Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Boston Cream cupcakes

This has become of my most requested treats. Rich and decadent but in a neat and tidy little package - I don't complain when someone asks me to make these because they are totally worth it (I try not to complain too much anyway - but if I do it usually follows a cupcake request)
The recipe is from America's Test Kitchen Best Ever Recipes December 2010 edition. 
And if you haven't noticed already, I am a huge fan of ATK.

okay...back to the cupcakes.

Usually I avoid making cupcakes. I hate cleaning the muffin tin. Really - I do - and that really is the only reason I avoid cupcakes - but my husband wanted Boston Cream Pie for his birthday and of course - I couldn't just make the normal cake. I remembered seeing this in the magazine and decided I needed to reacquaint myself with my old muffin tin and give it a go.

The result? (Besides a very happy husband?) was one perfect little serving of moist cake, luscious cream and rich dark chocolate.

Some tips I have gathered over the last few months :

Bake the cupcakes without liners in a greased and floured muffin tin - it really works and gives you a lovely presentation.
Use a hand held mixer - it really does make a difference in the texture of the cakes.

The pastry cream and the chocolate ganache can be made a day in advance.
I pull everything out of the fridge the morning of my event and let it all come to room temperature before trying to fill and dress the cupcakes. 

Do not glaze the cupcakes with the chocolate ganache until right before serving. 
About the glaze - I put a couple tablespoons in a small bowl and microwave it for a few seconds to ensure I get the "run down the side of the cupcake" effect.

Save the little cake pieces - I usually put them in a bowl and after serving the cupcakes I place the bowl of leftover pieces and any leftover cream and chocolate and just let everybody have at it!  Great fun to watch! Have some wipees ready nearby.


Pastry Cream
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
3 lg egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
pinch salt
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Bring the cream to a simmer - stirring occasionally.
In a separate bowl whisk the yolks, sugar and salt together - add the cornstarch and whisk until the mixture is pale yellow.
When the cream reaches a full simmer slowly whisk the cream into the egg mixture.
Return all of it to the pan and cook over medium heat until all is thick and glossy - about 2 more minutes.
Off the heat whisk in the butter and vanilla.
Transfer to a small bowl - cover with plastic wrap pressed lightly against the top of the cream - refrigerate until needed.

1 3/4 cups flour - plus more to flour the muffin tin
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter - cut into 12 pieces
3 lg eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Oven to 350.
Rack in middle.
Generously grease and flour the muffin tin.
Using a hand held mixer combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar on low speed.
Add the butter 1 piece at a time.
Add the eggs 1 at a time.
Mix until all combined.
Add milk and vanilla - increase speed and mix until light and fluffy.
Fill muffin cups
(Not the prettiest pan but I've had it FOREVER)
Bake about 18 minutes - or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pan about 5 minutes - then remove each cake from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Glaze
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
about 2 cups bittersweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Cook the cream, corn syrup, chocolate and vanilla over medium heat - stirring constantly until smooth.
Set aside until ready to use.


Cut out centers of each cake
(It always amazes me how all the cupcakes can cook in the same pan for the same amount of time and every one is a different color)
I also think the first time I did this, out of the dozen cakes I made I was able to serve maybe half (maybe)
Save the little pieces you cut off the top part in a separate bowl- you should now have almost a flat disk of cake that becomes the lid (how's that for a seriously scientific explanation?)

Fill each hollowed cake with pastry cream.
Replace all lids.
Cover the knife marks with the chocolate glaze and serve (with a fork)

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