MSC: Tiramisu Cupcakes

Back in December or so, I joined a group called MS Cupcakes Club, which is a group of bloggers who are baking their way through Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cookbook.  I’ve had this book for awhile, and have never had a chance to bake anything yet, so I was excited to have a chance to do so.  Unfortunately, my morning sickness kicked in at the same time I joined, so I didn’t really bake at all until this month, which is the recipe I chose for Tiramisu Cupcakes.  I would have had these posted yesterday, but we had some technical difficulties in our kitchen over the weekend (stuipd incessant rain…).  I am a HUGE tiramisu fan and tend to order it for dessert whenever I get the chance.  Surprisingly, I’ve never made tiramisu from scratch, so I thought these cupcakes would be a good place to start.

These cupcakes were delicious, but man does my kitchen look like a warzone after making these this evening!  I found them to be quite complicated and time consuming to make, and I’m not 100% sure they were worth the effort.  I mean, they were really good, but don’t quite compare to the real thing for me.  These start off with scraped vanilla beans and the pods steeped in warm milk to impart the vanilla flavor.  Then eggs, egg yolks, and sugar are combined and whisked over simmering water for awhile, thickened up until pale yellow with the stand mixer, then combined with the dry ingredients and steeped milk (after straining) to give you a yummy looking batter.  Bake for 20 minutes, cool, then soak with a coffee/marsala wine/sugar syrup and let soak for 30 minutes.  Top with a nice and light mascarpone/heavy cream/powdered sugar topping, and voila, tiramisu cupcakes!

As I said, we really enjoyed these, but for the effort, I will likely try making good old fashioned tiramisu next time I’m having a craving for it.  You can see how the other bloggers joined these here.  For our June cupcakes, we’ll be trying the Father’s Day Tee-Time Cupcakes, which I’m planning to make for the toddler’s third (!!!!!) birthday party.

Tiramisu Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
3 large whole eggs, plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
Coffee-Marsala Syrup (recipe follows)
Mascarpone Frosting (recipe follows)
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Preheat oven to 325.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.  Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes.  Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar.  Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes.  Remove bowl from heat.  With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.

Gently, but thoroughly, fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter just until combined.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used.  Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes.  Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers.  Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.

Coffee-Marsala Syrup

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp freshly brewed strong coffee (or espresso)
1 ounce marsala
1/4 cup sugar

Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Let cool.

Mascarpone Frosting

1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy).  In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone until completely incorporated.  Use immediately.

Source:From Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, page 38, Frosting recipe on page 310


Margarita Cupcakes

Every week on Tuesdays, we have a cookout at work.  Everyone signs up to bring either a side, appetizer, or dessert, and the firm supplies the main dish.  Last week I signed up for dessert and knew exactly what to make…Margarita Cupcakes!  There is a Mexican restaurant right up the street from where we work, and we go there for lunch probably once a week or so.  Every time we go, we all wish we could have a margarita, especially during tax season!  I figured if  we couldn’t drink margaritas for lunch, at least we could eat these delicious cupcakes.  Everyone loved these!  They really did taste like a margarita, and the icing was unbelievable.  I had to give everyone the recipe!  Of course the most exciting part to everyone…the fact that these also have tequila in them!  Hey, what can I say, we LOVE our margaritas!

Margarita Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
7 1/2 ounces margarita mix
2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce orange juice
3 large egg whites
2 T vegetable oil
Zest of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 muffin tins with paper liners or spray with baking spray. Mix together margarita mix, tequila and orange juice in a large measuring cup. Add cake mix to mixing bowl and add egge whites, oil, lime zest and tequila mix. Beat on low speed for about 30 seconds until dry ingredients are incorporated and then beat on medium high speed for 2 minutes. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups, filling about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool about 5 minutes in the pan and then cool completely on wire racks.

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2-3 T lime juice
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp lime zest
3-4 drops green food coloring

Beat cream cheese and butter on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 2 T lime juice and lime zest and beat until combined. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until incorporated. Add more lime juice if necessary. Add food coloring a couple drops at a time and beat on medium high speed until desired color is reached and icing is smooth. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes as desired.

Lime wedges, straws, and sprinkles all make festive garnishes. Refrigerate cupcakes in an airtight container if not serving immediately and bring to room temperature a couple hours prior to serving.

Source:  Homemade by Holman, who adapted it from Confections of a Foodie Bride