Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Envelope Please - Black Tie Cupcakes for the Oscars

Black Tie Cupcakes Sprinkled with Edible Gold Glitter Stars
Ever since I was a small child I have loved the Academy Awards.  As I got older and involved in acting I always dreamed of starring in a wonderful and important film and winning an Oscar of my very own.  I still love acting but chances of me starring in a movie and winning an Oscar is definitely a long shot.  That doesn't mean I've stopped loving the Oscars.  Every year I clear my calendar the night the Oscars is telecast and plan on spending my night involved in cheering on my favorites.

Now I watch the Oscars in my comfortable lounging clothes, not the black tie or formal gown required for attending.  So in honor of the Academy Awards I made these Black Tie Cupcakes.  Make yourself a batch (they are delicious!!!), sit back and cheer for the winners.  The envelope please....and the Oscar goes to...

Black Tie Cupcakes
Yield = 24 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of instant espresso granules dissolved into 3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
2. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
3. Add eggs, espresso/water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth, taking care to scrape down the side of the bowl to fully incorporate all ingredients.
4. Using a large scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells, filling each well 2/3 full.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until tops spring back when touched.
6. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
7. Once cupcakes have cooled, hollow out a small circle in the center of each cupcake; I use my cupcake corer.

For the Ganache

3 tablespoons corn syrup
5 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan combine the corn syrup and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Allow to cool at room temperature for a 1/2 hour before filling cupcakes.

For the Frosting

16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract*

1. In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together, cream cheese, shortening, and butter until well combined.
2. With the mixer of low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
3.  Using your favorite tip, pipe frosting onto the cupcakes.  Sprinkle with edible gold glitter stars.

Store cupcakes in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Remove to room temperature 30-45 minutes before serving.

Cupcake recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cupcake, the ganache is from Alton Brown.
A look inside at the yummy ganache filling.

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