Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Strawberry Milles Feuilles (Napoleon) Cupcakes!

God, I've been dying to make these for so long!!  And Spring is the perfect time for it!
First, one thing I'd like to say is that Milles Feuilles (Napoleons) in Greece are THE BEST outside of France!  Believe me, growing up in NYC, this has been one of my favorite desserts, and I have had sooo many there....but it does NOT compare to the ones here.  This is hard for me to admit as a New Yorker, but it's the truth!  I think New York has very high standards when it comes to, well....just about anything!!!  But this one is a winner.

Back to my new invention!  I wasn't sure that this was going to work out.  But, hey, just about anything has been made into a cupcake, why not a Milles Feuilles cupcake!
I don't know what else to say, only that it turned out so much better than I ever imagined it would.  It was insanely delicious!!  Light, fresh and not too sweet!!

This one is definitely a must and I will share it as best as I can.  I tried to follow recipes here and there but I always end up doing my own thing and many times not measuring!!!  A splash here, a tad there.....

Ok, here it goes!

For the cake I used a yellow cake recipe that I've always loved!  It's a cake made with WINE, from one of my favorite cook books The Silver Palate by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.  This book is great!  It takes me way back to the time in NYC when I used to frequently visit their shop and sample many of  their irresistible dishes!  What a cute, little place that was!!  Oh! The good old days!...

This cake is very versatile; it goes with just about anything....and so easy to make!

2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
and here goes my favorite part!
1 cup of dry WHITE WINE!
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsps. of baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F or 175 C.

Beat sugar and eggs for about 30 seconds on medium speed with and electric mixer.  Then pour all the other ingredients into the egg/sugar mixture and beat for another minute.  That's all!! Super easy.

Divide into prepared cupcake pans and fill a little less than 3/4 each one.  You want to have some room on top to hold some of the pudding cream later.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the pudding cream.....this is where I have a hard time explaining since I've always made my own pudding without measuring for my kids.  To make it easier, you can use ready made, or use this recipe I found and followed, but made some changes.  I added an extra teaspoon, more or less, of Madagascar Vanilla.  Please, please do not skip this step and use regular extract instead of either the vanilla bean or Madagascar!!!  Trust me, I did it and had to do it all over again! It makes all the difference!!

Then add  about 2 1/2 cups of heavy cream, whipped with 3 tablespoons of sugar (more or less), to the pudding cream (or pastry cream...whatever you want to call it), and beat both, very briefly, until nicely blended.  You will also need about an extra four cups of whipped cream for topping.

The Puff Pastry

You can make it the day before if you like. It's just Puff pastry already rolled out to thin strips and sprinkled with a little caster sugar.  Bake it in a cookie sheet for about 7 minutes or until golden in 200 C or 400 F.

*Cut some fresh strawberries for topping and have some confectioner's sugar at hand for sprinkling.

Construction of cupcake:

Make holes in cupcakes and fill with pudding cream. (BTW, if you don't have this yet, MUST get it!! Cupcake corer ....saves you so much time and it's so easy.  Love it!)
Cover cupcake with a layer of pudding cream....just enough so it won't spill out.  Place strawberries on it and top them with broken pieces of the puff pastry.
With piping bag, add whipped cream, again more broken pieces of puff pastry and sprinkle with plenty of confectioner's sugar.  A slice of strawberry on top to finish as you would do with a cherry on a Sundae.  And there you have it!

Hope I didn't make it too complicated!  Really, it's not all that hard.  If you prepare the pudding, puff pastry, and cupcakes ahead, then in the end it's just decorating it!

It's soooo worth it!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Dulce De Leche Cupcakes

Dulce de Leche Cupcakes.....ahhh!  What can I say, I love Dulce de Leche and I like to eat it by spoonfuls- straight from the jar! And the thought of it in a cupcake?!  Well, I just had to try it!

I have seen so many recipes out there and I just couldn't make up my mind. I didn't know whether  to do it with chocolate or vanilla cake, filling, no filling or just plain with Dulce de Leche buttercream.

After intensive searching, Just Jenn's cupcake recipe seemed to be the most appealing to me.  She uses brown sugar in her vanilla cupcake and I thought this made sense for this particular flavor combination.

Now, filling or no filling? I went for the filling with Dulce de Leche.  The thought of biting into that gooey-yum was irresistible to me!  So I did.

For the frosting, don't even ask!  I had seen so many versions and all sounded too sweet for my taste.  In the end, I opted for the Cream Cheese recipe that I had seen in and adapted from Joy the Baker.   I figured Cream Cheese would tone down the sugars.

Looks really good, right?!  My own personal oppinion?  Waaay too sweet for my taste!!  Dulce de Leche in the cupcake, Dulce de Leche in the frosting and drizzled with Dulce de Leche.....even for me, a Dulce de Leche aficionado, well....it's just too much.  But, hey, that's me! 

What would I change??
This is what I would and will try next time:  Same cake (well maybe I'll use my own, it'll work just fine!), same filling, change the frosting to Swiss Vanilla Buttercream (it's not as sweet!) and finish with Dulce de Leche drizzle.  I think it would be more balanced this way.

Another version, where in South America is more common and now I can see why, is chocolate cake with Dulce de Leche filling!  That makes more sense to me, I think.

Guess I have to experiment some more!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Rocky Road Cupcakes

These Rocky Road Cupcakes are a combination of my own mix and match and an adaptation/inspiration of The Cupcakery's own version.  
I made my favorite chocolate cake and stirred in the marshmallows and chocolate chips. The buttercream has a hint of caramel flavoring plus a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder.  Finally, I  sprinkled the choc.chips, walnuts and marshmallows on top and drizzled it with chocolate syrup.

Need I say more?...

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Cupcake Party Favors!

These are Vanilla,Vanilla pink cupcakes.  They were given as party favors for a birthday party.  Love how a simple box and a bow can dress a cupcake so nicely!  Simple goes a long way!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Cupcake in a Basket

I found these GREAT, TINY baskets the other day and I just couldn't resist!!  I know they are EASTER baskets meant for Easter eggs and the likes, but why not a CUPCAKE!  It would make such a wonderful PARTY FAVOR!

There are also other colors and patterns available that just scream SPRING!!
I used pink frosting on this one because that's what I had at the moment, but I think I would prefer plain white, lime green or yellow for this particular basket.

How PRETTY is that!!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Rich Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes!

You might be wondering what is going with all this baking lately!  Well, I have to confess that besides the new book I got as a gift the other day, I also got myself a NEW CAMERA!!  YES, I did!!  
I'm besides myself!  My 'you know what' is on fire!!  Can't stop!  Want to bake, create and take pictures all the time!!  Feeling so inspired and charged.

What a difference!! You can see it if you go back to my past posts!! No matter what I did, it served it no justice.  It was terribly disappointing.  I would be so happy with my final product and then my pictures would tell me another story!  Yikes!!  So glad that's a thing of the past now!! 

Ok, ok....Back to cupcakes!!  These are a very rich chocolate cupcakes with a deep raspberry buttercream.  I finished it with melted Ion chocolate drizzle and a small chunk on top. (I'm also on an Ion chocolate drizzle frenzy lately).

What is it with Raspberry and Chocolate that goes so well together??!  It is sooo delicious.....and that extra crunch that the cooled melted, chocolate gives it??!   Insane!!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Rose Water and Turkish Delight Cupcakes Continue....

Having liked so much the way Rose water compliments chocolate cupcakes, I decided to experiment with it a little bit more!  

I figured, if it goes well with chocolate, then it must be great in the frosting!  

So, I made some Vanilla Buttercream with Madagascar (to give it a more intense vanilla taste) and poured in two tablespoons of Rose Water.  I added two tablespoons because I didn't want it too strong.... but that's me!  You can add more or less depending on your preference.

Not to toot my own horn?!... but it was delicious!! I swear, my head won't stop thinking of all the possible ways I can use this!!  
How about combining a little coconut and Rose Water in the frosting?  Hmm...

So, while still on yesterday's mode of Turkish Delights and Rose Water, I added some, not too many, Turkish Delights on top.  Remember, in Greek...Loukoumi!

...and then finished it with some Chocolate Drizzle! 

For those who like a lighter version, I omitted the chocolate on this one and threw on some silver dragees.  Just as delicious!  (You do get more the Rose water scent this way, as well).  So pretty

Can't wait to try it in other recipes!!
Will keep you posted!!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Loukoumi (Turkish Delight) Rose Water Chocolate Cupcakes!!

So much to tell!!  This weekend I got from my dearest friend and neighbor, Armando, a great cupcake book!  
When he first told me the name of the book, I was a little hesitant....Kinky Cupcakes, he said.  Kinky Cupcakes??!! I thought...Not my style!

Well, I must say, I was so pleasantly surprised to find such great recipes and decorations.  Not only were they tastefully sexy and exotic but delicious as well.  A great find and gift!  

I immediately went to my kitchen and started working.  I pulled this recipe out and adapted the cake part to my own.  Everything else, plus decoration, is from the book!  Kinky Cupcakes by Joanna Farrow.  I love how she uses rose water in the chocolate cake!  So yum!

Of course, I picked this particular recipe because of its Turkish Delight ( In Greek, Loukoumi).   You know how much I love using Greek ingredients in my cupcakes!!...
Not so kinky after all!

Thanks, Armando!!