Monday, August 15, 2011
This weekend was Mr. Pixie Crust and my one-year wedding anniversary. Time certainly does fly. I really can't express how lucky I feel to have him for a life partner.
Since our honeymoon was in Italy one year ago, I decided to make Spumoni Cupcakes to celebrate. The cake part is chocolate, filled with cherry mousse and a bit of cherry syrup, and topped with pistachio swiss meringue buttercream and a sparkling maraschino cherry.
For the Chocolate Cupcakes:
Makes 24 cupcakes
2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate.
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup boiling water
Sift cake flour and then measure out 2 1/4 cups. Set aside.
Cream butter, sugar, and eggs together until thick and creamy. Add in melted baking chocolate (you can melt in microwave or in a double boiler) and mix thorough. Add in vanilla extract. Add salt and baking soda last.
Add cake flour to batter, alternating with sour cream. Once combined, stop mixer. Add in cup of boiling water and stir by hand to combine. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 way full and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cupcakes are done when they spring back to the touch. Set aside to cool.
For the Cherry Puree:
Using a blender, puree one cup of maraschino cherries, or another type of cherries. I combined Morello cherries with maraschino cherries. Add a few tablespoons of juice to the cherries so they puree easier. Pour through a fine mesh sieve. Set aside.
For the Cherry Mousse filling:
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks (set whites aside for buttercream)
3 tbsp cherry puree
1 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream
1 tsp almond or amaretto extract
1 tsp cherry extract (if available)
Pink food coloring
Whisk sugar, yolks, and cherry puree in large metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bowl to touch water); whisk until candy thermometer registers 160°F, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Using electric mixer, beat egg mixture until completely cool and thick, about 5-6 minutes.
Beat cream and extracts in another large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold cream mixture into egg mixture and add in food coloring.
For the Pistachio Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
4 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter
2 tsp (or more to taste) pure almond extract
2-3 tbsp pistachio paste
Green food coloring
Combine egg whites and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Place mixing bowl over a simmering saucepan of water to create a double boiler. Continuously whisk sugar and egg white mixture until it reaches 160 degrees. Remove from heat and place in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high until mixture is thick and fully cooled. Add in butter piece by piece. Once fully combined, switch to paddle attachment and mix for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add in pistachio paste, almond extract, and food coloring- mix well until combined.
To assemble the cupcakes:
Once cupcakes are fully cooled, core out the center of each one using a paring knife. Fill each cupcake halfway with cherry mousse, using a pastry bag. Pour tsp of cherry puree on top of mousse, fill with another layer of mousse until it reaches the top of the cupcake. I also added some dark chocolate shavings to the top, but this isn't necessary. Once all cupcakes are filled, top with swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate sprinkles. Lastly, top each cupcake with a maraschino cherry (pat dry before using) and sprinkle cherry and top of cupcake with edible disco dust.