Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Rewarded for getting it wrong: Vanilla cupcakes with mascarpone, maple syrup and toffee frosting
You see, the first advice anyone gives you about cooking is "Read the recipe!" And mostly, I do, but I was busy trying to do twenty jobs at once, decided that I wanted to blog a Barefoot Contessa recipe, thought I had missed the deadline to do so (as it happens, the deadline was a month away. I really need to sort my life out), so thought, I would hurl together her sour cream coffee cake but make it into cupcakes, as was suggested in the recipe. They have a streusel element to them which I forgot to do anything about when I hurled the batter into the cupcake tin and lashed into the oven. Then I thought, how does this streusel thing work again? It should have already been in the oven. Damn! Plan B.
Well, I had this notion that I was going to drizzle some maple syrup over the cupcakes because I thought that it would go well with the nutty, buttery brown sugared element of these gorgeous cakes, so it occurred to me that a frosting may be the way to roll. Cue experimental frosting.
I had some mascarpone in the fridge which I had bought cheaply because of its short date and had a kind of plan for it, but felt this would be a better way of using it. Combined with some butter and icing sugar, then a tablespoon of maple syrup, it created a frosting that was sweet with a syrupy undertone. As I always stress with frosting, it is not necessarily an exact science for me. After adding the butter and in this case, the mascarpone, I add icing sugar until I am happy with the sweetness, and if I find the frosting is a little thick, then I add a little milk. This frosting does need beating for a while too before it becomes fluffy.
A word on the batter mixture. Ostensibly this is a Ina Garten's recipe for sour cream coffee cake, which I changed firstly by subbing buttermilk for sour cream. Cake flour is created by adding cornflour to plain flour, creating a cake that is extremely feather light in texture and glorious to eat. To make, take a cup of plain flour, remove two tablespoons, then replace with two tablespoons of cornflour. Mix, then sift the mixture to ensure the cornflour is easily distributed. A faff, I know, but worth it if you want a 'light' cake.
Anyways, from the jaws of defeat...
Vanilla Cupcakes with mascarpone, maple syrup and toffee frosting
(American recipe = ingredients measured in cups; not a bad thing!)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 1/2 cups cake flour (created using the information above, if necessary)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the frosting (Frosts 12 cupcakes generously, plus a little for those who like to scrape the bowl)
500g icing sugar (though be prepared to add less. Keep tasting until you're happy with the sweetness and consistency)
250g mascarpone cheese
A little milk to slacken the mixture (if necessary)
1 tbsp of maple syrup (or to taste)
Toffee or caramel dessert sauce to drizzle over.
For the cakes, preheat the oven to 180c/350F. Prepare a cupcake tin with papers
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after adding each egg.
Add the vanilla and then the buttermilk.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate and salt.
With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Don't over beat at this stage, instead give the mixture a final few mixes with a spatula, ensuring that the whole of the mixture is well combined.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake tin (I use an ice cream scoop). Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when touched. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely before you frost them.
To make the frosting: Beat the butter together with the mascarpone to loosen the mixture.
Add the icing sugar gradually, allowing what you have added to be combined before adding more. Taste regularly to see whether the frosting is sweet enough, and add a little milk if the mixture is becoming too thick. When you're happy with the consistency, add the maple syrup and then beat the frosting thoroughly for a few minutes until it becomes fluffy and spreadable.
Spoon or pipe or swirl the frosting over the cold cupcakes. Drizzle with the toffee sauce.