Sunday, March 1, 2009

Paper Doll Cupcakes

Cupcakes are the cuties of the cake world. Take a basic chocolate (my favorite) cupcake and dress her in different outfits just like paper dolls. Then she can go anywhere from a romantic dessert for two, to a child's birthday party. Put a white petticoat on her and a pink crinoline and you have a real charmer. Primp her with some fancy colored sugar and she is getting ready to go out.Wow, she's getting bold!I think she has a date..........
He wants to take her to the circus tomorrow and get her some peanuts,
and then fly her to the moon.
You get the picture......change the frosting and decoration to create a cupcake for every occasion. They can have filling or be left plain. I made a surprise Peanut Truffle filling for the chocolate cupcake and topped it with a Meringue Frosting and sugar sprinkles. What a knockout! I left some plain and topped them with a Peanut Butter Frosting and chopped peanuts. On another one, I sliced off the top evenly and spread the truffle on, replaced the top, frosted it and sprinkled on silver dragees. Mix and match to create your own combination.

Chocolate Peanut Truffle Cupcakes

Chocolate Cake
(Adapted from Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake)

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake baking cups.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into lined muffin tin. Bake 20-25 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.Makes 30 cupcakes or 2 9 inch layer cakes.

Peanut Milk Chocolate Truffle Filling

1/3 cup peanuts
8 ounces milk chocolate
1 tablespoon cocoa, plus 1/4 cup for rolling
1/2 cup heavy cream

Add peanuts, broken chocolate or chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon cocoa to food processor bowl and process until small and coarsely chopped.
Transfer to a medium bowl. Heat cream until the boiling point and add to the chocolate peanut mixture. Stir until smooth and then refrigerate until firm. Once firm, scoop out 1 tablespoon pieces and put on a parchment lined baking sheet. Dust generously with the reserved cocoa and roll into balls. Freeze until ready to use.
Makes 30.

To make filled cupcakes, just before frosting, scoop out about a 3/4-1 inch plug from the top of the cupcake, using an apple corer.
Stuff a Chocolate Peanut Truffle into opening. They are now ready to frost.

Meringue Frosting

2 cups sugar
2/3 cups water
6 egg whites
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(optional 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature)

Combine the sugar and water in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil without stirring. Boil until it reaches the soft ball stage, 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. When the syrup reaches 240 degrees, pour 1/4 cup of the syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, drop by drop, beating at high speed. Gradually add the rest of the syrup in a fine stream and beat for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the mixture is cool. It should be glossy and thick, but not dry.
At this point, add the vanilla and optional butter and beat until smooth. The mixture must be thoroughly cool or it will melt the butter. The added butter will make this frosting much looser. If you are piping it or want a firmer frosting, do not add the butter.
Makes about 6 cups.

Fit a pastry bag with desired tip.
Fill pastry bag with frosting and pipe frosting onto filled cupcakes.
As an alternative, Peanut Butter Frosting is delicious on unfilled chocolate cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Frosting
(Adapted from Ina Garten)

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix on medium-low speed with an electric mixer until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Have fun and pipe, sprinkle and decorate with abandon!

Download Chocolate cake with Peanut Truffle Filling recipe (pdf)

Download Meringue Frosting recipe (pdf)
Download Peanut Butter Frosting recipe (pdf)

Written and photographed by Diane.

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