Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cupcakes and Muffins

black bottom cupcake 85

I was looking through my Flickr photo album and realized that I have a few cupcakes and muffins that I made in the past few months but never posted the pictures. So here’s a quick compilation.

Black bottom cupcakes

black bottom cupcake 99
My first taste of a black bottom cupcake was over 20 years ago from the Just Desserts bakery in the Marina district. It’s a cocoa based chocolate cupcake with a chocolate chip cheesecake like center. You can’t tell from the photograph, but I baked these in miniature muffin tins so they’re only about 1-inch in diameter. They were a huge hit at my 2-year-old niece’s birthday party. (I didn't include the recipe for black bottom cupcakes here. The recipes on the internet are all pretty similar to mine.)

"Boston cream pie" cupcake*

expt bcp cupcake 1
This is my most recent cupcake experiment, the "Boston cream pie" cupcake. Boston cream pie is not really a pie but a cake - 2 layers of cake filled with a vanilla custard or pudding and then topped with a chocolate glaze. I took the idea of those components and turned them into a cupcake. I used a traditional all-American yellow butter layer cake recipe and made cupcakes instead of layer cakes. I filled the cupcakes with a vanilla bean pastry cream and then topped them with a chocolate frosting. My last experimental cupcake was my mojito cupcake back in May.

Trio of muffins

From left to right, cherry almond oatmeal muffin (I used the batter from my cherry almond oatmeal cake), chocolate chip muffin, and blueberry muffin.

blueberry muffin
More blueberry muffins. I accidentally over mixed the batter slightly, which explains the peaked muffin tops. Despite my over mixing, the muffin was still moist and tender.


* Recipe for "Boston Cream Pie" cupcakes...

Vanilla Cupcakes
(makes 18 cupcakes)

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Butter and flour 18 (4-oz capacity) wells of your muffin pans. Or you can use paper cupcake liners.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside dry ingredient.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy about 2-3 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

On low speed, mix in one-third flour mixture then one-half milk. Repeat, ending with final one-third flour mixture.

Divide batter among the 18 wells. They should be no more than 3/4 full.

Bake at 350F until light golden brown and cake tester is clean, about 20-23 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before filling or frosting.

Pastry Cream
(there will be cream leftover after filling 18 cupcakes)

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

Bring the milk and1/4 cup sugar to a simmer in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat.

Sift together remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the cornstarch and salt. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the sifted dry ingredients and whisk until fluffy.

Remove the simmering milk from the heat and ladle out about half a cup of the hot milk. Whisk it slowly into the egg/flour mixture. Once the milk is incorporated, pour the mixture back into the hot milk in the saucepan, whisking constantly.

Place saucepan over low heat and begin to whisk the pastry cream. In about 1 minute, it should boil and thicken. Continue whisking for about 3 minutes or until it has the consistency of pudding. To test cream for doneness, coat the back of a spoon. The cream will stay in place when you draw a line with your finger down the middle of the cream.

Strain the pastry cream through a fine-meshed strainer into a bowl. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until it is butter melted and incorporated. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

How to assemble the "Boston Cream Pie" cupcakes:
Using a pastry bag, insert tip into the top of your vanilla cupcake and pipe about 1 teaspoon of cooled pastry cream into the center. Alternatively, you can cut out a hole from the top of the cupcake and spoon in the pastry cream. Make sure to replace the top. Frost your filled cupcakes with your favorite chocolate frosting, ganache, or glaze. Store cupcakes in refrigerator.



diane amaryllis nov05
And here’s a picture of my sweet little muffin of a cat, Diane. This photo was taken last Thanksgiving when she was still a "fat cat". She’s been quite ill lately and, subsequently, she's lost a lot of weight. We’re hoping she’ll get better soon.

EDITED on 9/29 to add recipe for "Boston Cream Pie" Cupcake.


Anonymous said...

Nice... I like your chocolate cupcake. I have never tried to make cupcakes and now I would really like to.

veuveclicquot said...

How beautiful! I love the idea of the boston pie cupcakes - must do!!

Hope your beautiful Diane gets better soon

veuveclicquot said...

gosh, I've been trying to find your delightful recipe for Boston cupcakes, but it doesn't seem to be in your "recipe box." Is my browser missing something?


Brilynn said...

All very nice!
I especially like the sounds of the first one with the cheesecake centre.

Dianka said...

Aww Diane is precious! I hope she feels better, poor thing. Your cupcakes look so delicious!

Mary said...

Orchidea - I think making cupcakes is more of an "American" thing but I hope you try them.

Veuve - Sorry! I added the recipe to my post and recipe box too.

Brilynn - Cheesecake and chocolate together is definitely a good thing.

Mary said...

Dianka - Thanks for the compliment and well wishes.

peabody said...

I'm sorry about your kitty :(
All of your cupcake/muffins look wonderful.

Bonnie Loves Cats =^..^= said...

What a beautiful photo of Diane. Hope she feels better soon. Love your food photos too.

Weekend Cat Blogging # 69 will be hosted by Sanjee at the House of the Mostly Black Cats Blog Site.
Please send your cat blog link to:

Looking forward to seeing all of your cat photos and comments this weekend.

Bonnie in Virginia - USA

lucette said...

Boston Cream cupcakes--what a brilliant idea. I've tagged these to make for my daughter--Boston Cream is her cake of choice for birthdays or any time.

Ivonne said...

I can't believe you've been keeping these from us!

A big kiss to Diane!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that are all lot of delicious little treats in one(!)
They all look great - I especially like the muffins - I love a good muffin…
And what a lovely picture of Diane with al those flowers.
My cat Romeo is, uhm, also a bit on the large size…Hope she is getting better soon(!)

gilly said...

Oh my - these cupcakes and muffins sounds heavenly!

I hope that Diane gets better soon!

Anonymous said...

Say what you like about your blueberry muffins, they look great to me!

Ari (Baking and Books)

Anonymous said...

i was surfing the internet to find the vintage revere ware measuring cups that look like sauce pans. i noticed that you tried to make caramel in the "cheap pans" and had a near disaster result.

i happen to be a big fan of revere ware copper clad pans. one does have to be careful not to crank up the heat though as you will certainly scorch your food.

i would not call them cheap pans though. they hold up very well and if you learn to hold off the heat a bid you will have fantastic results.

other than the revere remark i am quite enjoying your recipes. i especially love the boston creme pie cupcakes. what a clever baker you are!

bravo to you and i will be checking on your experiments from time to time.