Monday, June 7, 2010
HCB: Chocolate Butter Cupcakes
I made the Chocolate Butter Cupcakes last year and was not very impressed with it.
The taste is really good, very chocolatey. The texture I don't like. It was dry and fragile and fell apart as I bite into it.
So this time, I thought I'd improvise a little bit. I set aside 20% of the sugar in the cupcakes, all other variables are the same, the 20% sugar I made into sugar syrup (added a little of grand marnier) and used it to syrup the cupcakes while it's cooling down.
For the buttercream, I thought of making something new. The burnt orange silk meringue buttercream. I skipped this buttercream last year when I made the pumpkin cake and I've made all the other buttercreams so it's time to make this one.
You are probably looking at the above picture and thinking, hm... that does not look like the burnt orange smbc. Well, it's because it isn't. The whole thing failed, catasthropicly.
First I made the orange concentrate from orange juice. Feeling rebellious and not wanting to follow Rose's instructions, I use a sauce pan on medium-high heat to reduce the OJ. Well okay, it's more because I don't like the idea of heating up OJ in a pyrex cup in the microwave. It might explode and then I have all the mess to clean up. Call me crazy, but that's what went through my head. Minutes went by and the OJ is reduced. I transfer it to a bowl and proceeded with the recipe.
Next step is the creme anglaise. I scald the milk, heat up the sugary water until amber, then pour the milk in. It bubbled furiously. I put the pan back on the stove and stir to get all the caramel goodness. Somehow some of the caramel crystalize at the bottom, so I continue stirring and stirring until they all dissolve. This is where I figured I did something wrong as by the time all those crystals are reduced, there liquid is pretty well reduced (mistake #1). Then I mix it into the egg yolk mixture, and heat the whole thing on the stove while stirring continuously. Rose said to keep stirring on low heat until it's close to boiling point and you see steam. This takes forever by the way and by the time it's done the creme anglais is pretty thick. By thick I mean as thick as honey. I think this might the mistake #2, I heat it up too long and it became too thick. Of course at that time I didn't think anything is wrong. I strain it onto a bowl and set it aside.
I proceeded by making the italian meringue. Nothing exciting to report here, everything went on smoothly.
Now onto putting everything together. Mix the butter on the mixer. I went to grab the creme anglais and they seem to have turned into a toffee caramel consistency. I tried to incorporate it into butter, to no avail. It still remained in big globs. I continued adding the italian meringue in it. I didn't think any miracle will happen by adding the meringue, but why not, I already made the meringue anyway. The caramel globs are still there. Okay, so I thought this can be a buttercream with toffee in it. I tried a tsp of it, it does has the toffee consistency, as in it sticks to my teeth, but without the yummy toffee flavor.
What to do... what to do..
Devastatingly I thought of throwing the whole thing away. But then my cupcake will become naked and sad looking without any decorative element. Starting over is not an option as I'm already behind schedule, and still have to cook.
So I strained the d***m thing. I couldn't help chucking as I was doing this because it was kinda funny to push buttercream through a strainer. I doubt anyone on the bake-a-long has done this before.
Buttercream strained, I tried a little bit and it's missing flavor indeed. So I added a couple of drops of the Boyajian Orange Oil and voila, it taste so much better. Very fragrant and very orangey.
Too tired to do fancy decorating, I used my small offset spatula to do swirls of buttercream on the cupcake.
So there you have it. My humble chocolate butter cupcakes with almost burnt orange silk meringue buttercream :).
Tasting impression: I'm glad I added some sugar syrup, as the buttercream is more moist now. The buttercream, however, did not have enough taste. Where did all the orange oil flavor went?!? Or maybe I didn't have enough of it. Hm.. I think I'll add some orange zest on the rest when I get home...