Tuesday, June 18, 2013

High Altitude Baking: Cupcake vs. The Pie

I’ll cut to the chase here, the pie obviously wins. No need to read further unless you are interested in fighting the good fight and want to try to make cupcakes at high altitude.

Pecan Chocolate Chip

Since arriving at Rock Creek Lake Resort I have felt a desire and a need to contribute to my homey work place in a way other then by regular duties of waitressing, cleaning cabins, washing dishes and helping out in the kitchen. So, I decided to take up baking.

I chose cupcakes because I good friend Katie is close to obsessed with a cupcakery called Sprinkles in Southern California. After being introduced to their heavenly sweets, I knew I wanted to try to duplicate them. I challenging feat I know, someone with little to no baking background trying to reproduce the most popular cupcake chains cakes at 9,700 feet in elevation. But I though I would give it a go. And to be honest, the cupcakes I make are good, but they just don’t sell. They can’t compete with the pies, #1. And #2 they hardly hold a candle to Amy’s doubley fudgey brownies and Doug’s white chocolate and dried cherry.

I’m thinking I just haven’t found THE cupcake to make up here yet. But I wont stop trying.

“There are two mice trapped in a bucked of cream…. I’m the mouse that didn’t give up, churning the butter into cream and crawling out.” I loved Catch Me If You Can.

Chocolate Cupcake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Marshmallow Filling

Makes 1 dozen

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 large eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon table salt (unless you use salted butter, I leave this out)

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup milk

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 375 degrees F (if above 5,000 ft). Line muffin pan with baking cup liners. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside and cool until just warm to the touch. In a small bowl, whisk flour and baking powder; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream and milk until combined. Sift remaining flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until batter is combined. Fill cups 2/3 full. Don’t overfill or they will have muffin tops and fall off. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature.

Marshmallow Filling:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3/4 cup Marshmallow Fluff

1 1/2 tablespoon heavy cream

To make the marshmallow filling: in a medium bowl beat together the butter, confectioners’ sugar, Marshmallow Fluff and 1 ½ tablespoons of the heavy cream on medium speed until fluffy.

Once cupcakes have cooled, cut out a small circle in the center of each cupcake. These cupcake are really rich so when making you well, scoop on the conservative side or you will have an ultra sugar rush when eating these cupcakes. Not necessarily a bad thing.

If you don’t have a pastry bag, get a sandwich bag, put it inside a mug, fill it with cream, snip off the tip and vaw-la! A pastry bag.

Peanut Butter Frosting

6 ounces butter

½ cup confectioners’ sugar (add more for thicker frosting)

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup peanut butter

½ teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup milk

Combine sugar and salt in bowl. Combine milk and vanilla in bowl. Beat butter and peanut butter in mixer until smooth and creamy. Alternately add sugar and milk mixture until fully incorporated. Add additional milk for a softer consistency. Frost on top of cooled cupcakes.

These cupcakes are REALLY rich. As you have read, they have a lot of butter in the cupcake, filling and frosting combined. They didn’t sell really well but the crew really liked them. I thought the frosting looked find of funny but tasted delicious.


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