Monday, March 1, 2010

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

I have an ever growing list of cupcakes I want to bake. Some are recipes I have made before and want to tweak and perfect but most are new ones either I have seen on other blogs or talked about with other friends that share my love of baking and sound too good to pass up. I was looking through my Martha Stewart Cupcakes book and since I am not a fan of the recipes ( more misses than hits I'm sorry to say Martha) but the cupcakes LOOK pretty and I loved the play on the Boston Cream Pie. But cutting a cupcake in half to glob in some pastry cream looks too messy to eat and way to messy to keep together in transport. Considering I send most of these with my husband to work so I don't eat more than I should. I searched the net and found several recipes and ideas on how to construct. Since I am currently in love with my Warren Brown Cakelove book I decided on making his vanilla butter cake recipe for the cake. It is very similar to the chocolate butter cake, I also made his recipe for vanilla pastry cream which has the addition of vanilla bean seeds as well as extract which made it out of this world good and a ganache based frosting for the icing. This ended up being a great combo and all of my husband's coworkers aka my test audience loved them.

I made the pastry cream first the night before I made the cupcakes that way it would be nicely chilled and all the flavors would come together. I could have sat down and eaten the cream with a spoon and not have ever made the cupcakes. It would go great with Nilla Wafers - which will be a post soon I found a homemade recipe and I LOVE Nilla Wafers and we all know homemade is THAT much better than store bought.

The milk heating with the vanilla bean - you can see all those little seeds. The aroma from a vanilla bean is incredible.
The egg and sugar mixture. This is basically a custard - reminded me of when I make my custard base for homemade ice cream
Coming together nicely and turning a golden yellow
Lovely aromatic thick vanilla bean pastry cream - off to the fridge for the night!!
I'm still working on my photography - not the most exciting pic of eggs but i'm practicing so you get to see my goofy pics. ha ha. Its important to bring all ingredients to room temp or the same temp when baking a cake so nothing too hot or too cold seizes up the batter or makes it not bake evenly. When separating eggs its best to crack and separate cold then bring to room temp. They separate easier that way.
Potato starch is Warren Brown's secret ingredient to making soft cakes. I have noticed a difference since adding in to my cupcakes recently in recipes that call for it.
This batter is so light and aromatic. It can separate very quickly so if it sits too long before its poured into cake or cupcake pans a few light turns of the spatula brings it back together just be careful not to over mix.
 I used white liners and I am constantly on the search for thicker ones. I love the colored and patterned ones but they tend to get washed out after baking. Especially when colored or patterned liners are used with chocolate or any darker than vanilla batter.
I got a new #16 ice cream scoop and it works perfectly to fill each cup evenly
This particular recipe doesn't give a nice high dome like some cupcake recipes do but that was ok since I was doing a more flat top frosting than a swirl.
Cooling and now on to the ganache
Chopped up bittersweet chocolate waiting for the heated cream and butter
Into the mixer to cool before I add the rest of the ingredients
Lovely ganache frosting. The recipe said to chill - which I did - big mistake. Duh ganache gets SOLID when chilled so when it was time to frost I had to heat back up so it was soft enough to smooth onto the cupcakes
pastry cream ready for filling. I was having issues with the cream oozing around the tip in the bag and I kept having to stop and push the tip back down. Next time i'm using a coupler. I was lazy and just plopped the bismark tip in the bag and cut a small hole for it to fit. Oh well live and learn!!
Filling up and oozing out the bag not the tip into the cupcake

Some cracked because I overfilled! Oops!!
All frosted and pretty enough to eat!

Vanilla Butter Cake Recipe:
Recipe from Cakelove by Warren Brown
Makes 2 9-inch round cakes or 24 cupcakes

Potato starch is Brown's secret ingredient. It's available in specialty baking or ethnic food aisles in the grocery store. Cocoa powder can be substituted for the potato starch in this recipe, yielding chocolate butter cake.

• Ingredients:
1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (7 ounces)
2 ounces potato starch
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces) room temp
1¾ cups extra-fine granulated sugar (14 ounces)
4 large eggs room temp

• Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour into a bowl on a measuring scale. Measure dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, add flour and whisk for 10 seconds to blend. Set aside. Measure half-and-half, brandy and vanilla into a separate bowl and set aside. The brandy can be omitted and just substitute more vanilla or half and half.
Cream butter and sugar in a bowl on the lowest speed of a standing mixture for three to five minutes. Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Stop mixer and scrape sides.
Add dry ingredient mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in three or five additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. This step should take a total of about 60 seconds. Don't wait for each addition to mix completely in just alternate adding them in.
Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter's structure
Grease and flour two 12 cup muffin pans or use cupcake liners. Fill two thirds full. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool to room temp in pans, 20-25 minutes before turning out on to wire racks to cool completely.

Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream recipe
recipe from Cakelove by Warren Brown
makes 1 quart enough for one 9 inch round 3 layer cake or to fill 36 cupcakes
equipment needed: 2 quart heavy bottomed saucepan, mixing bowls
Milk Mixture:
whole milk 2 1/2 cups
vanilla bean,1
Yolk Mixture
egg yolks,  6 large
vanilla extract, 1 tsp
extra fine granulated sugar, 5 1/2 ounces ( 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp)
unbleached all purpose flour, 1 1/2 ounces ( 5 tbsp)
Set out the ingredients and equipment
Measure the milk into a 2 quart , heavy bottomed sauce pan
Slice the vanilla bean length wise and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the milk, stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and let steep for 10 minutes
Separate the yolks into a large bowl and add the vanilla extract, sugar and flour and whisk to combine. Set aside
Return the milks mixture to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer carefully remove the pod and discard. Slowly pour the milk into the yolk mixture, whisking slowly in small circles at first and ending with broader strokes until fully combined. Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan
Return the sauce pan to the stove over medium heat, whisking constantly but not rapidly for about 4 minutes. Keep the pastry cream moving so it won't scorch on the bottom of the sauce pan
When you see lava bubbles - large, slowly forming bubbles that burp steam, reduce heat to lowest setting  and whisk briskly for 1 minute to pasteurize the cream.
Pour the cream into a shallow non reactive mixing bowl, such as stainless steel, and cover with plastic wrap pressed against the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
Chill for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator before using.
Chocolate Ganache
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1. Chop chocolates and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
2. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.
3. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
4. Add butter and vanilla and stir until all chocolate is melted and combined. If the chocolate won’t completely melt, place bowl over a water bath to finish the job.
5. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and let cool for 10 minutes.
6. Sift powdered sugar into the mixture and beat until combined.
7. Continue to beat with an electric mixer until lighter in color and creamy.
8. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.


  1. I'll have to try this recipe. They look delicious

  2. Oh, these must be delicious! Wish I had one now. Love the little coke bottles!

  3. What little coke bottles are you talking about Pam? These were very good cupcakes

  4. Hey you, I see that those delicious cupcakes you brought to cake decorating class are shown on the Cake Decorating Classes page you have a link to on your blog. I picture of them is right next to "Cake Decorating Enthusiasts." :)

  5. Oh damn, you're today's featured blog on there!

  6. Am I? How crazy!! How are you? Any luck with the bakery job yet?

  7. Lol yeah, I got a job at Cupcake Jones in the Pearl District downtown and I start today at 3pm!

  8. NICE!!! I'm going to have to visit you next time I'm downtown!