Friday, May 6, 2011

Pudding filled Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes

Happy Seis de Mayo!
This year, it was a very tough decision on what to make for Cinco de mayo, but I decided on Mexican chocolate cupcakes with a Mexican chocolate pudding center. I tossed around a few other flavor ideas that I think I will ultimately save for Dia de Los Muertos (can’t wait to use my sugar skull molds!)
These cupcakes are moist chocolate cake filled with a very simple to make Mexican pudding and topped with Mexican chocolate swiss meringue buttercream.

For the Cupcakes (Yields 24 cupcakes):

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup boiling water

Sift the flour and set aside. Whip the butter in an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment until creamy. Add the granulated sugar and then the brown sugar to the butter and mix for 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time. Continue mixing until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla extract and melted baking chocolate. Mix in the baking soda last.

Add the flour in batches, alternating with sour cream. Mix on medium until well combined- do not over mix!

Lastly, remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Add in the boiling water and hand stir until combined.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, until cake springs back to the touch and/or an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

For the Mexican Chocolate Pudding Filling (adapted from Epicurious):
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
2 cups vanilla rice milk
2 cups whole milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Whisk together brown sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a heavy medium saucepan, then whisk in milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking often. Then boil, whisking for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Chill in a bowl, surface covered with a piece of buttered wax paper, until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours.
NOTE: Pudding may develop a skin while chilling in fridge. If so, you can simply scrape it off before using to fill cupcakes.

For the Mexican chocolate swiss meringue buttercream:
4 egg whites (Large or Extra Large eggs)
3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
Chocolate Ganache flavoring
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate
2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Make the ganache. Heat ½ cup whipping cream in small sauce pan until sides are bubbly. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate, whisking to hasten the melting process. Once all of the chocolate is fully melted, add 1 tbsp butter and whisk until combined. Put bowl in fridge (or freezer if you’re short on time) to cool.

Make the swiss meringue buttercream. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heat safe mixing bowl. Place mixing bowl inside a saucepan filled with boiling/simmering water. Whisk together over heat until sugar fully dissolves and mixture measure 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Beat egg whites and sugar with mixer fitted with whisk attachment until mixture has a thick, meringue-like texture and is fully cooled. Add the butter in pieces, mixing well after each addition. Once butter is all added and mixed, switch to paddle attachment and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and chocolate ganache and mix until fully combined.

To assemble the cupcakes:
Core each cupcake using a paring knife. If cake is crumbly, put cupcakes in the freezer for about 15 minutes so they’re easier to core. After all of the cupcakes are cored, pipe pudding into each cupcake and frost with swiss meringue buttercream as desired.

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