Saturday, May 2, 2009

"N" is for Neapolitan Black Bottom Cupcake

I've been wanting to make something "neapolitan" for a while because I love the combination of brown, white and pink. The colours compliment each other so well and are just plain pretty! So I decided to try a black bottom cupcake, which is a chocolate cupcake with a cream cheese centre. How delicious does THAT sound! And in preparation for a cupcake I'm making next week, I wanted to try this 7-minute frosting with added raspberry puree for colour and flavour. While the actual chocolate part of the cupcake was a bit sub-par for my liking, the combination of chocolate and cream cheese was magical to say the least and the frosting was just amazing. I had some leftovers and put a huge dollop of it on a big bowl of fresh berries (that I got on sale to boot!). What a perfect treat!

This recipe has 3 parts:
1. The cream cheese filling
2. The chocolate cupcake
3. The 7-minute raspberry frosting

Part 1: The Cream Cheese Filling
My mom has requested these beauties for Mother's day, so I'm going to experiment with swirling the cream cheese mixture right into the chocolate cupcake batter instead of adding it as a big drop into the batter once it's in the cupcake liner.

Cream Cheese filling
For 12 cupcakes

8 oz cream cheese, regular or low-fat
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz semisweet mini chocolate chips

1. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
2. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

Part 2: The Chocolate Cupcake
This recipe, including the cream cheese filling comes from the HTEAC website which came from The Great Book of Chocolate by David Lebovitz. I'm going to use a different chocolate base the next time that I try these. I'm no baking expert, but I have been baking a lot of cupcakes lately and I'm just thrown off by the fact that this recipe doesn't have any eggs or milk in it. The flavour was definitely lacking in this recipe. It kind of reminds me of the vegan chocolate cupcakes I made...kinda gummy and dry and flavourless. I think I'll use my stand-by chocolate cupcake recipe, Martha Stewart's One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcake Recipe as used in the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake recipe.

Chocolate Cupcake
Makes 12 cupcakes

1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp white or cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate bowl mix together the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.
4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
5. Divide the batter amond the cupcakes liners. Spoon a few tablespoons of the cream cheese filling into the centre of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed.

Part 3: The 7-Minute Raspberry Frosting
Simply put...this frosting is AH-MAY-ZING!

Seven Minute Frosting
Enough to generously top 12 cupcakes with a little extra left over

1.25 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
~4 tbsps raspberry puree (raspberries pushed through a sieve to discard the seeds)

1. Put the sugar, water, egg whites and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler with at least a 2 quart capacity and beat with a handheld mixer on high speed until opaque, white, and foamy, about 1 minute.
2. Put the bowl over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmer water (or the bottom of the double boiler). The top container should sit firmly over the pan of hot water; be sure to keep the cord of the electric mixer away from the burner.
3. Beat on high speed until the frosting forms a soft peak that stands straight up if you stop the beaters and lift them up, about 7 minutes. The frosting should register 160F on a thermometer.
4. Remove the container of frosting from the water, add the raspberry puree and continue beating for 2 minutes, to further thicken the frosting.

Final Assembly
Pipe at least 1/2 cup of frosting onto each cupcake. Don't be afraid to pile it high. You can also use a thin metal spatula to spread a thick layer of frosting over the top of each cupcake, dipping the spatula gently into the frosting to make swirls. If you have any left over frosting, put a huge dollop on top of a huge bowl of fresh berries! It's just like whipped cream, but better for you :)

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