Friday, March 19, 2010
It is so hard to find a decent cupcake. I know.. it seems like a ridiculous claim to make, especially when specialty shops selling nothing but intricately crafted cupcakes are sprouting up everywhere. But if you look beyond the colourful sprinkles, arty swirls and sometimes enticing flavour combinations, more often than not, what you're left with is an overpriced, overly sweet, and altogether dry piece of confection. If I sound bitter, it's because I am. With the exception of Hummingbird Bakery, all the brightly coloured stores promising 'the moistest cupcakes baked only with the best ingredients' have failed to deliver again and again. Even then, the chocolate and beetroot cupcake I had at Hummingbird recently was a complete letdown..serves me right for ignoring the shopgirl's vehement headshakes.
It's not rocket science. A good cupcake has to be light and fluffy, with the perfect cake to frosting ratio. The frosting shouldn't overwhelm the cake, it should complement it, with just the right amount of sweetness. That said, having utterly given up on store-bought cupcakes, there was only one place to go when the cravings hit ;)
Browned butter cupcakes with black sesame frosting
[If you like cupcakes, you HAVE to try this recipe. You make the browned butter earlier, everything else takes 30 minutes start to finish, baking time incuded, and I promise you, it gives the tenderest crumb]
60g browned butter [ melt some butter in a pan over medium heat, let it froth, stirring constantly, until the sediments turn a beautiful shade of caramel and the smell..oh.. so evocative...reminds me of the smell of freshly toasted bread slathered with butter, my favourite breakfast back when I had time for it. Should take about 5 minutes]
90g brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup yoghurt
105g self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100ml double cream, whipped till stiff
pinch of salt
50g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp black sesame powder
1. Brown the butter beforehand and let it cool to a soft slushy consistency. Overnight would be great
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
3. Put all the ingredients in a bowl following the order in which they're listed. So butter, sugar, salt, egg...
4. Beat on high for 3 minutes
5. Scoop into little pastry cups and bake for 15-20 minutes
4. Let cool.
*Did I not say this was the easiest thing to do? All those places selling dense, dry cakes have no excuse.
5. For the frosting, whip the cream and set aside
6. Cream butter and sugar and salt, add black sesame powder, beat until well mixed, and fold in cream.
** You could just use buttercream, but the cupcake is quite light and buttercream just seemed a bit too heavy for it. This way you get a really nice airy frosting
7. When the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost as you wish, although.. the cakes are good enough on their own
The nuttiness from the browned butter and the subtle sesame fragrance from the frosting, brought together in a small, fluffy package..who needs cupcake bakeries?;)