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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Oreo Frosting

This month, I had the chance to play host to What's Baking and I had to come up with a theme.  I chose "Bake Your Happy Place".  I chose this over a month ago thinking it would be easy to choose my own happy place.  Boy, was I wrong!  Did I want to make something coconut-y that reminds me of my honeymoon?  Do I want to make something that reminds me of childhood like s'mores or Kentucky Derby Pie (although I grew up in Jersey, there was a restaurant near me that had the BEST derby pie).  Something that reminded me of my summers in Cape Cod growing up?  In my entire 30 years, what makes me the happiest?

(photo credit Matt Rainey)
Here's where I get sappy (I'm a newlywed, I'm allowed!).  My happy place is with my husband.  Whether we're halfway across the world on vacation or in our living room watching TV, he's what makes me the happiest.  When we met we knew within weeks that we were it for each other and were married less than 2 years later.  Never any games, it was always clear that we were meant to be.  But how do I bake this??  Then it hit me - why not re-create our wedding cake?  It was from Palermo's Bakery.  We had two flavors; one was a vanilla cake with raspberry filling, but the other was devil's food cake with oreo cream.  Can we say YUM?!

So I set out to find a way to re-create the cake.  I first went through my cookbooks and found in Craft of Baking the recipe for devil's food cupcakes, but couldn't find anything for the icing.  But then I remembered seeing a post on Tide and Thyme for Oreo cupcakes and decided to use the frosting recipe from there (though the cupcakes themselves also look delish, so I plan to make those at some point, too!).

I had a few speedbumps in my cupcake making, but I turned to The Baking Answer Book by Lauren Chattman which I had picked up on a whim last year.  The first hiccup was when I realized that I forgot to buy cake flour.  I had bread, pastry and all-purpose, but those weren't right.  According to the book, you can use all-purpose flour and cornstarch to substitute for cake flour (1 cup of cake flour = 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour + 2 tbsp cornstarch) .  The other problem I had (which I always seem to run into) was that my packed dark sugar was rock hard.  I found out from the book that you should break some off (approximate how much you'll use), put it into a microwave safe bowl, cover it with a damp paper towel and then plastic wrap and cook for 30 sec - 1 min and fluff with a fork, it's good as new! (just use it immediately).  Worked perfectly!

The only snafu I ran into while making the frosting is that I originally made a half batch and the consistency was a bit stiffer than I expected.  After asking Laura from Tide and Thyme what she recommended doing, she said "beating the crap out of it with the mixer helps" and then added that if that didn't work, you could always add a splach of milk or cream to the mixture.  When I did a second try, I took her first suggestion and let the mixer run on medium-high speed (6 on my mixer) for a bit, it came out much fluffier than the first batch!

I think it came out pretty darn close to our wedding cake.  The cake wasn't as fluffy as the original, but all in all I'd say this was a success.  Maybe once we have the year-old frozen/stale top layer of our actual cake for our 1st anniversary this October, I'll start the yearly tradition of making these each year!

Devil's Food Cupcakes (from Craft of Baking)
(makes 12 cupcakes)

3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup cake flour
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temerature
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.   Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the cocoa powder and 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water together to form a paste; set it aside.
In another bowl, sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the brown sugar and the butter on medium speed until they are well combined, with no pieces of butter visible.  Add the cocoa paste, making sure to use a spatula to get all of the cocoa paste into the mixer bowl.  Once this is well combined, add the egg and egg yolk.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  In three additions each, add the buttermilk and vanilla extract, alternating with the flour mixture.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling them three-quarters full.  Bake, rotating the tin halfway through, until the cupcakes spring back to the touch and a tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.  Invert the cupcakes onto a wire rack, turn them top side up, and let them cool completely.

Oreo Buttercream Frosting (from Tide and Thyme)
(this makes enough for 20 cupcakes)

8 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
4 cups powdered sugar (1 lb)
6 tablespoons Oreo cookies, finely crushed
10 Oreo cookies, cut in half, for garnish

In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer) cream the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until thoroughly mixed. Add the butter flavoring, and Oreo crumbs; mix well. Frost cupcakes as desired. Top cupcakes with half of an Oreo cookie, for garnish

1 comment:

  1. I think your interpretation of "Bake Your Happy Place" came out great. My husband and I just got married at the beginning of July and have our tier in our freezer too! These look delicious! Can't wait to try them myself. ~ Jasmine