What's a girlie cupcake look like?
Well, it's gotta have chocolate. And it's got to include pink somewhere. Bebe is so girlie girl. Hey, I can't explain it because I hate the colour pink myself and I was a tomboy growing up.
I even made sure not to expose her to all that commercial stuff early on. I have no idea how she got the feeling as early as toddlerhood that princesses are cool because she hadn't seen any Disney movies and she hadn't read any princess stories. I doctored a lot of Grimm's fairy tales and edited all the Mother Goose classics to be more empowering to females. Har har. I did it on the fly at night lying next to her in the dark. I even mangled the endings sometimes to support whatever cause I had, whether it had to do with potty-training or learning to love your veggies. She doesn't play with dolls and she doesn't really know the storylines to many of the Disney princess movies. So how on earth did I get a girlie girl? She talks of princesses and tiaras and proclaims to love everything pink. I think it's all hard-wired. Ah well.
Bebe's all over cupcakes. It's pretty much her favourite dessert. Make it chocolate and cover it with sprinkles and she's doing her happy dance. I wanted to surprise Bebe with something inside the cupcakes so I squirted some marshmallow fluff into the cupcakes too.
The best part of making cupcakes for Bebe is sprinkling on the stars. It's her decoration of choice. Bib and Bebe ate a handful of these little star-shaped sprinkles in the time it took me to decorate these cupcakes.
decorated with dragees, star sprinkles, dark chocolate shavings & pink sanding sugar
I found Sherry Yard's Buttermilk cupcake recipe deceptive. In her introduction to the recipe, she says that the cupcake's texture is dense. When she states "dense", I think fudgey, like a brownie. I found that instead, these cupcakes were more like a sponge texture. In fact, after whipping the eggs for 8 minutes and then on low speed for another 2 minutes to "stabilize" the foam, I thought that this process would add volume and lighten the crumb. The crumb was more dense than a chiffon and it had more substance than the typical genoise. This is probably due to the additional buttermilk and higher proporation of butter. However, it was lighter than a brownie. The genoise technique is a bit time-consuming, but I really loved the flavour and mouth-feel of the cake itself. So this one's worth it.
Yard's cupcake technique yielded a spongey cupcake that, like typical genoise, upon removal from the oven, kind of shrunk a bit from the sides of the baking pan. Some of them even puckered in a bit from the paper liners. It was kind of weird but not wholly unexpected with the genoise technique. Well, I thought this was a positively perfect opportunity to fill up those puckered cupcakes with something sweet. I squished some white chocolate ganache in a few and marshmallow fluff into others. I liked the marshmallow fluff better than Yard's white chocolate ganache recipe. The ganache was kind of greasy-feeling to me. This recipe is a keeper and I'll probably try making it again in another flavour variation just to make sure I did it right.
cupcake cross-section showing oozing marshmallow fluff!
The marshmallow fluff filling was a real surprise for Bebe when she dug in. She was all smiles and exclaimed that it was really neat and she loves marshmallow. Then I received a big kiss on the cheek and a hug for my endeavours. How sweet.
GIRLIE CHOCOLATE BUTTERMILK CUPCAKES
(adapted from Sherry Yard's "Buttermilk Birthday Cupcakes", The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted (still warm and liquid)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of marshmallow fluff (for filling) [I used store-bought, in a jar!]
- 1 batch pink buttercream (check out below for the recipe)
- girlie decorations: dragees, sprinkles, sanding sugar, dark chocolate shavings etc.
- Preheat oven to 350 degreesF. Adjust oven rack to the centre. Prepare a muffin pan by coating it with nonstick cooking spray and inserting paper cupcake liners.
- Triple-sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside
- Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Combine sugar and eggs in the bowl of your standing mixer and place it over the simmering water, creating a double boiler; be careful that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Insert a thermometer. Whisk continuously until the temperature reaches 100degress F, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and transfer the bowl to your standing mixer fittted with a whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer. Whip on high speed for 5 to 8 minutes , or until the eggs are three times their original volume, are thick and pale yellow colour, and form a ribbon when drizzled from a sptatula. Turn down the mixer to medium speed and whip mixture for 2 minutes more. This stabilizes the foam. On low speed, stream the warm melted butter into the batter and mix it in until incorporated.
- Fold one-third of flour mixture into the batter using a balloon whisk. Be careful not to deflate foam. Add one-third of the buttermilk and again fold carefully. Continue alternately adding the flour mixture and buttermilk in thirds until all ingredients are incorporated. Add vanilla.
- Pour batter into the prepared muffin cups, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top of each cup. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are spring back when touched with a finger. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and set on the rack to cool. The cupcakes are ready to be decorated and served when cooled, or they may be stored undecorated at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks, if wrapped airtight.
Makes about 2 dozen 2-inch cupcakes.
- Scoop the marshmallow fluff into a piping bag with a 1/2 inch tip and plunge the tip into the tops of the cupcakes. Squeeze the fluff into the cupcakes until you the cupcakes appear to swell and stop just as the fluff begins to back up and before the cupcakes explode!
- Decorate with pink buttercream frosting (see below for recipe), and share the fun and have your loved ones sprinkle on the dragees, sprinkles, sanding sugar & dark chocolate shavings.
6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 T milk
- Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl and gradually add the confectioners' sugar a little at a time to the butter, beating continuously. Continue until all the sugar is blended in.
- Beat with the mixer until the icing is pale and fluffy. Beat in the milk until well combined
Use pink gel food colouring (not too much! a dab'll do ya) to colour the buttercream.
- Scoop the buttercream into a piping bag with a "1M" tip (Wilton) and pipe swirls on the tops of the cupcakes.