sides) mashed potatoes/brussels with bacon and bleu cheese, and drumroll (dessert): flourless mini chocolate cakes with chocolate ganache and raspberries. ¬†Wow – these things were so easy to make, and just heavenly.

Ingredients (from Better Homes and Gardens):
Cocoa Powder
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened, broken into chunks
1/3 cup Kahlua (or equivalent)
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup whipping cream
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate
raspberries

Directions:
*Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease custard cups, line with wax paper, then grease the wax paper.  Dust with cocoa powder.
(Hmm, I wish I had read this a little more carefully. ¬†I did not have custard cups, so I used a silpat cupcake pan, and sprayed it with Pam…worked just the same. ¬†But forgot the cocoa dust completely.)¬†

*In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with a mixer until thick (5-7 minutes). ¬†Add Liquer and butter and beat until blended (it will look a little lumpy/curdled, that’s ok). ¬†Add melted chocolate and vanilla, continue mixing till combined. ¬†Pour batter into the cake mold and bake about 20 minutes, then cool on rake for 20-30 min.

*When you’re ready to serve, make the ganache. ¬†In a small pan, bring the whipping cream to just a boil. ¬†Remove from heat and add in the chocolate (I use chips) – do not stir. ¬†Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir, and let cool for 10 minutes.

*If you use the individual cakes, feel free to serve from them.  Top with the ganache and raspberries.

 

I made these and started eating before I thought to take a photo!! ¬†But if you ask me, it still looks darn delicious… ¬†Enjoy!!

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Been gone, too long…

Sooo sorry that I haven’t been around! ¬†The last few weeks have been busy ones, and really, I haven’t felt much like posting. ¬†But I’m back! ¬†I have about 5 posts in the queue and I will try to get them finished up this week so I at least have things to post, even when I don’t feel like it.

Today, however, I felt like making cupcakes!! ¬†Really, I have since Christmas – my cousin’s girlfriend made cake balls using strawberry cake mix and they were heavenly. ¬†So when I got back home I went straight to the store and got strawberry cake mix. ¬†And there it sat in my pantry for 2+ months. ¬†*sigh – I need to be better about baking!!!

Anyway, today sounded like a great day for cupcakes (I know my husband’s office-mates love when I bake, they usually are the benefactors). ¬†But since it’s really just a mix from a box, with a little icing, I thought “what can I do to make these a little more special?” ¬†Idea!! ¬†I had some leftover melting chocolate from Christmas and decided I would make chocolate strawberries to top the cupcakes with. ¬†As it turns out, I can’t draw a strawberry with icing to save my life ūüôā ¬†but the general idea comes through and they look pretty good. ¬†And they’re very tasty!!

The easiest way to do this is lay out a sheet of wax paper. ¬†Melt a few of the chocolates in a ziploc bag (30-40 second intervals so you don’t burn the chocolate). ¬†Then pipe it onto the wax paper and stick it in the fridge to harden. ¬†Then, eat the rest of the melted chocolate out of the ziploc bag, because, well, it’s spectacular. ¬† When you assemble the cupcake, stick a knife in the middle to make a space for the chocolate to go – otherwise you will break the chocolates (good thing I made extra!!!)

 

 

Then, for dinner, I made an open-faced steak sammich. ¬†We originally had this in an Irish place a while ago, and I’ve made it twice since. ¬†It’s really messy, but delicious!! (And super easy – do I ever make anything not easy?? ūüôā )

I bought a big chunk of flank steak and only used half of it.  Salt and pepper on each side, then broiled on High ~5-6 minutes on each side (turning twice).  Then I cut off a few slices of bread and lightly broiled them.

I sautéed a few slices of white onion in a little butter, then made a gravy.  Now the gravy is the only complicated part of this Рand I had to make it twice, since I screwed it up the first time :-p  Mix a little dark beer (you only need a cup or so) with some flour, then cook on low until it thickens (should happen pretty quick Рif it gets too thick, add a little water or more beer to thin).  It will have a slightly dull taste to it, so you will probably need to add some salt and pepper to it to taste.

To assemble the sandwich РLay the bread on a plate, top with a few pieces of Romaine lettuce.  Slice the steak very thin, then layer on the lettuce.  Add on the onion pieces, drizzle on some gravy, and top with blue cheese.  Delicious!!

 

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